Twins interested in being home to Rich Harden’s comeback

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A few weeks ago Rich Harden announced that he was attempting a comeback after not playing in 2012 and now we know at least one team is interested in the oft-injured right-hander.

LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the Twins “have been in contact” with Harden’s agent and adds that “this one is heating up pretty quickly.”

Well, at least as quickly as someone almost surely signing a minor-league deal can heat up.

Harden hasn’t had an ERA below 5.00 since 2009 and even when pitching well he never stayed healthy, but if the price is low enough he’s not a bad flier at age 31. I’ve always wondered why, after so many injuries, Harden didn’t shift to the bullpen full time, but presumably the rotation-starved Twins would be looking at him as a starter.

Watch: Shohei Ohtani strikes out his first spring training batter

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Sure, spring training games don’t count toward anything “real,” but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy Angels’ star pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani mowing down his first big league competitors.

On Saturday, Ohtani took the mound against the Brewers for his first official outing in an Angels uniform. After allowing a leadoff double to Jonathan Villar, the 23-year-old righty settled down and issued a three-pitch strikeout to Nate Orf, his first of the spring.

It wasn’t the cleanest inning for the right-hander: the Brewers plated their first run on a walk, wild pitch and subsequent throwing error by catcher Martin Maldonado. Ohtani didn’t let things unravel further, however, and induced a pop-up for the second out before catching Brett Phillips looking on a called strike three to end the inning.

While the two-way phenom only lasted another two batters (a Keon Broxton dinger finished him off in the second), he’s already started to look like a formidable presence on the mound. Time will tell whether he can deliver at the plate as well — rumor has it he could feature in the Angels’ lineup as soon as Monday.