Remember when, for three years, Chicago Cubs fans sated themselves with the thought that, although Mark Prior was just throwing towels, soon he would be back to form.

It would be like trading for a top-line starter mid-season, we told ourselves.

Well, thank the Lord that isn’t us anymore, right?

Now there’s a glimmer. Prior is already thinking of how that first/next pitch to a hitter will feel as it leaves his hand.

“I have no idea where it might go,” he said last week. “I know there will be nerves involved. The competitive juices will be flowing. I’d like to get that first pitch out of the way … then start pitching.”

And once he starts pitching …

“If Kurt Warner can disappear for five years, I can disappear for three,” he said. San Diego Union-Tribune.

Best of luck, Padre fans. You’ve got yourself one heck of an employee.