Rich Harden is between injuries again

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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.

Report: Orioles interested in Lance Lynn

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The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.

Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.

Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.