Prior plans to pitch again in future
After surgery, right-hander determined to work his way back
SAN DIEGO -- He didn't look like it Saturday, but Mark Prior said he will pitch again.
The Padres' right-hander stood in the clubhouse with his right shoulder bandaged and his right arm in a sling following Wednesday's surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule. If that weren't enough to put an end to his bid to pitch this season, doctors also found a second injury -- one that isn't normally associated with baseball.
Prior's anterior capsule was torn away from the humerus, the bone in the upper arm. Team physicians Heinz Hoenecke and Jan Fronek performed the surgery and said the second injury is normally associated with traumatic events like a fall.
To call it a setback would be an understatement. Prior was already on a program to rehab the shoulder from arthroscopic surgery he had 13 months ago. The Padres had signed him to a $1 million contract in the hopes he could join the rotation by mid-year.
Now there is no date set, but Prior is resolute about his return.
"I wouldn't have done the surgery if I didn't think I wasn't going to pitch again," Prior said. "If I decided I didn't want to play, I just would have let it heal on its own and move forward. I feel like I can pitch. The good thing I've got going is I'm still young and I want to play. I want to pitch at a high level again and that is one of the reasons why I did the surgery."
The second injury, which is also known as HAGL for humeral avulsion of the glenohumeral ligaments, is unrelated to Prior's arthroscopic surgery, which the doctors said was healing properly. Padres general manager Kevin Towers also said he might be interested in a possible Minor League contract for Prior, who will be a free agent at season's end.
Prior, who experienced pain when he last threw on May 10, was confounded by the recent turn of events
"It is always frustrating," Prior said. "I felt like everything was coming along nicely. I was throwing the ball well and it was going in the right direction. I didn't really expect this. Dealing with my shoulder before it was something that would slowly kind of come on in a week, two weeks. This felt fine, and then all of a sudden, it was like one pitch and something didn't feel right and I knew something wasn't right. This kind of came out of nowhere."
Prior said it will take at least six weeks for the surgery to heal, at which point he will be re-evaluated. He couldn't say when he would be able to return to a mound but is hopeful of playing catch before next spring.
"I don't think it will be until February," Prior said. "That is almost nine full months of rehab. Knowing what I have already gone through and the extent of the surgeries that I've had, I don't see it taking that long. As far as getting back on the mound, that might be a different story but just picking up a ball and playing catch, that should be before that."
Mike Scarr is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.