Updating previous items, Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Aaron Harang (forearm) had negative results on his MRI exam and has been diagnosed with a strained forearm, reports the Dayton Daily News' Hal McCoy. The team will place him on the 15-day disabled list, according to Reds general manager Walt Jocketty, meaning he will be eligible to pitch July 24.
"That's great news on Aaron," said manager Dusty Baker. "This is what the doctor thought. Just a strained muscle. That's huge news. He was instructed not to pick up a ball for a week. Rest it. Treat it. Work out. Train. And come back smoking."
The team is looking for big things from him upon his return. He is just 3-11 with a 4.76 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP, but he does have 108 strikeouts in 123 innings. He hasn't fared as well as he did the past two seasons, when he won 16 games with an ERA about a run less than his current mark in each of those campaigns.
His last start was originally delayed from Sunday, July 6, to Tuesday, July 8, due to forearm stiffness. Harang walked a career-worst seven batters against the Chicago Cubs but claimed he was healthy. He felt stiffness again the next morning, though, and subsequent tests revealed that a DL stint was necessary.
Harang could miss a minimum of two turns in the rotation depending on when the team places him on the DL, and he won't throw for a week. His spot is being filled by prospect starting pitcher Homer Bailey, who will be recalled from Triple-A Louisville to make what would be Harang's next scheduled start Sunday, July 13, against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Bailey's star had been on the rise as a 2004 first-round pick in the MLB First-Year Player Draft, but he didn't fare well earlier this year when given a chance for big league time. Bailey went 0-3 with a 8.76 ERA and a 2.11 WHIP; he had a 5.76 ERA in nine major league starts last season. Bailey also has a 4-7 record with a 4.42 ERA in 16 starts at Louisville this year.
Owners should place Harang on a disabled list spot, if available, and wait for his return. He still has too much potential to be dropped in any format despite his disappointing ratios; his strikeout numbers are still among the best in the league. The All-Star break could provide both a physical and mental reprieve for the righty.
Bailey could be a replacement in NL-only formats, but he's risky considering his shaky big league career. He doesn't warrant consideration in mixed setups.
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