Rich Harden

Rich Harden feeling better, hoping to resume throwing soon

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To no one’s surprise, A’s pitcher Rich Harden came down with a bit of soreness in his right lat muscle last week after throwing 10-15 pitches in one of his first bullpen sessions of the spring.

The oft-injured starter hasn’t tallied over 150 innings in a season since 2004 and it seemed plausible that this early-spring injury might turn into something more. So far, though, everything is positive.

Harden told the Associated Press, via CSN Bay Area, on Thursday that he is no longer feeling discomfort in the area of his once-sore lat muscle.

He wants to get back on a mound soon, despite the A’s decision to shut him down for two whole weeks.

“It’s coming along,” Harden said Thursday.  “I want to get out there, but it’s on the trainers. I’m 100 percent pain-free.”

The A’s will probably play it safe with Harden given his injury history and keep him sidelined through all of next week, but it’s nice to hear that he is feeling better. The right-hander signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with Oakland this winter and is expected to compete for the final spot in the club’s starting rotation this spring.

Walt Weiss returning as Rockies manager in 2016

Walt Weiss
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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As first reported by FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Rockies have decided to bring back manager Walt Weiss for the 2016 season — the final year of a three-year deal he signed after his debut season in 2013.

Weiss carries a rough 208-278 managerial record through his first three years at the helm for Colorado, but it’s not like the rosters he’s been managing have been built to win.

The biggest need for the Rockies this winter is pitching — both starters and relievers — and general manager Jeff Bridich is also being retained for the 2016 season to try to find some.

Colorado’s starters and relievers combined for a 5.04 ERA in 2015, worst in MLB.

Colorado’s offense produced 737 runs, ranking fifth in the major leagues.

Astros flashing power early in AL Wild Card Game

Colby Rasmus
AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Houston got on the board first in Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game at Yankee Stadium when Colby Rasmus led off the top of the second inning with a solo home run to deep right field against Masahiro Tanaka.

It was the first career postseason homer for Rasmus, whose only other postseason experience came in 2009 with St. Louis. He slugged 25 home runs during the 2015 regular season and will be looking to cash in as a free agent whenever the Astros’ postseason runs come to an end. A big October (and perhaps early November) would obviously help that.

Tanaka retired the next two batters after the Rasmus bomb, but he gave up a single and two walks to load the bases before eventually inducing an inning-ending fielder’s choice groundout from Jose Altuve. Tanaka’s shakiness extended into the third and fourth innings, with Carlos Gomez adding a solo shot to left field in the top of the fourth.

Houston leads 2-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth. Astros starter Dallas Keuchel has looked sharp on three days of rest, tallying five strikeouts through four scoreless frames.