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L.A Dodgers hire Mark Prior as bullpen coach

Former All-Star Mark Prior has joined the Los Angeles Dodgers as bullpen coach.

He spent the last four years with the Padres, first as a baseball operations assistant and then as their minor league pitching coordinator. Prior was drafted by the Cubs out of USC in 2001. Plagued by injuries, he had a 42-29 career mark and a 3.51 ERA.

Prior will replace Josh Bard, who departed manager Dave Roberts staff after two seasons to become bench coach of the New York Yankees.

Prior, a 37-year-old from San Diego, had spent the last four seasons as a member of the Padres’ front office. He started as an assistant in the baseball operations department before being promoted to a pitching coordinator.

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Drafted second overall out of USC in 2001, Prior reached the majors a year later and emerged as a phenom in 2003. He went 18-6, posted a 2.43 earned-run average and finished third in National League Cy Young Award voting.

Prior could not reach those heights again. Stymied by injuries, he appeared in 57 games during the next three seasons but did not pitch in the majors after 2006. He attempted a series of comebacks, with four organizations, before retiring after the 2013 season.

After pitching five major league seasons, Prior missed three seasons due to injuries (2007-09) and pitched four more years in the minors in the Rangers, Yankees, Red Sox and Reds systems.

Prior is one of three new coaches on the Dodgers’ major league staff, joining Brant Brown and Luis Ortiz, who will each split time with the dual roles of assistant major league hitting coach and minor league hitting coordinator.

Returning to the staff are: pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, bench coach Bob Geren, hitting coach Turner Ward, first base coach George Lombard and third base coach Chris Woodward.

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Categories: Sports