That was quick: Rich Harden is already injured

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Rich Harden got hurt before anyone could even set up the “when will Rich Harden get hurt” pool.

According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle the oft-injured right-hander “has stiffness in the lat area” and has been “shut down for a few weeks.”

Slusser reports that he tried to throw Tuesday, but called it quits after 10-15 pitches when the stiffness “didn’t improve immediately.”

Harden, who hasn’t thrown 150 innings in a season since 2004 and has had his incredibly promising career wrecked by one injury after another, returned to Oakland on an incentive-laden one-year deal worth just $1.5 million in guaranteed money.

He’s expected to compete for the fifth spot in the A’s rotation, but this injury could make a bullpen job more likely if/when he gets healthy. And ultimately that might be better for him anyway.

The Dodgers do not have a general manager, but they have an assistant general manager

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LAS VEGAS — Farhan Zaidi left his job as the general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers to become the president of baseball operations for the San Francisco Giants. While Dodgers president Andrew Friedman remains at the top of the baseball operations department, Zaidi’s departure has left the Dodgers without a general manager. It happens. It also happens that the Dodgers do not plan to replace Zaidi with a new general manager any time soon. They just said so last week.

They do, however, have an assistant general manager now. It’s Jeff Kingston, late of the Seattle Mariners, where he served as Jerry Dipoto’s assistant. Now he is an assistant with no one, nominally, to assist. Seems like some sort of dividing by zero error, philosophically speaking, but we’ll just assume it’ll sort itself out.

Two less cosmic takeaways from this: 1. Kingston is an analytics guy who has typically advised the wheeler-dealer — Dipoto — so it’s fairly safe to assume he’ll do that in Los Angeles too; and 2. that a team is happy to proceed without a general manager should tell you where general managers, well, in general, stand in this age of title inflation in baseball front offices.

I imagine that, after some time in the organization, Kingston will be named the actual general manager with no real change in his duties, further underscoring that, in this day and age, the title of GM is like the value of a Zimbabwean dollar.