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Mark Prior, SP CHC
News: The Chicago Tribune reports that Mark Prior (shoulder) will be on a slow track back to the majors, despite likely being ready to pitch with the Cubs next week. "We don't know if it's going to be one, two, three more rehab starts, or whatever," manager Dusty Baker said. "Personally, with (Kerry Wood) going only five or six (innings), we'd rather have Prior over-ready than under-ready, if possible." Prior also noted that he was misquoted last week when it was reported he said his shoulder had a "tear," a word synonymous with strain. "I wasn't trying to say anything other than the (reporter) said I had a sore shoulder, and I said, `That's not what I had.'"
Analysis: Prior threw five strong inning with Triple-A Iowa Saturday and he'll make his third rehab start Thursday either at Double-A West Tenn or with Iowa. "It was definitely a big step, and I'm feeling I'm getting right where I want to be," Prior said of Saturday's game. He might be able to make a start against Houston on June 13 if all goes well Thursday. "I need to see how I bounce back over the next day or so," he said. "Obviously, going five innings, it's not so much the pitches but it's the getting up and down and going from two (innings) to five. I think it just depends on where I go from here and where I do pitch." Prior's velocity topped out around 90 mph Saturday, but the Cubs aren't worried that his speed won't return. "There's always speculation," pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. "But if you remember, when he came back (from the line drive to his elbow) last year, he wasn't throwing in the 93s, 94s and 95s, so it takes a little bit of time." If he's available in any of your leagues, consider picking him up for the second half of the season.