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Twins sign Rich Harden to minor league deal

Dec 21, 2012, 10:52 AM EST

harden oakland ap wide AP

Rich Harden will attempt his comeback in Minnesota, as the Twins announced that they’ve signed the oft-injured right-hander to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Harden missed all of last season following shoulder surgery and hasn’t had an ERA below 5.00 since 2009, so much of the upside he once possessed has vanished, but he’s still just 31 years old and had good strikeout totals even while performing poorly overall in 2010 and 2011.

At some point it would make sense for a team to see if Harden can stay healthy and effective as a full-time reliever, but that hasn’t happened yet and the Twins figure to give him an opportunity to win a spot in their rebuilt rotation. Don’t count on it happening, but for a no-risk minor-league deal he’s a decent flier to take.

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