Earlier today, former Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Mark Mulder announced he was attempting to make a comeback to the Major Leagues. Mulder, who has been out of baseball since 2008 after injuring his pitching shoulder, has claimed to have found a mechanical flaw that has since been corrected, and won’t put as much stress on his shoulder.
“To be honest with you, I never anticipated this five or six weeks ago. It was just a flat-out fluke that came from me trying to imitate Paco Rodriguez in my living room.”
Mulder began working out, attempting to get back into pitching shape during the month of November, and has worked out for three or four teams near his home in Scottsdale, AZ. The teams are unknown, and Mulder plans on working out for more teams before the end of the year. He became more encouraged about the possibility of making a comeback when he was clocked between 89-90 mph. Former teammate and close friend Kyle Lohse told him that he looked like his old self when the two had an informal long toss session.
During Mulder’s last full season without injuries in 2005, he finished with a 16-8 record and a 3.42 earned run average. Mulder might make an interesting minor league invite to spring training for the New York Yankees, along with former New York Mets‘ ace Johan Santana, who is returning from shoulder surgery. Both pitchers are left-handed, which bodes well for pitching half of their games at Yankee Stadium, and each could possibly fill a slot in the back end of the Yankees rotation, without costing the team a long term contract or big dollars.
Mulder would appear to be the better bet, based upon the fact that he has a lot less mileage on his arm due to his early retirement. Santana has almost 700 more innings pitched than Mulder, but is two years younger. It might be a wash with age and innings pitched. Scouts and teams would have to question Mulder’s endurance and ability to stay healthy over the grind of 25-30 starts if he cracked a rotation.
If Mulder could complete his comeback, and make a big league rotation–perhaps even the back end of the Yankees starting rotation, it would be a phenomenal story of hard work and perseverance.