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.
Angels DH Albert Pujols smacked his 597th career home run, a two-run shot in the top of the first inning during Wednesday night’s 5-2 loss to the Rays. The blast was off of Erasmo Ramirez and marked No. 6 on the season for the future Hall of Famer.
Pujols finished 1-for-3 with the homer and a walk. After Wednesday’s game, he’s hitting a lackluster .244/.296/.378 with 34 RBI and 14 runs scored in 186 trips to the plate.
Pujols currently ranks ninth on baseball’s all-time leaderboard and is three shy of joining the 600-homer club. He’s currently 13 home runs away from tying Sammy Sosa for eighth all-time.
Red Sox starter Chris Sale entered Wednesday’s outing against the Rangers with at least 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive starts, tying a record he already shared with Pedro Martinez. He failed do break the record, racking up only six strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. Fortunately, the Red Sox scored seven runs in the bottom of the seventh to put him in line for the win. Sale gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk.
After Wednesday’s outing, Sale is sitting on a 2.34 ERA with a 101/14 K/BB ratio in 73 innings. So far, so good for the Red Sox, who acquired Sale from the White Sox in December.
Sale previously racked up 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive games between May 23 and June 30 in 2015 with the White Sox. Pedro Martinez accomplished the feat for the Red Sox between August 19 and September 27 in 1999.