Rich Harden is quickly turning into the baseball version of Jason as he is a man who can not be put down. After sitting out since early in Spring Training, Oakland Athletics starter Rich Harden is tentatively scheduled to make a start for the A's on Friday against the Arizona Diamondbacks. According to Susan Slusser, the A's believe Graham Godfrey would be able to provide effective work as a long man while Harden is pitching well.
The decision comes as a little bit of a surprise, at least to me, given the limited work Harden has had in minor league rehab starts. He has made two appearances for the AAA Sacramento River Cats. In his first start against the Fresno Grizzlies he went three innings striking out six batters while throwing 42 pitches.. In his second start against the Reno Aces he went 4 2/3 innings giving up three runs on three hits and two walks while striking out six and throwing 72 pitches.
While many would have expected at least one more rehab start, the argument could be made that Harden was going to move up to 80-90 pitches anyway, so why not have it come up in Oakland. Since the A's will have Godfrey available in long relief, I'd imagine he'll be the first guy out of the bullpen if Harden falters in his return to Oakland. If the start holds up, Harden will face the Arizona Diamondbacks at the O.Co Coliseum.