What was your favorite Rich Harden as a part of the Minnesota Twins moment? The injury prone right-hander signed an off-season contract with the Twins, but will not go down in the record books as ever throwing a pitch for the organization in the majors. According to Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Harden asked for and was granted his release from the Twins organization on Sunday. Harden’s contract had contained an opt-out date of July 31, if he wasn’t placed on the 25-man roster by then. With Harden’s injury rehab not going as well as he planned, this move did not come as a surprise.
According to Twins’ assistant general manager Rob Antony, Harden told Antony he was done throwing live batting practice sessions because of ongoing shoulder pain. Harden, 31, had been throwing batting practice at the Twins’ complex in Fort Myers, Florida with the hopes of possibly pitching for the first time in the majors since September 25, 2011; unfortunately, that plan never materialized. When asked about Harden’s health, Antony stated that, “He’s had a lat muscle injury, a shoulder injury; he’s had a variety of things, he couldn’t get healthy.”
Antony said retirement was a distinct possibility for Harden; but for now, Harden will take a couple of months off from throwing to reassess his comeback chances. In my opinion, the writing should be on the wall for Harden and his career. Some players are simply unlucky and cannot keep their body’s healthy and Harden is one of those unfortunate players. The fact that he continues to attempt a comeback in the majors is a great story because Harden’s talents are obvious, but there comes a time when Harden must admit that enough is enough.
Harden, 31, posted career numbers of 59-38 with a 3.76 ERA over 10 seasons. After a promising start to his career in Oakland, however, he has been marred by injuries. Although it’d be great to see Harden get healthy and find his way onto a big-league roster, I think we have seen the last of Harden in professional baseball.