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.

Alex Wood to try pitching out of the stretch

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Pedro Moura of The Athletic reports that Dodgers starter Alex Wood plans to pitch out of the stretch throughout the 2018 season. Wood got the idea when he watched Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg pitch against the Dodgers.

Wood, 27, finished last season 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA and a 151/38 K/BB ratio in 152 1/3 innings. That’s a mighty fine season, one in which many pitchers would not dare to mess with something that isn’t broken.

Interestingly, Wood indeed has had better results with runners on base — when he would pitch out of the stretch — as opposed to the bases being empty, with a respective OPS allowed of .523 versus .684, respectively. Over his career, he has allowed a .617 OPS with runners on and .706 with the bases empty.

In response to Moura’s tweet about Wood, retired pitchers Dan Haren and Jered Weaver took the opportunity to burn themselves. Haren tweeted, “I pitched a few seasons completely out of the stretch actually, just not by choice.” Weaver responded, “Sometimes I would just step off and throw the ball in the gap myself because I knew the hitter would do it anyways.”