When Mark Mulder agreed to a minor league with the Los Angeles Angels last January he immediately became a Cinderella story in the making. It was the low-risk, high-reward signing the Angels could afford, given their lack of pitching depth.
Unfortunately, Mulder’s resurgence was short lives as he suffered a season-ending Achilles injury during training drills last month; forcing the Angels to officially cut ties with the veteran left-hander yesterday in an announcement made via the team’s Twitter page.
The Angels weren’t expecting Mulder to carry a heavy workload had he made the Opening Day roster, but his veteran presence and proven track record gave the 37-year-old pitcher a shot at rounding out the team’s starting rotation. This, however, was a stretch since Mulder last pitched in a game five years ago. In all likelihood, Mulder would have begun the season at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Mulder was the model of consistency from 2001 to 2005, averaging 211 innings and 17 wins per season with the Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals, respectively. He lost the 2001 Cy Young Award to Roger Clement despite leading the AL in wins (21), ERA (3.45), and shutouts (4) while maintaining a 5.6 WAR. A nagging shoulder problem limit Mulder to 106 innings the following three seasons and subsequently lead to his retirement.
Undeterred by his torn tendon, Mulder is contemplating another comeback next spring. If he does give it another go, his road back will again be slowed by age and recurring injuries. If these factors don’t stop him, he can still make for a great comeback story.