Prior: 'Things will work out'

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Prior: 'Things will work out'

Mark Prior wants nothing to do with what ifs and if onlys.
What ifs are bad, those are bad questions, Prior said. Theres been a lot of, Well, do you know why? Why is a bad question. What if? is a bad question. Its just easier to focus onI dont want to sound psycho-babblebut its easier just to wake up every day and say, This is what were doing today. These are the things I need to accomplish. And at the end of the day you can look back and say, OK, I did all these things. It was a good day. You start adding a bunch of good days up, hopefully good things happen.
Still, no one could blame Prior, whose career was derailed by injuries, if he indulged in such reflection. The first-round pick of the Cubs in 2001, and second overall pick behind Minnesotas Joe Mauer, Prior finished third in National League Cy Young Award voting in 2003, his second season in the majors, going 18-6 with a 2.43 ERA in 30 starts. But, he has not appeared in the major leagues since 2006, when he started nine games for the Cubs, positing a record of 1-6 with a 7.21 ERA.
Im not going to lie and say there havent been times when I was close to saying enoughs enough, he said. But I try to view everything as positive. It gave me a chance to hang out with my family, and watch my kids be born and grow up, things a lot of players dont get to see, at least get to experience fully. Theres been a lot of support from my family, agent, friends. They all know what Ive been trying to work for. So it hasnt been completely negative. There have been trials but in life theres always trials. So you just put your head down and grind away and things will work out for the best.
Since he last appeared in the big leagues an Aug. 10, 2006, loss with the Cubs in Milwaukee the right-hander who is still just 31 has pitched at every level in the minors and has even done a stint with an independent team. After signing a minor league contract with the Red Sox on May 2 and working out in extended spring training at the teams complex in Fort Myers, Prior was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket on June 1.
He is as close to getting back to the big leagues now as he has been at any point in the last six years.
I honestly dont focus too much on that, Prior said. Thats my goal. I want to get to the big leagues. Id love to do it here in Boston and have an opportunity to win a championship. But on an everyday basis, I know if I just trust and stick with my routines and the process and showing up every day, just be a professional, things will work out. Whether that works out in being in Boston, only time will tell and only one person knows that answer.
And right now, Ive been down the road of what-ifs: What if Im here in two weeks? What if Im doing this in two weeks or four weeks? Its too much to comprehend. Its better just to focus on day by day, hour by hour, what you got to do and take care of yourself and prepare yourself to just try to be successful on the field.
So far, Prior has been very successful on the field with the PawSox. In four appearances, spanning 5 23 scoreless innings, he has given up three hits with four walks and 13 strikeouts. He has a whopping 20.6 strikeouts-per-nine innings ratio. On June 5, he went 1 23 innings against Indianapolis, recording all five outs on strikeouts, giving up two hits.
Hes been throwing the ball very well, better than I expected, said PawSox pitching coach Rich Sauveur. Velocitys been consistently 90, 91, 92. Hes got a slurve, half slider, half curveball. Working on his changeup, hasnt thrown it maybe once or twice. Its a work-in-progress pitch. But his fastball has been very effective. Hes been able to elevate it whenever he wants. He just seems like hes got decent command of it, which is always the first thing you need in pitching.
From what Ive seen so far, I think hes going to get back to the big leagues if he stays healthy because hes only going to get stronger. Hes still 31. Thats not that old. Ill never say 31s too old, because theres still some good years left.
From what hes shown in the four outings here, I think if he keeps progressing the way he has in the time hes been with us, he could help us or he could help somebody.
Prior is strictly a reliever now. Of his 106 big league games, in which he posted a career record of 42-29 with a 3.51 ERA, Prior never made a relief appearance. Working out of the bullpen has been a big adjustment for him, physically and mentally. But he knows his best chance to get back to the big leagues is likely to be in the bullpen.
Id love to start maybe again, but I dont think thats physically something Im capable of doing at least right now, he said. I dont know if we were having this conversation in five or six years, maybe things would be different. But I think right now my best bet of staying healthy and getting to that next level is relieving.
But, what hes doing and what hes trying to accomplish is impressive to those around him.
Im sure its tough, said PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler. These guys are pretty good out here and to get back to that standard, especially a guy that was so elite like he was, just to get back and compete, Im sure its tough. But the expectations and knowing that you threw 95 100 mph and now youre dealing with 88 93, 94 at best right now, and 88 -92 probably comfortably and knowing that he doesnt have that to go to anymore, hes got do things different.
And we think theres more there. Goose Gregson, the Sox Gulf Coast League pitching coach and other evaluators in extended spring training sent him up here, they thought there was more there.
But the way hes been throwing, thats enough. Its pretty impressive. Hes got a good little slider, and can throw a changeup and above all hes got the experience. You cant teach that. Hes been a great guy around here, a hard worker.
Now, though, Prior is looking to his past experiences for guidance. Hes not dwelling on them.
You look to the past for experience and knowledge, not to make mistakes, he said. You dont look to the past as a precursor to the future, so to speak. You try to learn from your mistakes and your history. But trying to dwell on the past, you wont move forward. And again, this is not baseball. Its life. And if youre worried about what happened 10 years ago, youre not going to be worried about whats happening tomorrow.

Moreland homers again, Red Sox tag A's to avoid four-game sweep

Moreland homers again, Red Sox tag A's to avoid four-game sweep

OAKLAND, Calif. - A five-run ninth inning for the Red Sox that lasted more than a half-hour derailed any chance Eduardo Rodriguez had of getting his first career complete game.

Not that the left-hander was complaining.

After a bitter loss to Oakland a year ago when he allowed just one hit over eight innings, Rodriguez was more than happy with the way things turned out.

Rodriguez earned his second straight win, Mitch Moreland homered in his third consecutive game and Boston beat the Oakland Athletics 12-3 on Sunday to avoid a four-game sweep.

"I wanted to go back out there but they hit the ball pretty good in that inning and I know I had to get out of the game," Rodriguez said about the long wait. "I'll take it because we score more runs, I have a chance to win. If every inning's like that, I'll get out of the game after five."

Rodriguez (3-1) allowed three runs over eight innings. He struck out eight, walked one and retired 14 of his final 15 batters.

"Where he was with the pitch count, it'd be nice for him to go out there for the ninth inning given where he was and how well he was throwing the baseball," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "But at that point you're up nine, probably about a 35-minute inning, didn't want to take any chances."

Hanley Ramirez and Christian Vazquez had three hits apiece to power a Red Sox lineup that tallied 15 hits. Every player in Boston's starting lineup had at least one hit, and eight of the nine drove in runs.

Chad Pinder homered and drove in two runs for Oakland.

Boston, which hasn't been swept in a four-game series since July 2015, trailed 3-2 before scoring 10 runs over the final five innings.

"It felt we had them on the run a little bit," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "They get the lead and then we come back and take the lead again and you feel pretty good. But they were pretty persistent today."

Pinder went deep in the fourth, his fourth home run in eight games and fifth overall.

The A's committed three errors, giving them a major league-leading 42.

BRADLEY'S DEFENSIVE GEMS

Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts gave the A's trouble with his running and defense. Betts scored twice from first base and also made a pair of strong defensive plays. He made a sliding catch on Mark Canha's sinking liner in the eighth and then slammed into the wall after catching Khris' Davis fly to end the inning.

"This place during the daytime plays very difficult," Farrell said. "What Mookie was able to do a couple times in right field, those aren't easy plays. To be able to stay with it, go up against the wall a couple of times, we played very good outfield defense here today."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: Brock Holt continues to deal with lingering symptoms from vertigo and isn't yet ready to come off the disabled list, according to Farrell. Likewise, Boston plans to keep third baseman Pablo Sandoval in the minors to get consistent at-bats while recovering from a right knee sprain. ... Farrell said LHP Drew Pomeranz, who took the loss Saturday, will start against Texas on Thursday.

Athletics: Yonder Alonso (sore left knee) sat out his fourth straight game but could be back in the lineup Tuesday when Oakland begins a two-game series against Miami. ... Sean Doolittle (strained left shoulder) threw on flat ground before making 15 pitches off the mound. The plan is for the former closer to throw 25 pitches on Wednesday. ... Melvin said the team has applied for an extension on Chris Bassitt's rehab assignment. Bassitt underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello (2-5) faces Texas on Tuesday in the opener of a three-game series at Fenway Park. Porcello has lost three of his last four decisions.

Athletics: Following an off day, RHP Jesse Hahn (1-3) starts against Miami on Tuesday at the Coliseum. Hahn leads the majors in fewest home runs allowed per nine innings at 0.19.