Jim & Bob's Palatial Baseball Blog

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Before and After

Life is funny sometimes.

Last year at this time, based on observations based only on bullpen sessions, experts like Dr. Phil and Will Carroll and Steve Stone were telling the world that Mark Prior was obviously injured. These diagnoses were based on whispers around the team and Prior’s obvious poor showing in those sessions.

This year, Prior has made it to the point where he has actually appeared in a pair of Cactus League games. In both, he has looked god-awful. It’s been so bad that even Ron Santo has noticed obvious flaws in Prior’s delivery. I love Ronnie, but let’s fact it – he’s not exactly the most insightful color analyst out there.

Last year, flaws in Prior’s delivery coupled with his poor performance led to the conclusion that he was hurt.

This year, flaws in Prior’s delivery coupled with his poor performance have led to…nothing. Every fantasy site out there lists Prior as a dangerous injury risk. But so far, I haven’t seen even a hint that Prior may be hurt. And you know the Chicago media wouldn’t bury that kind of story.

I’m no doctor, and I’m no mind reader, so I know about as much as you do, Gentle Reader. But comparing what I’ve seen of Prior with video of him back in ’03 and ’04 (yes, I am enough of a geek that I have Cub games on tape), he doesn’t even look like the same guy.

Piniella has said that Prior will pitch in minor league games, hoping that getting out of the spotlight will help Prior relax a little bit. Does he really think the media will blow off a Prior appearance just because he’s in a minor league game?

Regardless, I almost hope that there’s something physically wrong with Prior. If he’s hurt, there’s a chance he can get healed and back to form. But if there’s something psychologically wrong with him…oy. I’d hate to see Prior go all Ankiel on us…

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