The most remarkable comeback attempt in baseball this spring took a terrible turn on Saturday as Angels left-handed pitcher Mark Mulder suffered a ruptured left Achilles tendon, the team announced. Mulder is not expected to pitch at all in 2014, ending an improbable comeback attempt after five years away from the game.
Angels pitchers and catchers reported to camp in Tempe, Ariz., on Thursday. Saturday was just the second workout for the team. Mulder hurt himself during side-to-side agility drills, per Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com.
"I'm crushed for him because I know how hard he worked to get to this point," Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said on Saturday, per Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
Mulder last pitched in 2008 and worked the previous three years as a television analyst at ESPN. Last season, Mulder saw something in the unorthodox delivery of Dodgers reliever Paco Rodriguez and tried to apply it himself. After months of training, Mulder signed a minor league contract with the Angels, trying to make a comeback at age 36 as a non-roster invitee in Angels camp.
Mulder tweeted his heartbreak at the injury.
I can handle this. But seeing my son in tears when he saw me in a boot and crutches and I told him I wasn't going to pitch. That was tough.— Mark Mulder (@markmulder20) February 15, 2014