With spring training in full swing now, the Oakland A’s are readying themselves for the start of the regular season. Veterans are settling in, and rookies are proving their worth, but for Rich Harden, spring training has yet to start.
Harden, 29, has been sidelined for a couple weeks now after experiencing lat “stiffness” in February. The right-hander returned to Oakland this offseason on a one-year deal worth $1.5 million, and he figured to be in the running for Oakland’s vacant rotation spot.
Outman, 26, was a part of Oakland’s rotation in 2009, but has had his share of injuries as well. He hasn’t pitched since then, but he figures to be among the favorites to land the starting gig. Although, after two bad outings in a row this spring, other guys like Cramer might have a shot to prove themselves.
Cramer has thrown particularly well this spring, having only allowed a single run in his seven innings of work this spring. Outman meanwhile, has compiled an ERA over 11. Both should be regarded as serious candidates.
Harden, who threw from 120 feet on Tuesday (reports MLB.com’s Jane Lee), meanwhile, continues to fade from the competition. It’ll be next to impossible for Harden to make the rotation by the end of spring training. A long-reliever role should be expected for the hard-throwing righty, at least initially.
Harden has had success in the past with Oakland, and if he’s healthy, the A’s rotation could certainly use his services. Right now, however, Harden’s chances at making the rotation this spring are slim-to-none.