Latest injury Harden to handle

by Tim Piotrowski on April 10, 2008 @ 06:55:38 PDT


ESPNews reports the Oakland Athletics have placed starting pitcher Rich Harden (shoulder, back) on the 15-day disabled list.

This current injury is just another in a line of injuries that have plagued him the last two plus seasons. He was off to a very nice start this season at 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA in two starts with 15 strikeouts and seven walks. Opposing batters were only hitting .184 against Harden in those two games. He was able to pitch throughout spring training, giving the Athletics and fantasy owners hope for the season. Now, he has injured his subscapularis muscle, which runs from underneath the shoulder blade to the upper arm.

Shoulder troubles also derailed his season last year, allowing him to pitch in seven games and start four games. Despite the limited pitching opportunities, he was able to put up decent numbers in 2007, finishing the season 1-2 with a 2.45 ERA. The right-hander held opposing batters to a .202 average. His 2006 season was not much better because of elbow and back injuries; he only was able to start nine games that season. He finished that season with a 4-0 record and a 4.24 ERA. He struck out 49 batters in 46 2/3 innings that season. The 2005 season was the last time he was able to start more than 10 games.

From a fantasy perspective, it is not known how long Harden will be out of the lineup; owners should put him in a DL spot for as long as they can. When he is healthy, Harden is a great commodity for fantasy owners because of how dominant he could be.

Pitcher Lenny DiNardo will likely take his place in the rotation as long as he is not needed out of the bullpen. The Athletics also called up pitcher Joey Devine from Triple-A Sacramento to fill Harden's place on the roster, but he initially is expected to work from the bullpen.

DiNardo has not seen much action this season, pitching only one-third of an inning in two appearances with a 54.00 ERA. He has given up two runs on four hits in his efforts. DiNardo started 20 games in 2007 and had 35 appearances during the season. He finished the year with an 8-10 record and a 4.11 ERA. Opposing hitters had a .278 batting average against him last year.

Neither pitcher has significant fantasy value, so there is no need to pick them up in either mixed leagues or AL-only leagues. Harden owners should expect to find more solid and stable starter options on the waiver wire.

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About Tim Piotrowski

Piotrowski has been a Hot Off the Wire analyst since 2007.

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