Prior only one of Cubs' concerns

Updated: April 14, 2004, 12:31 PM ET
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN Insider
Nice couple of weeks for Mark Prior. First Jack McDowell insinuates that he must be on the juice because he has a bad Achilles tendon. Then Prior throws off flat ground before a game at Wrigley Field, and it's a bigger deal than the Steve Bartman baseball demolition.

Mark Prior
The Cubs' Mark Prior would much rather be pitching than answering questions about his health.
The story gets worse: Prior had barely finished playing catch with pitching coach Larry Rothschild on Monday when they were confronted with a Newark Star-Ledger report that presented a less-than-optimistic assessment of his short-term future.

The paper reported that Prior's elbow problems could be serious enough for reconstructive surgery, according to the buzz among baseball executives, and said that manager Dusty Baker has been confiding in friends that the situation is "bleak."

Jerry Crasnick

ESPN Senior Writer