Mark Mulder, who is trying to make a comeback to Major League Baseball after a six year hiatus, was injured early Saturday while warming up for his first bullpen session of the spring. MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez reported early Saturday morning that the Angel's pitcher injured his ankle. Mulder was taken in for x-rays and it was later found that he ruptured his left Achilles tendon. The injury is going to require what will probably be season-ending surgery.
This is a major and very unfortunate freak injury for Mulder that may not have just sidelined his comeback but ended it completely. He injured the ankle during some easy agility drills during a warm up for his first bullpen session in years.
I feel for the guy, I really do. I watched him grow as a pitcher with the A's and he was dynamic. When Mulder pitched you knew it would be a quick game and most likely a complete one, maybe even a shut out. The first time I ever sat in the Diamond Level at the Coliseum, Mulder pitched the game. The game was under two hours!! At the time I was thinking, thanks a lot Mark! But when he announced his plans to comeback I was all for it! He was probably my favorite of Oakland's "Big Three" (along with Tim Hudson and Barry Zito) in the early 2000s. I'm very sorry to see this happen to him even though he most likely would have been pitching against my Athletics with the Angels. Which if he were back to his 2000s form would have been formidable. All I keep thinking is,
"Really? Seriously? How could this happen? It's like a freak accident! Poor guy!"
Ok, back to the facts of the story and not my rambling .... In November Mulder held a tryout session and the scouts were impressed with what they saw. It was rumored that his fastball was hitting the 90 mph mark. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim soon signed Mulder to a minor league contract with an invite to big league spring training. There were hopes that he would be able to stay healthy with his new delivery and possibly make the Angels' starting rotation. Mulder would have been battling for the fifth spot in the Angels rotation with Joe Blanton and Tyler Skaggs, whose importance just rose immensely. Angels' general manager, Jerry Dipoto, told the media,
"My heart goes out to him. I know how hard he worked, and we're all disappointed for him. Every one of us."
The former star southpaw for the Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals has not thrown a pitch in the majors since 2008 and officially announced his retirement in 2010. Mulder was sidelined by shoulder injuries after being traded from the Athletics to the Cardinals. A star on the Athletics, Mulder dominated the league between 2001 and 2005. In that time he averaged 18 wins a year with 3.65 ERA. After the trade he pitched only 12 2/3 innings with the Cardinals. He has since been working for ESPN as an analyst.
During the playoffs last year Mulder figured out a way to throw the ball without it affecting his shoulder by watching Dodger's pitcher Paco Rodriguez's delivery. He was able to replicate Rodriguez's delivery without any shoulder pain or strain. He has been training extremely hard since October to be ready for spring training. Mulder was confident about his comeback just Friday saying,
"That was the first day I really thought to myself, 'OK, I'm ready to start this."
Mere hours later Mulder was at the hospital getting the news that he'd have to have season ending surgery on his left ankle. For Mulder the comeback was more out of curiosity than necessity which prompts one to believe that he will return to ESPN and retired life especially given that he is already 36 years old. Mulder talked about the injury Saturday afternoon on his Twitter account,
@markmulder20 I can handle this. But seeing my son in tears when he saw me in a boot and crutches and I told him I wasn't going to pitch - that was tough.
Mulder, unfortunately, just seems to have a streak of bad luck. After finding a way to throw with his often injured shoulder, he wasn't even able to make it to his first bullpen session. It is highly likely that his comeback attempt was thwarted before it even officially started.
The southpaw has not made an official statement on what he believes his future to be. Mulder is expected to address the media Sunday morning
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