Rich Harden threw 40 pitches in a simulated game yesterday and afterward manager Bob Melvin told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that the oft-injured right-hander “looks terrific to me.”
In fairness to Melvin, he’s new in Oakland and hasn’t been through the usual routine with Harden and his never-ending injuries.
Slusser reports that Harden is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment for his current shoulder problems Monday at Triple-A. Previously there was some thought given to moving him to the bullpen in an effort to keep him healthy for once, but general manager Billy Beane told Slusser that Harden will be used as a starter thanks to injuries wrecking the A’s rotation.
He hasn’t pitched in the majors since last September and had a 5.58 ERA with a terrible 75/62 K/BB ratio in 92 innings for the Rangers last season.
The Rangers got a bit of a breather on Saturday after clinching the division lead during Friday night’s win. Naturally, it was also a prime opportunity for another of Adrian Beltre‘s well-documented antics, as he spent his off day directing the Rangers’ infield defense with a series of signs. Even with Carlos Beltran‘s help, no one, least of all those playing the infield, appeared to have any idea what Beltre’s gestures were intended to convey.
You can add this to the list of in-game oddities Beltre has become so well-known for over the years, running the gamut from the way he kicked a ball over the foul line to his histrionics every time someone comes close to touching his head. If nothing else, it’s a convincing audition reel for the third baseman’s future in major league coaching — a career path that, I’d imagine, would end up looking something like this:
Royals’ right-hander Yordano Ventura was pulled in the fifth inning of Saturday’s matinee against the Tigers with an apparent injury. After throwing four pitches to start the fifth and serving up a Justin Upton double, Ventura was visited on the mound by head trainer Nick Kenney. Per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, he’s day-to-day with back spasms and lower back tightness.
It’s just another bump in the road for the defending champions, who currently sit 6.5 games back of a postseason spot with seven left to play. Through 176 innings in 2016, Ventura posted a 4.35 ERA and 1.2 fWAR, a considerable downgrade from the 4.08 ERA and 2.7 fWAR he contributed during last season’s championship year despite a moderate bounce-back in the second half.
Prior to his early exit from Saturday’s game, Ventura went four innings for the Royals, giving up three runs on 10 hits and two walks and striking out six of 24 batters faced.