A’s pitcher Rich Harden told reporters on Thursday that his stiff lat muscle was “coming along” and that he was “100 percent pain-free.”
Either he wasn’t telling the whole truth or the A’s are simply playing it extra careful with the oft-injured right-hander, because he has been shut down for another seven days.
The news comes from Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Harden was originally shut down by the Oakland coaching staff on February 15 after he complained of discomfort in the area of his right lat following a 10-pitch bullpen session. It’s early, and it’s still quite possible that Harden will be able to catch up with other Oakland pitchers by the time the regular season begins, but he can probably be ruled out of the competition for the club’s final rotation spot.
That gig will go to either Josh Outman or Brandon McCarthy, who have both looked good this spring and will now be a full two weeks ahead of Harden on the conditioning front.
Harden may have to settle for a long relief job if he wants to crack the Opening Day roster.
MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig‘s one-game suspension has been rescinded. Instead, he will make a charitable donation. The alternative “punishment” was agreed to by Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association.
Puig was suspended one game two weeks ago after flipping off some hecklers at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Puig showed remorse after the game, saying, “I stooped to their level.”
Entering Tuesday night’s action, Puig was batting .251/.331/.458 with 14 home runs and 41 RBI in 287 plate appearances.
Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre picked a good time to hit his 450th home run. With the game tied 1-1 in the top of the ninth inning, Beltre took the first pitch he saw from closer Cody Allen for a ride, sending it into the left field seats at Progressive Field to break the tie.
The Rangers would go on to win 2-1. Beltre finished 2-for-4. He now has 2,969 career hits, leaving him 31 shy of becoming the 31st member of the 3,000 hit club.
On the season, Beltre is hitting .303/.373/.562 with five home run sand 22 RBI in 102 plate appearances.