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Even though he didn’t win the Oscar for best actor in “The Wrestler” Sunday night, Mickey Rourke made a successful comeback on the big screen as a washed-up grappler in the ring.
Former Red Sox pitcher Oil Can Boyd recently announced he is making a comeback on the mound at age 49. He already came out of retirement once, pitching for an independent team in 2005. He last pitched in the majors in 1991.
Here are five current major league players looking to bounce back from injuries or poor performances in 2009. Which one has the best shot?
1) Rafael Furcal: The Dodgers are confident he can return from a back injury that limited him to 36 games, otherwise they wouldn’t have re-signed him to a $30 million deal over three years. Getting on base, stealing bases and scoring runs has never been a problem when he’s healthy.
2) Dontrelle Willis: In his first season with the Tigers, the lefthander was among the biggest disappointments in baseball. Willis had trouble throwing strikes, hurt his knee and was demoted to the minors, where he spent most of the season. He ended up pitching just 24 innings with Detroit and walked 35 batters.
3) Andruw Jones: Jones, who will be 32 in April, was so bad in his only season with the Dodgers that all he got was a minor league contract from the Rangers this winter. His .158 average in Los Angeles was considerably lower than his weight. This year he showed up in spring training 20 pounds lighter and determined to prove that 2008 was an anomaly. His 10 Gold Gloves with the Braves weren’t a fluke.
4) Chris Carpenter: The Cardinals righthander was the 2005 National League Cy Young winner and won 15 games the following year. But he had Tommy John surgery early in 2007 and has made just four starts over the last two seasons. He had another procedure on his elbow in November, so it remains to be seen whether he will ever regain his Cy Young form.
5) Travis Hafner: He may have peaked in 2006 when he belted 42 homers and drove in 117 runs, both career highs with the Indians. But his power was sapped by a shoulder injury last season, resulting in a .197 average with five homers in 57 games. He had surgery and reported to camp in great shape.