The Los Angeles Dodgers recently finalized their coaching staff for the 2018 season, which cemented the addition of former Chicago Cubs ace and USC product Mark Prior.
He filled the void left by former bullpen coach Josh Bard, who departed the organization earlier this offseason to accept a new role as New York Yankees bench coach. Since announcing his retirement in 2013, Prior has worked in the San Diego Padres organization.
As Prior explained during a recent appearance on Dodger Talk with David Vassegh on AM 570 L.A. Sports Radio, his time there helped establish key connections that led to his joining the Dodgers coaching staff:
“I do have some connections with a lot of people. Dave, I ran across Dave Roberts a little bit as a player but my first year here (in San Diego) and his first two years here he was obviously on the staff with Buddy Black and so I had a little bit of experience with him, as well as guys like Dave Finley, Alex Slater, who works in the front office, some of the other Padres personnel, Josh Byrnes, that had come up from San Diego about three or four years ago.
And basically I was doing my job down here. I was getting on a plane coming back from the Winter Meetings and got a phone call that Dave called and asked for permission to talk to me about it. It definitely perked my interests up and definitely wanted to listen to the conversation and obviously talk with the powers to be. It just kind of happened really fast before the Christmas holiday and the next thing you know the decision was made and I’m onboard and excited.”
Prior initially served as an assistant in the Padres baseball operations department. He was later promoted as the club’s pitching coordinator — a position he held for three years.
Prior is one of three newcomers to manager Dave Roberts’ staff for this season. He shares that designation with the likes the likes of Brant Brown and Luis Ortiz, who will split time in dual roles of assistant Major League hitting coach and Minor League hitting coordinator.