SAN DIEGO -- More than four months removed from shoulder surgery, Mark Prior is at the stage in his recovery when he's starting to play catch.

Soon enough, the 28-year-old right-handed pitcher hopes to be doing some fielding -- as in listening to offers from teams once he declares for free agency at the end of the World Series.

Could Prior, who signed a one-year deal worth $1 million in December with San Diego, be on the Padres' radar again?

John Boggs, Prior's San Diego-based agent, said Tuesday that he certainly hopes so.

"We would definitely be interested in the Padres," Boggs said. "It's a situation where I'm sure he would love the opportunity to come back with the Padres.

"But they [Padres] will have to express interest. Hopefully they're interested in us. We're interested in any team that has reciprocal interest in Mark."

San Diego general manager Kevin Towers wasn't available for comment on Tuesday.

Prior didn't pitch last season for the Padres after signing with the team in December, a one-year deal with incentives that would have allowed him to make upwards of $4.5 million if healthy.

Prior had surgery in June performed by team doctors Heinz Hoenecke and Jan Fronek to fix a torn anterior capsule in his shoulder.

It was during surgery when Hoenecke and Fronek discovered that the capsule in Prior's right shoulder had torn away from the humerus bone -- an injury neither Hoenecke nor Fronek had heard of another baseball player having before.

The injury, according to Fronek, is often associated with a "traumatic events, usually from a fall."

At the time of the surgery, Prior was 13 months removed from arthroscopic surgery on the same shoulder, though Hoenecke said that surgery was successful and this tear was unrelated.

"He feels really good right now. He's at the beginning stages of his rehabilitation. He's playing catch, but he's not at the point where he's airing it out yet," said Boggs, who did not want to set a timetable as to when Prior might be game-ready.

At the time of the surgery in June, Fronek indicated that Prior could "optimistically" be throwing again by spring.

Prior, who is from San Diego and still makes his home there, signed with the Padres last year even though they weren't the highest bidder in terms of money or contract length.

The Red Sox, Mets, Cardinals, Astros, Giants, Reds, Nationals, Marlins and Indians were also in the running for Prior, who has a career record of 42-29 in 106 starts with the Cubs. He hasn't pitched in the Major Leagues since August 2006.

The Padres enter the offseason with a tenuous rotation, given that 2007 Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy could be dealt. Even if Peavy returns, the team is looking to solidify a rotation that could have as many as three spots up for grabs.