That was quick: Rich Harden is already injured

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Rich Harden got hurt before anyone could even set up the “when will Rich Harden get hurt” pool.

According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle the oft-injured right-hander “has stiffness in the lat area” and has been “shut down for a few weeks.”

Slusser reports that he tried to throw Tuesday, but called it quits after 10-15 pitches when the stiffness “didn’t improve immediately.”

Harden, who hasn’t thrown 150 innings in a season since 2004 and has had his incredibly promising career wrecked by one injury after another, returned to Oakland on an incentive-laden one-year deal worth just $1.5 million in guaranteed money.

He’s expected to compete for the fifth spot in the A’s rotation, but this injury could make a bullpen job more likely if/when he gets healthy. And ultimately that might be better for him anyway.

Melvin Upton released by the Giants

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Jon Heyman reports that the Giants have released outfielder Melvin Upton. He requested his release.

Upton, who turned 33 yesterday, signed with San Francisco in early April after the Blue Jays released him. It was a minor league deal. After recovering from a rash of minor injuries, Upton batted .244/.306/.333 in 12 games at Triple-A Sacramento. There was no indication that the Giants were going to call him up. I presume that, back when they signed him, they figured they’d be contending and could maybe use a veteran bat. That’s obviously not the case anymore.

I suppose it’s possible that someone gives Upton a look when rosters expand in eight days, but I figure it’s more likely that we’ll next see him as he fights to make a team on a minor league deal next spring.

Carlos Santana left last night’s game with back tightness

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Andrew Miller leaving last night’s Indians-Red Sox game got all the press, but the Indians lost another key player in the game as well: Carlos Santana. He was forced to leave after going 0-for-3. There was no followup announcement after the game, so he’s likely being reevaluated.

Santana is hitting .250/.355/.446 on the year, but he’s been pretty hot of late, hitting .375 with a couple of homers in the past week.