ESPNews reports Oakland Athletics starter Rich Harden (shoulder) has been placed
on the 15-day disabled list. The move is retroactive to April 16.
This is Harden's fourth trip to the disabled list in his major league career. This marks the third consecutive season where he has spent time on the disabled list. Last season, Harden made only nine starts and was 4-0 with a 4.24 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 46 2/3 innings pitched. This season Harden was 1-1 with a 1.42 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in three starts.
Losing Harden is a major blow to the Athletics' starting rotation. When starting pitcher Barry Zito left to sign with the San Francisco Giants in the offseason, Harden became the undisputed ace of the staff. The Athletics are uncertain as to when starting pitcher Esteban Loaiza (shoulder, neck) will be able to return, so the loss of Harden turns an already thin starting rotation into a major concern for the team.
With Harden out, the Athletics will lean on starting pitcher Dan Haren to lead the starting rotation. Starting pitchers Joe Kennedy and Chad Gaudin will be relied upon more heavily to help pick up the slack now that Harden is out. Prospect starter Shane Komine is a potential candidate to fill a rotation hole. He is 1-2 with a 4.03 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings at Triple-A.
Harden's fantasy value obviously takes a hit due to his most recent injury. However, anyone who drafted him knew they were getting an injury prone starter. The injury doesn't appear to be too serious at this point, and he could come off the disabled list as soon as he is eligible to return.
For fantasy owners looking for a replacement, Gaudin might be a good option. So far this season, Gaudin has started four games and is 1-0 with a 1.85 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP. He has also struck out 20 batters in only 24 and 1/3 innings pitched. While he won't be able to completely make up for the loss of Harden, he could be a serviceable fill-in.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays starter James Shields, fresh off his 12-strikeout performance, is also a candidate to pick up. He's 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP with 28 strikeouts in as many innings.
About Mike Barner
Mike Barner has been a KFFL Hot Off The Wire Analyst and KFFL contributing writer since 2007.
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