Mark Prior allowed just one run while striking out 11 batters in 7.2 innings this spring, but his comeback will have to continue in the low minors after the Yankees assigned him to Single-A yesterday.
Prior’s minor-league contract with the Yankees includes an opt-out clause that would allow him to become a free agent if not satisfied with his situation at a later date.
However, the 29-year-old former All-Star told Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com that he has “no intention of using it”:
I want to be here. I’m still a part of this organization and I truly want to help this ball club win. And I think I can do that. I think I probably surprised a lot of people that I can still kind of hold my own at this level and I know I can. I know my stuff is not what it was, and I don’t expect it to be, but I know it’s good enough to play at this level still.
For now he’ll have to prove that he can dominate inexperienced hitters a decade his junior. Prior blitzed through the minors so quickly while coming up through the Cubs’ system that he has a grand total of just four career starts at Single-A, the most recent of which came in 2006.