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Rich Harden is still trying

Feb 14, 2013, 11:00 AM EDT

Rich Harden AP

Spring brings optimism. Sometimes so much optimism that you believe crazy, irrational things. Things like Rich Harden pitching in the majors this year.  As you’ll recall, he signed a minor league deal with the Twins back in December and he’s giving it yet another go:

“It felt pretty good,” said Harden, who is trying to make the club as a non-roster invite. “It was fun. It was good to get back out there. I’m hoping it’ll feel the same when I start facing hitters. I threw mostly fastballs because I’m trying to get that feel back.”

Harden did not pitch at all in 2012. In the two years before that he posted a combined ERA of 5.36 in 35 games. He has pitched over 150 innings exactly once in his career, and that was in 2004. I would venture a guess that he has had more surgeries than wins over the past three years.

Which is sad, because there was a time when his promise and his stuff looked so, so good. Unfortunately his body is simply not built to withstand throwing the same pitches that his talents enable him to throw. It’s sad, and I hope his comeback is successful, but it’s very hard to see this ending well.

  1. unclemosesgreen - Feb 14, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    That’s why you saber-nerd-tronic statmunchers just don’t get it. Trotting out the old “surgeries-to-wins-ratio” or SWR% is totally unfair, and doesn’t capture the sheer grit and tenacity of a guy like Rich Harden.

  2. cur68 - Feb 14, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    Rich harden + Dustin McGowan = ” Unfortunately his body is simply not built to withstand throwing the same pitches that his talents enable him to throw.”

    -and that just sucks. Not only for them, but for baseball as well. Baseball’s always better when there’s some fresh faced fireballin’ whippersnapper eating hitters for lunch. Either of those guys could have been that pitcher but for injuries brought on by being a fireballin’ whippersnapper.

    Good luck this season, fellas.

  3. Jeremiah Graves - Feb 14, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    Those mid-2000s Athletics suffered something fierce. They had the glory days of Mulder/Hudson/Zito/Haren and then once those guys were either gone or on their way out they were looking to rely on some young studs that couldn’t stay healthy.

    It’s too bad, because between Harden, Duchscherer, and Street the A’s still had some deep pitching talent, they just couldn’t keep ’em on the field.

    • Tick - Feb 14, 2013 at 1:14 PM

      Yep. I’ll always feel bad for those guys. It’s always sad to see guys with huge talent that can’t stay healthy.

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