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Mark Prior hired as Dodgers bullpen coach, per reports

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Mark Prior served as pitching coach for Team USA in the 2016 MLB Futures Game in San Diego.
Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

The Dodgers have reportedly filled a vacancy on their major league staff, adding former Cubs pitcher Mark Prior as bullpen coach per Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports, and confirmed by Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times.

2018 Dodgers coaching staff

Position Name Age* Season w/LA
Position Name Age* Season w/LA
Manager Dave Roberts 46 3rd
Bench coach Bob Geren 56 3rd
Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt 64 18th
Hitting coach Turner Ward 53 3rd
1B coach George Lombard 42 3rd
3B coach Chris Woodward 42 3rd
Asst. hitting Brant Brown 47 1st
Asst. hitting Luis Ortiz 48 1st
Bullpen coach Mark Prior 37 1st
*age as of June 30, 2018

Prior replaces Josh Bard, who left to become Aaron Boone’s bench coach with the Yankees after spending the last five years with the Dodgers, including the last two seasons as bullpen coach.

Prior joined the Padres front office in 2014 as a special assistant in baseball operations, and for the last three seasons served as San Diego’s minor league pitching coordinator. He was pitching coach for Team USA in the 2016 MLB Futures Game in San Diego.

The 37-year-old had a 3.51 ERA in 106 career starts with the Cubs, who drafted him with the second pick of the 2001 draft. Prior struck out 757 batters in 657 innings, and finished third in National League Cy Young voting in 2003 (behind Dodgers closer Eric Gagne), helping the Cubs to the NLCS with an 18-6 record, a 2.43 ERA and 245 strikeouts in 211⅓ innings.

After pitching five major league seasons, Prior missed three seasons due to injuries (2007-09) and pitched four more years in the minors in the Rangers, Yankees, Red Sox and Reds systems.

Prior talked in August with Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union Tribune:

My minor league career was flipped from the traditional sense. I spent more time there on the back end and I think doing that as an older person with family gave me a little bit different perspective on the process of trying to get back to the big leagues – things that are in your control and not in your control. I don’t talk specifically as much about my playing career as being able to understand what is important on a daily basis. What can you control? What can you work on to get yourself better every single day? You have to put on blinders. I think it’s human nature to see people moving up, down and sideways around you. The guys that are able to stay focused on their task every single day, stay within themselves and routine and stick to the process to get better, those are the guys that don’t get distracted and fall off their path.

Prior is one of three new coaches on the Dodgers’ major league staff, joining Brant Brown and Luis Ortiz, who will each split time with the dual roles of assistant major league hitting coach and minor league hitting coordinator.