To the extent the comparisons haven’t already been made, they were inevitable.
Absurdly talented, hard-throwing, strike-out heavy, right-handed starting pitcher for the Cubs… who has arm trouble. Kerry Wood. Mark Prior. Rich Harden. This will be a theme for 2009. Get used to it.
All eyes are on Rich Harden this spring. So far, he hasn’t thrown off the mound; just long toss. He says he’s as strong as ever and looks forward to as many as 30 starts this year. Good. Great. We’ll see.
More after the jump.
The Cub Reporter has a nice write-up on Harden’s issues, and draws the obvious parallels to Wood and Prior.
To review, Harden had an MRI-Arthrogram in Oct 08, after his loss in game 3 of the NLDS, which is the best diagnostic exam short of an arthroscopic procedure. The post test information released to the press was that Harden had “subtle laxity” but no rotator cuff or labrum damage. The Cubs subsequently picked up Harden’s $7 Million option. Then during the January 09 Cubs Convention, GM Jim Hendry in discussing Harden said the word “tear” in describing Harden’s problem. Thus providing Wittenmyer and Miles eye-rolling material as to what is going on.
Having a non-full thickness rotator cuff tear (ala Kerry Wood) can be managed non-surgically and that’s what they are doing… including a spring training that will cast echos from the ghosts of springs past.
And thereafter a long examination of the aforementioned parallels. Worth a read, though I expect we’ll be hearing about it for a long, long time.