The perpetually injured Rich Harden is close to returning from his sixth trip to the DL in the last 4 seasons. Harden made his second rehab start for Class A in Stockton California last night, throwing 6 scoreless innings while striking out 9 and giving up 3 hits. Harden tossed 68 pitches, of which 52 were strikes — the typical filthiness I’ve come to expect from him (although he did bean a few batters).
In 2007, Harden lasted only 7 games and 25.2 innings before going on the DL for the season. So far in 2008, he’s pitched 11 innings in 2 games before going on the 15-day DL. Harden’s contract with the A’s ends after 2008 (they have an option for 2009), so perhaps he’ll step it up and remain healthy with his contract in limbo after this season. Or if past performance is an estimation of what to expect, Harden might just be getting ready to head to the DL for the rest of 2008.