Prior's return still is unknown
By wire services
Published April 13, 2004

CHICAGO - The Cubs are unsure when Mark Prior might be ready to pitch this season.

Unable to pitch during spring games because of a sore Achilles' tendon and tender elbow, Prior has been throwing long toss in the outfield. But the right-hander, 18-6 with a 2.43 ERA last season, isn't ready to throw off a mound.

"I wish I could tell you there is a date, but nobody knows, including me," manager Dusty Baker said Monday before the Cubs' home opener.

Baker vehemently denied a Newark Star-Ledger report that Prior might need Tommy John surgery, according to the Chicago Tribune. General manager Jim Hendry said the team hopes Prior can return by mid May.

In other Cubs news, second baseman Mark Grudzielanek is scheduled to have an MRI on his sore right Achilles' tendon today.

Centerfielder Corey Patterson was scratched just before game time with a mild groin strain.

[Last modified April 13, 2004, 01:05:40]