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Harden is Great and Allegedly Still Healthy

June 20, 2011

Rich Harden took the hill for the Sacramento River Cats this afternoon who played the Fresno Grizzlies at Raley Field in a game that featured not only A’s of the future but A’s of the past as well. The key performance that everyone was watching of course was that of Rich Harden. Harden started for the River Cats and struck out the side in the first, and then again struck out the side in the third. His line on the day was three innings pitched, one walk, six strikeouts. Not a shabby return to action. But this is typical Harden who when healthy is among the best pitchers in the game. Unlike other guys who’ve battled injury this guy hasn’t come back and struggled like many (last year with Texas a noted exception), he just comes back and pitches great and then gets injured again. When he is healthy he is as close to a sure thing as there could be but therein lies the probably, he is seldom healthy.

Regardless a promising 2011 debut for the Athletics. There has been talk with the A’s rotation shouldering so many injuries right now that if Harden came back (likely after the All Star break) he looks to be put into the rotation. This is a bit baffling to me, as with such an injury prone pitcher I’d rather see him in the bullpen or as a swingman if need be. Yet it seems that Graham Godfrey would be the presumed odd man out, because Matthew Pouliot at HardballTalk writes,

“there’s no doubt that Harden is being groomed to slide into the rotation once he’s ready.”

A strange fit to me, but then again who would be a strong candidate in the bullpen to be optioned to Sacramento? Everyone is performing pretty well down there on the left field line.

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