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After a couple of successful bullpen sessions, Chicago Cubs pitcher/injured guy Rich Harden is set to throw some more today. And then some more more next week.

Harden, who’s on a slow-and-cautious maintenance program for his troublesome right shoulder, got through a second session of throwing to hitters in batting practice Tuesday and is scheduled for a simulated game Friday, manager Lou Piniella said.

Let’s hope he avoids the simulated shoulder strain.

”And then he’ll be pitching the early part of next week,” Piniella said. ”With that schedule, assuming he stays on the schedule healthwise — and there’s no reason to assume he won’t — he’ll get six starts the rest of the spring. And that’s about perfect for him.”

Barring a setback, Harden would make his first regular-season start in the Cubs’ fourth game, April 10 in Milwaukee.

Sure, I’ll be happy if he can make it into a few Spring Training games to gear up, but if that April 10th game against the Brewers is the first game he pitches, it will be fine with me. That is to say, if it’s first game because the gearing up was unnecessary, not because he was so cripplingly hurt that he couldn’t pitch until then.

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