Rangers right-hander Rich Harden was activated from the 15-day disabled list on Saturday night and took the mound immediately against the Angels. Coming off a six-week stint on the disabled list and entering the outing with a 5.68 ERA and 1.68 WHIP, it wouldn’t have surprised anyone if he got shelled.
But he didn’t. Harden limited the Angels to five hits and one earned run over five innings while racking up three strikeouts and firing 62 of his 88 pitches for strikes. The Rangers won the game 2-1 and the 28-year-old moved to 4-3 on the year. He talked to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Anthony Andro afterward.
“It felt good. It’s been a long wait, just thinking about getting out
there. It’s not a good feeling not being able to pitch and not being
able to help your team out. I really wanted to go out and be aggressive
and put the ball in play.”
Harden had a brutal start to the 2010 season including a 5.68 ERA over five starts in May and a 7.31 ERA over three starts in June. But ask any American League hitter — or just check the stats — and you’ll find that Harden is regarded as one of the nastiest starters in the game. He employs a fastball-changeup combination that can be lethal and his 9.21 career strikeouts-per-nine innings rate is exceptional. He’s going to play a major role for the playoff-bound Rangers down the stretch, and possibly into October.
The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.
Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.
While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.