(Photo: Ross D. Franklin, AP)

Former Cubs pitcher Mark Prior retires; could join Padres' front office next

The Chicago Cubs’ No. 1 draft pick in the 2001 amateur draft, Mark Prior will retire and could join the San Diego Padres’ front office reports St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Mike Berardino from the Winter Meetings. Prior’s recent comeback attempt with the Cincinnati Reds in 2013 was cut short when he once again injured his shoulder, this time at Triple-A.

Prior, 33, has not pitched in the Major Leagues since 2006. The injury prone right-hander, became a household name in Chicago during the 2002-03 when he went 328 innings and posted a 2.74 ERA with a 4.45 K/BB ratio. Prior was on the mound for the infamous Steve Bartman foul ball incident and Alex Gonzalez error in Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series.

Ironically, he ends his career with Dusty Baker, who is believed to have started his arm troubles. He tried to comeback with the Texas Rangers, San Diego Padres, New York Yankees, and Boston Red Sox and Reds this past season.

In his five-year career, Prior went 42-29 with a 3.51 ERA and 1.225 WHIP, 10.4 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 657 innings.

This offseason, the Padres organization lost bench coach Rick Renteria to the Cubs and special assistant Brad Ausmus to the Detroit Tigers. Prior could provide baseball insight to the Padres front office.

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