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Mark Prior Might Be Coming Home

The once-highly-regarded pitching prospect is officially ending his playing career, but some are reporting that he could be taking a job in the Padres front office.

Beat writer Mark Berardino broke the news on Twitter last night that not only has Mark Prior made the decision to retire, but we could be seeing him back in San Diego soon, as a member of the front office. The announcement came during the Winter Meetings, where reporters ran into Prior.

A San Diego native and notable University of San Diego High School alumnus, Prior would literally be right at home if he does in fact join the Padres staff. Prior to his career in professional baseball, he played basketball at USDHS. He was drafted by - but didn't sign with - the Yankees in the amateur draft in 1998. He went on to attend Vanderbilt University for a year before transferring to USC to play basketball. After re-entering the draft in 2001, Prior was picked 2nd overall and signed a record-breaking (at the time) $10.5 million contract with the Cubs, where he would find much success and spend the bulk of his career, which you can read more about at Bleed Cubbie Blue.

After injury issues ended his tenure with Chicago, Prior signed a contract in December 2007 with his hometown team in San Diego for one year and $1 million (with incentives). Unfortunately, while rehabbing, he suffered a shoulder tear and had to undergo surgery, causing him to miss his second straight season in 2008. The Padres brought him back and signed him to a minor league contract in January 2009, but he was never called up to the big league club and was released in August.

Prior played independent baseball in 2010 before several more attempted comebacks with the Rangers, Yankees, Red Sox, and Reds. The 33-year-old will end his major league career carrying a 42-29 lifetime record and 3.51 ERA. After being regarded as a top prospect when he began his life as a professional baseball player it's unfortunate to see how injuries have marred what could have been a very long and successful career. But if and when he officially joins the Padres front office, he's sure to get a warm welcome from Padres fans.