Mark Mulder, a two-time All-Star and former staff pillar with the Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals, is trying to make a comeback.

Mulder, 36, retired in 2009 after two surgeries on his left shoulder had reduced his effectiveness and sapped his hopes of pitching at an elite level again. He's been working as an analyst at ESPN since 2011, and had come to grips with the notion that his big-league days were at an end.

But things changed in October when Mulder watched Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Paco Rodriguez on TV and found something in Rodriguez's delivery that he could emulate. Mulder spent the month of November working himself into shape at a Phoenix-area facility run by former big-league catcher Chad Moeller, and recently threw off the mound for three unspecified teams near his home in Scottsdale.

He said scouts clocked his fastball at 89-90 mph. Now he's hoping to audition for more clubs and land an invitation to a spring training camp.

"I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am," Mulder said by phone Tuesday. "To be honest with you, I never anticipated this five or six weeks ago. It was just a flat-out fluke that came from me trying to imitate Paco Rodriguez in my living room."

Mulder, a former Michigan State star, began his professional career with Oakland in 1998 as the No. 2 overall choice in the draft -- one pick after the Philadelphia Phillies selected outfielder Pat Burrell with the top choice. Mulder was 23 years old in 2001 when he went 21-8 with a 3.45 ERA to finish second to Roger Clemens in the American League Cy Young Award balloting.