Harden shut down with lat strain

The A’s received their first taste of bad news Thursday when manager Bob Geren announced that right-hander Rich Harden, who has tackled multiple injuries over the last few years, has been shut down for at least a couple of weeks because of stiffness in the lat area of his pitching arm.

Harden, who first endured pain during his 40-pitch bullpen session Tuesday, said it’s the same strain he experienced at the beginning of the 2008 season. He rushed the rehab then, which resulted in a rather lengthy healing process. Still, he went on to make 25 starts that year with a 2.07 ERA. That comeback has him feeling optimistic about his chances of returning sooner than later and remaining a candidate for the fifth starter spot. He knows this setback could affect those chances, but admitted “it’s out of my hands.”

“Obviously with the year I had last year, it was
even more exciting coming into this season, working with Ron [Romanick] and feeling good,
feeling how I was that year,” Harden said. “That’s the best I’ve felt.”

The good news is that Harden was essentially ahead of schedule this spring, so he believes he can catch up when healthy. Tuesday marked his fourth bullpen session, and he felt like he was in great shape. The A’s aren’t rushing his return, and he won’t throw again until he’s “pain-free,” according to Geren.

More to come on MLB.com.

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