Rich Harden finally gets on track by dominating former team

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Apparently all he needed was a matchup against his former team (or maybe it was the punchless lineup), because Rich Harden turned in his first impressive start of the season Monday night in Oakland.
He shut out the A’s for seven innings, allowing just two hits while striking out nine and walking zero. In his previous five starts Harden had a ghastly 22/23 K/BB ratio in 23.2 innings, so favorable matchup or not it was a huge step in the right direction.
Harden is scheduled for another very favorable matchup against the Royals this weekend.

Cardinals shut down Carlos Martínez for two weeks due to shoulder issue

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.

Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”

Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.

Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.