I’ll try to avoid the usual durability jokes and simply pass this news along, because Rich Harden has certainly had it rough enough.
The oft-injured right-hander has resumed throwing off a mound following two months on the sidelines with lat muscle soreness, but manager Bob Geren cautioned to Jane Lee of MLB.com that there’s no timetable for Harden to appear in a simulated game, let alone for him to actually come off the disabled list.
Harden, who has yet to pitch for the A’s after signing an incentive-laden one-year deal as a free agent, threw off a mound Sunday and yesterday, with Geren describing him as “free and easy.”
Normally this is where I’d make some snide comment but I’ll hold off, at least until Harden’s next setback.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.