Prior's Debut Wednesday At Wrigley Field

May 18, 2002

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Mark Prior will make his highly anticipated debut with theChicago Cubs next Wednesday after only three starts at Triple-A.

Prior, the second overall selection in the 2001 draft, will pitch at homeagainst the Pittsburgh Pirates, giving a boost to the struggling Cubs. Chicago(13-26) came into the day with an eight-game losing streak.

'I'm worried about the expectations that are going to be placed on Mark,'GM Andy MacPhail said. 'It's a big step walking out there for the first timeand then to bring him in when the team is struggling and have that kind ofmedia attention that he's garnered through his career, it's going to be hard tomeet those expectations.'

Prior, considered by some the best college pitcher ever during his career atSouthern California, was dominant in nine minor league starts. The 21-year-oldright-hander was 5-2 with a 2.29 ERA in Double-A and Triple-A. He had 79strikeouts in 51 innings.

In three starts at Triple-A Iowa, Prior went 1-1 with a 1.65 ERA and 24strikeouts in 16 1-3 innings.

'I don't doubt that he'll go through some rough outings,' MacPhail said.'It's unfair to expect he'll dominant in the major leagues the way he'sdominated in the minor leagues. But it's pretty evident that he's ready, andit's pretty evident that we can use him here.'

Prior made an immediate impression on the Cubs during spring training.

'You couldn't tell this guy was one of the most touted pitchers coming outof college the way he handled himself in spring training,' Cubs manager DonBaylor said. 'He was willing to listen, to talk.

'There's nothing I can tell him,' Baylor said. 'He has to experience thatfirst inning for himself, get his feet on the ground and let him pitch.'

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