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Posted: Tuesday December 14, 2010 6:39PM ; Updated: Tuesday December 14, 2010 7:54PM

Yanks, Prior ink minor-league deal

Story Highlights

The Yankees will pay Mark Prior $750,000 plus incentives if he makes the majors

Prior, a former No. 2 overall pick for the Cubs, hasn't pitched in the bigs since '06

The Yankees still have two open rotation spots after missing out on Cliff Lee

By Jon Heyman, SI.com

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Mark Prior
Mark Prior (pictured) was a phenom in his first few seasons, teaming with Kerry Wood as the Cubs made it to the 2003 NLCS.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
MLB Team Page

The Yankees signed former No. 2 overall pick Mark Prior to a minor-league contract.

Prior, 30, hasn't pitched in the majors since his last year with the Cubs in 2006. If he rises back to the big leagues, Prior will earn $750,000, plus a possible $750,000 in incentives.

Prior is said by a friend to feel the Yankees "provided the best opportunity at this time.''

After missing out on Cliff Lee, the Yankees are left with a rotation of CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett and two open spots. If Prior shows he's healthy, he'll be competing with former Cubs teammate Sergio Mitre, Ivan Nova and Andrew Brackman, among others, to fill the openings.

The Cubs took Prior out of USC with the second pick in the 2001 draft after the Twins selected Joe Mauer. Prior made his MLB debut in 2002 and compiled a 42-29 record with a 3.51 ERA and 757 strikeouts in 657 innings over five seasons, scattering injuries.

His final start with the Cubs came in August 2006, after which he missed the rest of the season with shoulder tendinitis and the next two years with the Cubs and Padres with major shoulder surgeries.

He signed with the independent Golden Baseball League in 2010 and later with the Rangers, pitching one scoreless inning of relief for Triple-A Oklahoma City in September.

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