Results tagged ‘ Mark Prior ’

1/17 Wood & Prior

Jason McLeod, the Cubs director of player development and scouting, made a point of asking Kerry Wood and Mark Prior to speak to a dozen top prospects during the team’s first rookie development camp. Prior spoke Thursday, which was the final day of the week-long program.

“Who better to know and understand having all the hype, having all the pressure, being the young guy coming up and then performing in this environment?” McLeod said of the two Cubs pitchers who had to deal with plenty of highs and lows in their careers. “”Who better than those two guys? Those had to have been two of the most hyped Cubs prospects of the last 15 to 20 years.”

McLeod knew Prior from his brief time with the Padres. The pitcher didn’t hesitate when asked to talk to the kids.

“He was fired up about it and said, ‘I’d love to talk to those guys,'” McLeod said.

– Carrie Muskat

8/20 Hendry timeline with Cubs

During Jim Hendry’s tenure as GM with the Cubs, they won three division titles. Here are some highlights and lowlights:

* Named general manager in July 2002, taking over for Andy MacPhail. Inherited team with $75.7 million payroll. In offseason, hired Dusty Baker as manager from the NL champion Giants.

* In December 2002, traded Todd Hundley to the Dodgers for Mark Grudzielanek and Eric Karros. In July 2003, acquired Aramis Ramirez and Kenny Lofton from Pirates for Jose Hernandez, Minor League player and Bobby Hill. Also added Randall Simon from Pirates. Cubs win first NL Central Division title, finishing 88-74, and beat Braves in NL Division Series. Cubs were five outs from getting to World Series but lost in NL Championship Series to Marlins.

* In November 2003, acquired Derrek Lee from Marlins for Hee-Seop Choi and Minor Leaguer. In January 2004, gave Kerry Wood three-year, $32.5 million contract. Signed Greg Maddux in Spring Training 2004. Acquired Nomar Garciaparra at Trade Deadline. Cubs finished 89-73, and lost bid for Wild Card spot in final weeks. Season ends with Sammy Sosa leaving Wrigley Field early during last game.

* In February 2005, traded Sosa to Orioles. Acquired Jeromy Burnitz (.258, 24 HR, 87 RBIs) to play right field. Neifi Perez plays more games at shortstop than injured Garciaparra, and Cubs finish fourth, 79-83.

* Injuries to Derrek Lee, Mark Prior and others result in 66-96 season. Baker and staff dismissed at end of season; pitching coach Larry Rothschild retained. Lou Piniella hired, and team spends $300 million on players, including eight-year, $136 million deal for Alfonso Soriano. Signed Ted Lilly to three-year deal while hooked up to EKG machine at 2006 Winter Meetings.

* Cubs win division in 2007 under Piniella with 85-77 record but are swept in NLDS by Diamondbacks. In August that year, Carlos Zambrano given five-year, $91.5 million extension.

* In December 2007, sign Japanese batting champ Kosuke Fukudome to four-year, $48 million contract. Add Reed Johnson and Jim Edmonds. Gave Aramis Ramirez five-year, $75 million contract. In 2008, Cubs win second straight Central Division at 97-64, but are swept by Dodgers in NLDS. In offseason, traded Mark DeRosa, acquired closer Kevin Gregg, signed Ryan Dempster to four-year, $52 million contract.

* In January 2009, signed free agent Milton Bradley to three-year, $30 million contract. He hits .257, 12 homers, 40 RBIs, then is suspended in September. Cubs tied for first on Aug. 5, but finish second at 83-78. Bradley traded to Mariners in offseason for Carlos Silva and cash.

* Signed free agent Marlon Byrd to three-year, $15 million deal in December 2009. Piniella announces in July 2010 he is retiring at season’s end. Mike Quade named manager on Aug. 23. Cubs go 24-13 under Quade and finish season in fifth, 75-87. Quade gets two-year contract.

* Signed Carlos Pena to one-year, $10 million deal in December 2010 and re-signs Kerry Wood for $1.5 million. In January 2011, acquired Matt Garza from Rays for top prospects in eight-player deal. Signed Carlos Marmol to three-year, $20 million contract in February. Placed Carlos Zambrano on disqualified list in August after pitcher walks out, announcing his retirement in Atlanta.

– Carrie Muskat

12/27 Mark Prior update

Former Cubs pitcher Mark Prior tells the New York Daily News that after all the rehab, he’s ready to try again. Prior, 30, signed a Minor League contract with the Yankees that will pay him $750,000
if he makes the team. He will be reunited with Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who caught Prior in his debut game May 22, 2002, vs. the Pirates (a 7-4 Chicago win), and pitching coach Larry Rothschild.

“I think a lot of people wonder if I’m bitter,” Prior told the New York Daily News. “But I’m not. I’m blessed to have three healthy kids, a loving family and friends. When I was a rookie, did I have a vision of what my career would be? Absolutely. Has it gone that way? Absolutely not. But that’s life.

“I think I’ve proved, at least to myself, that I’ve been able to overcome a lot. I’m looking forward to this next chapter in my career. I knew back then that I was getting to the big leagues, but there are no guarantees at this phase … Now I’m hoping to turn the page and reclaim my baseball career.”

Prior, whom the Cubs selected in the first round of the 2001 Draft with the second pick overall, was sidelined because of bizarre injuries. He collided with Marcus Giles while running the bases in 2003, and took a line drive off his elbow in ’05. His failure to live up to the hype was often blamed on high pitch counts.

“Did I have a high workload? Yes,” Prior told the Daily News. “But did I have freak injuries? Yes. Did those have a role? Probably. Maybe not. I got out of the business of asking … I don’t think anyone has the answer. I was arguing to stay in those games. If I knew then what I know now, would I have argued? Maybe. What competitor says, ‘Take me out.’ People get hurt. It’s part of the game.”

After another shoulder injury in ’09, he decided to try rest rather than undergo surgery. He has not pitched in the big leagues since 2006 and now is projected as a reliever, not a starter.

“It hasn’t been easy,” Prior said. “I’d be lying if I said there weren’t times I said, ‘Enough is enough.’ In 2009, I thought long and hard about it. I had done everything I could for two years and it wasn’t working. But I didn’t want to be 35 and say, ‘Man, if I had given myself extra time, I could’ve gotten healthy.’ It’s worth being patient now rather than having regrets.”

– Carrie Muskat

3/6 First-round Cubs facts

On Friday, the Cubs had three first-round Draft picks in the starting lineup: Tyler Colvin, Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson. All they needed was for 2008 pick Andrew Cashner to start. The trio went 5-for-8 with three RBIs, a double and a triple, and scored three runs in the 8-7 come from behind win over the Diamondbacks. Here are some first-round Draft pick tidbits, courtesy of Cubs historian Ed Hartig:

* On Sept. 21, 2009, Tyler Colvin was the first Cubs’ first-round pick to start a regular sesaon game for the team since Mark Prior did so Aug. 20, 2006.

* The last time two former Cubs first-round picks started in the same game was Sept. 28, 2005, vs. the Pirates when Corey Patterson and Prior did so.

* The last time three former Cubs first-round picks started a game was April 20, 1997, vs. the Mets. In that game, Shawon Dunston started at shortstop, Doug Glanville in center field and Brooks Kieschnick in right.

Only two other Cubs June first-round trios have have started in the same game. In 1988, Dunston, Rafael Palmeiro and Mike Harkey started on Sept. 11. In 1986, Dunston, Palmeiro and Drew Hall started three games: Sept. 14, Sept. 19 and Sept. 24.

– Carrie Muskat

12/31 Top 10 Cubs games of the Decade

It’s time to ring in the new year and new decade. In the first 10 years of the 2000s, the Cubs reached the postseason three times (2003, ’07 and ’08), had five managers (counting Rene Lachemann’s one-game in ’02 and Bruce Kimm), and changed ownership. Here are 10 of the most memorable games of the last decade. Agree? Disagree? What’s your favorite game?  

1. Game 5 of National League Division Series, Oct. 5, 2003: For the first time since 1908, the Cubs won a playoff series. Kerry Wood had won Game 1 of the ’03 NLDS when he struck out 11 and hit a two-run double. In the deciding Game 5 on Oct. 5 in front of 54,357 at Turner Field, Wood fanned seven and held the Braves to one run in a 5-1 victory. Aramis Ramirez, a key in-season acquisition from the Pirates, hit a two-run homer.

2. Game 7 of NL Championship Series, Oct. 15, 2003: After the debacle of Game 6 (see No. 3), Wood started the deciding game of the series on Oct. 15, and served up a three-run homer to Miguel Cabrera in the first inning. But Wood gave Cubs fans hope when he hit a two-run homer in the second to tie the game at 3. Moises Alou’s two-run homer in the third opened a 5-3 lead. But the Fish scored three in the fifth and dashed the Cubs’ dream with a 9-6 series-clinching win.

3. Game 6 of NLCS, Oct. 14, 2003: The Cubs led the NLCS against the Marlins, three games to two, and had taken a 3-0 lead in Game 6 in front of 39,577 at Wrigley Field. Then the fateful eighth. Mark Prior started the game and retired the first batter. The Cubs were five outs away from getting to the World Series for the first time since 1945. Juan Pierre doubled, and Luis Castillo popped up, sending a ball to foul territory which fans in the left field seats tried to catch. So did Cubs left fielder Moises Alou. Nobody did, and Castillo walked. Both he and Pierre moved up on a wild pitch by Prior. Ivan Rodriguez hit a RBI single and Miguel Cabrera reached on an error by shortstop Alex Gonzalez. Derrek Lee — yes, the same D-Lee now with the Cubs — delivered a two-run double which tied the game and chased Prior. The Marlins would score eight runs in the inning and win, 8-3.

4. Carlos Zambrano’s no-hitter, Sept. 14, 2008: The Cubs and Astros were relocated to Miller Park in Milwaukee because of hurricane damage to Houston, and 23,441 bought tickets to the last-minute game. What a trip. Big Z struck out 10 and walked one in a 5-0 victory over the Astros, the first no-hitter by a Cubs pitcher since Milt Pappas did so Sept. 2, 1972.

5. Sammy Sosa’s 500th home run, April 4, 2003: In the top of the seventh inning in Cincinnati, Sosa connected off Scott Sullivan for his historic blast, launching a 1-2 fastball over the right-center field wall. It was his first home run of the ’03 season.

6. Greg Maddux’s 300th win, Aug. 7, 2004: Maddux had returned to the Cubs for the 2004 season, and in San Francisco, he became the 22nd pitcher to join the elite 300-win club. The Cubs posted an 8-4 victory over the Giants in front of a sellout crowd of 42,578. Maddux notched the win in his second try.

7. The Ramirez walkoff, June 29, 2007: Aramis Ramirez belts a two-run walkoff homer with two outs in the ninth off Francisco Cordero to power the Cubs to a 6-5 victory over the first-place Brewers in front of 41,909 at Wrigley Field. The win was the Cubs’ seventh straight and boosted them to .500 for the first time since early May. “I know it’s early,” Mark DeRosa said, “but it’s an exciting win for us.”

8. Lou’s first ejection, June 2, 2007: One day after Michael Barrett and Carlos Zambrano scuffled in the dugout, Lou Piniella erupted and was ejected in the eighth inning for arguing a call at third base. It was the first time he was tossed as a Cubs manager and the 60th ejection of his career.

9. The rally vs. the Rockies, May 30, 2008: The Cubs rally from deficits of 8-0 and 9-1 to beat the Colorado Rockies, 10-9, at Wrigley Field. Kosuke Fukudome, Jim Edmonds and Henry Blanco each homered and DeRosa smashed a two-run shot to cap a six-run seventh inning. Ryan Theriot and Aramis Ramirez didn’t start the game and Piniella pulled Derrek Lee and Geovany Soto after the Rockies opened a 9-1 lead in the sixth.

10. The Barrett-Pierzynski game, May 20, 2006: Barrett and A.J. Pierzynski collide at home plate in the second inning of the Cubs’ Interleague game against the White Sox, sparking a bench-clearing fight and four ejections. The White Sox had the bases loaded with one out against Rich Hill at U.S. Cellular Field. Pierzynski raced home on Brian Anderson’s fly ball and barreled into Barrett. Pierzynski slapped the plate with his hand and got up. Barrett grabbed the White Sox catcher and delivered a right punch to the face. The Cubs eventually lost, 7-0.

– Carrie Muskat

9/29 A little trivia

Remember the last time the Cubs and Pirates played a doubleheader at Wrigley? It was Sept. 27, 2003, and Chicago swept the twinbill. Mark Prior and Matt Clement were the winning pitchers and the wins, plus the Astros’ loss to the Brewers that day, helped the Cubs clinch their first division title since 1989.

– Carrie Muskat

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