Mark Prior hasn't pitched in the majors since 2006, but the former Cubs right-hander isn't yet ready to cash it in: His shoulder rehabilitation has reached a point where he's working out Wednesday at the University of Southern California in a showcase for major-league scouts.
Prior, a USC grad, hasn't appeared in a big league game since Aug. 10, 2006, when he went three innings and was the losing pitcher for the Cubs in Milwaukee.
Since then, he tried a couple of comebacks with the Cubs and then, most recently, he tried to return with his hometown San Diego Padres. That ended last Aug. 1 when the Padres released him.
Prior, 42-29 with a 3.51 ERA over five seasons (106 starts) with the Cubs, has undergone two shoulder surgeries since 2007. He was the second overall pick in the 2001 draft after Minnesota picked catcher Joe Mauer first overall, a choice that was fiercely debated for several years.
Instead, Prior, whose later shoulder problems most people believe stemmed from a collision with then-Atlanta infielder Marcus Giles during a game in 2003, became a cautionary tale of a much-hyped draft prospect that failed to live up to expectations. He signed with the Cubs for $10.5 million out of USC, a record that stood until Stephen Strasburg surpassed it last August with his $15.1 million deal with Washington.
Several major-league clubs, including contenders, are expected to send scouts to watch Prior work out Wednesday in hope of perhaps gaining a pitcher that will help relieve pressure to trade for a starter in July.