Prior to miss season following surgery

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Shoulder and rotator cuff surgery ends season for Cubs' Prior.

CHICAGO -- Oft-injured Cubs pitcher Mark Prior will miss the entire 2007 season after surgery on his right shoulder, a setback that isn't expected to finish his once-promising career.

The 26-year-old Prior had surgery Tuesday by noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. Andrews also worked on Prior's rotator cuff.

"Obviously, Mark is done for the year," Chicago general manager Jim Hendry said. "From my conversations with [trainer] Mark O'Neal and John Boggs, Mark's agent who talked to Dr. Andrews last night, Dr. Andrews feels comfortable that he will still have a career. This is certainly not career-ending.

"He felt optimistic that he would be able to pitch next year. ... At his age, he should not have a problem responding and coming back after a strenuous rehab."

Hendry said it was way too early to set a timetable for Prior's return or discuss what it means for Prior's future with the Cubs. Prior started his rehabilitation program Wednesday, and it will continue into the offseason.

Prior has been beset by injuries since his first full season in the majors in 2003. He made just nine starts last year for the Cubs after three trips to the disabled list.

Prior was not on the Cubs' active roster to start this year and was optioned to Triple-A Iowa after limited innings in spring training. He instead went on the minor league disabled list.

At extended spring training in Arizona, he pitched only two innings on April 12 before reporting discomfort in his shoulder.

"Obviously he had some things wrong physically and he's getting them corrected," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said before Wednesday's game against Milwaukee. "So, this is a step in the right direction."

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