Arm and shoulder problems have been an all too familiar refrain for Mark Prior over the past few seasons. However, the Cubs are using a new approach to keep the porcelain-based starter healthy this year: Pitching underhand.
“There is no doubt Mark’s problems have been attributed to his throwing motion,” Cubs trainer Mark O’Neal said. “The underhand motion will be far less stressful and should guarantee Mark will not be on the disabled list by the time the regular season starts. We expect for him to make it to at least mid-April before he’s sidelined.”
Although considered an unorthodox move by many, Cubs management believes it is in both Prior’s and the Cubs’ best interests, as even the slightest overexertion has proven to cripple the health of his arm.
“Don’t expect any ‘Jennie Finch’ type underhand pitching out of Mark,” said Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild, referring to the highly successful women’s softball pitcher. “We’re just going to let him lob the ball in at a slow pace. He won’t get many batters out, but we didn’t expect much success out of Mark from an overhand either.”