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Mulder thinks he's almost ready

Mark Mudler plans to audition soon for a 2009 job. But he apparently carries some pretty serious guilt around for what happened the last two years with the Cardinals. So he said he doesn't plan to try to catch on with a team until he is 100 percent certain that he is healthy.

"I'd love to be out there, but what I was doing the last couple of years wasn't fair to me and it wasn't fair to the Cardinals, and I'm not going to do that to another team," Mulder told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I'm not going to say I'm ready to roll and sign with someone until I can repeat side sessions and repeat them again with no issues, no doubt in my head, no setbacks."

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Sadly, after the two-year deal Walt Jocketty gave him prior to the 2007 season expired, Mulder finally believes he is in condition to get back physically to where he was when he was one of the best pitchers in the game.

Last year Mulder said he couldn't raise his pitching arm high enough to make his breaking stuff effective. But after working with a trainer on strength and flexibility all winter, Mulder he's back to where he needs to be.

While he had some success with the Cardinals in 2005, Mulder now admits he was never right the entire time he wore a St. Louis uniform. He said he hurt his hip in 2004 with Oakland and thinks that led him to put additional stress on his shoulder as he tried to compensate.

"I was out there in '06 and '07 saying, 'Please hit it at someone,' " Mulder told The Chronicle. "My pitches weren't doing what they were supposed to be doing because my delivery was so different."

Mulder's preference is to pitch with Oakland. While some think it would be a nice gesture for him to offer to play for the minimum with the Cardinals to make up for the millions they team spent on him when he couldn't perform, GM John Mozeliak has made it clear that he isn't interested.