Former Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals pitcher and current ESPN Major League Baseball analyst Mark Mulder will attempt to return to pitching after sitting out the last five years, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.
Mulder, who last pitched in the big leagues with the Cardinals in 2008, retired at just 31 years of age as a result of a pair of shoulder surgeries. His delivery didn't allow him to continue pitching, but a slight change influenced by watching Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Paco Rodriguez apparently has Mulder looking like his old self:
"To be honest with you, I never anticipated this five or six weeks ago. It was just a flat-out fluke that came from me trying to imitate Rodriguez in my living room ... I wouldn't be trying this is if I didn't think the stuff I was throwing was good enough."
The 36-year-old southpaw owns a 4.18 ERA in parts of nine big-league seasons. He hasn't put together a full season's worth of starts since 2005, when he went 16-8 with a 3.64 ERA in his first season with St. Louis. Mulder's best campaign came in 2003, when he posted a 3.13 ERA and 142 ERA+ while maintaining a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3.20.
Mulder has worked out for three unnamed clubs at his home near Scottsdale, Ariz., per Crasnick.