Relief pitcher Joba Chamberlain is sidelined temporarily with an oblique strain on his left side. Does that mean a door is open for veteran Mark Prior to complete a surprising comeback and earn a spot in the New York Yankees bullpen?
No one is saying Chamberlain’s injury will sideline him for anything more than a few days. If he is healthy in time for the season, which starts in less than two weeks for the Yankees, there does not appear to be room for Prior, the former Chicago Cubs wunderkind trying yet another comeback at the age of 30.
If, however, Chamberlain’s injury lingers Prior has put himself in position to be considered a legitimate option to start the season in New York. In four Spring Training appearances, Prior has surrendered just one earned run in 3.2 innings and has struck out six.
Prior, National League Rookie of the Year in 2002 at the age of 21, has not pitched in a big-league game since 2006.