(Reuters) - A ruptured left Achilles tendon has apparently ended the comeback attempt of former All-Star pitcher Mark Mulder.
Mulder suffered the injury during a light agility training drill while warming up for his first bullpen session for the Los Angeles Angels in Tempe, Arizona, on Saturday.
The irony was not lost on the 36-year-old, who had retired five years ago due to shoulder injuries after a stellar career with the Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals, during which he compiled a 103-60 record.
”I’ve never hurt anything below my back my entire life,“ Mulder told Major League Baseball’s website (mlb.com). ”All the basketball as a kid or in high school, I never sprained an ankle. I never hurt a lower body part. That’s why I didn’t even realize how it happened.
“If it would’ve been an elbow, a shoulder, something happened, all right, ‘Hey, I‘m out, see ya. Thanks for the opportunity’, But to have this happen, it makes it doubly as hard.”
Mulder was the second overall draft pick in 1998 and one of the game’s best left-handers between 2001-05 before his injured shoulder cut short his career.
As his shoulder healed he began to be intrigued by the idea of playing in the major leagues again and signed a minor league contract with the Angles on January 1.
He will have surgery near his home in Scottsdale, Arizona, and the long recovery process means his comeback attempt is probably over, though he did not completely rule it out.
“I’ll have to wait and see what the doctor says,” Mulder said.
Reporting By Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Gene Cherry