Prior trying to be latest feel-good story

Prior trying to be latest feel-good story

TORONTO -- The Red Sox have already had some unlikely stories unfold this season. Scott Podsednik and Daniel Nava didn't play in the Major Leagues at all in 2011, and both have come up with key hits of late.

Now there is right-hander Mark Prior, the former ace with the Cubs, who hasn't pitched in the Majors since 2006. The Red Sox signed him to a Minor League contract a few weeks back, and he was assigned to Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday.

Prior is trying to make it back to the bigs as a relief pitcher after sustaining a barrage of injuries that road-blocked his once-promising career.

"He's made constant progress," said manager Bobby Valentine. "People have liked his attitude and his throwing ability."

Despite how long Prior has been out of the Major Leagues, he is still just 31.

Prior was an 18-game winner for the 2003 Cubs -- the team that came to within one win of going to the World Series.