According to a report issued by the San Francisco Chronicle, Rich Harden will miss the entire 2012 season. Harden, 30, underwent surgery to repair a torn right shoulder capsule. According to the report, it is the same type of injury that caused Dallas Braden to get surgery last year.
Even more alarming, though, is the fact that Harden has pitched with the torn capsule for four years. The injury resulted in more than a few side-effects. For the past few seasons, Harden has seen his velocity drop and his overall health has been in question. According to Susan Slusser’s report, the former A’s starter suffered the torn capsule during the 2007 season, but he did not receive surgery to repair the torn capsule.
Instead, Harden tweaked his pitching mechanics as a way of coping with the injury the following season in 2008. The results were impressive. Harden went 10-2 with a 2.07 ERA in 25 starts and 148.0 innings while splitting time between Oakland and the Chicago Cubs. After that season, however, Harden’s numbers looked a little less impressive.
He went 9-9 with a 4.09 ERA in 26 starts the following year with the Cubs. The next year, Harden spent a season with the Texas Rangers. In just 20 appearances (18 starts), Harden went 5-5 with a 5.58 ERA over 92.0 innings. Moreover, Harden’s K/9 rate dropped from 10.91 to 7.34 in 2010. His BB/9 rate also suffered, jumping from 4.28 in ’09 to 6.07 in ’10 with the Rangers.
Still, drops in his velocity, questions over his health, and problems with his command were not enough to deter the A’s from signing the oft-injured pitcher last year. The A’s didn’t invest much money in Harden and didn’t get much in return for their $1 million or so investment either.
Harden made just 15 starts last year for the A’s, going 4-4 with a 5.12 ERA. His strikeout rate improved to 9.91 last year, but he continued to suffer from the long ball. Harden was torched for 17 home runs last year. Overall, Harden’s 2011 campaign was filled with mixed-results.
Many think Harden would be better suited in the bullpen. Others feel Harden’s once promising career is over, thanks in large part to various injuries that have taken a toll on the right-hander.
He’s hopeful, though, that the surgery will help him continue his career. He’s even open to a return to Oakland. Would Oakland be open to having Harden back in 2013?
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