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 Rich Harden has shoulder surgery, done for 2012
Posted: Feb 9 2012, 01:57 PM


Group: Admin
Posts: 2,967
Member No.: 1
Joined: 14-December 08

Harden has surgery on shoulder he hurt in 2007

Susan Slusser
Wednesday, February 8, 2012

For more than four years, Rich Harden pitched with a torn right shoulder capsule. That's the same injury that has put Johan Santana's career on hold, and that caused Dallas Braden to get surgery last summer.

In Harden's case, the injury caused a significant drop in velocity, and led to numerous other physical problems as he compensated for pitching with an unstable shoulder. So last week, Harden, 30, decided to have his shoulder repaired, though there were some offers for the free-agent starter (most recently for the A's) this winter.

Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery in Pensacola, Fla., and Harden said he will miss the entire 2012 season, but he plans to pitch in the majors next year.

"There's no reason, if I work hard, I can't get back to where I was before," Harden told The Chronicle on Wednesday.

Harden knows precisely when he incurred the injury, which he hasn't discussed publicly: He tore the capsule trying to field a comebacker with his bare hand on April 15, 2007, pitching for the A's against the Yankees.

Since then, his teams have been aware of the injury but it was not revealed because of medical privacy laws.

In order to cope with the problem, Harden completely revamped his mechanics after the 2007 season, working with former A's pitching coach Ron Romanick, and he was able to put together a strong 2008 despite limited starts, going 10-2 with a 2.07 ERA.

After that, however, smaller injuries began to pile up and Harden increasingly was unable to find consistency with his arm slot, his location, his feel, everything. A hockey player in his youth, Harden was unwilling to reveal the true source of his drop in velocity, his lessened effectiveness and his many injuries.

"If you look at those injuries, that's definitely where they came from," Harden said. "Yes, I've been injured a lot, but nobody really knew what I'd been dealing with for five years. Every day, just to play catch, I had to re-train my body to throw. I was pushing the ball. I'd start the game throwing 86-87 mph and that was max effort."

A's left-hander Braden had arthroscopic surgery to repair his shoulder, but Harden required the full invasive procedure.

"Dr. Andrews sounded pretty surprised when he got in there about how I made it this long without surgery," Harden said.

Harden says he'd like to try pitching in relief, and he'd be open to returning to Oakland.

"I've always made it known how much I like playing here," he said. "We'll see what comes up."

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