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2012 MLB Free Agency: Former Cubs RHP Rich Harden Pitched With Shoulder Tear

The latest news on the 2012 MLB free agency front is that former starting pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, right-hander Rich Harden, has undergone shoulder surgery and will miss the 2012 MLB season. In a recent interview, the free agent confessed his injury problems began in 2007 when he tore his right shoulder capsule, according Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, while unsuccessfully trying to field a ball in early 2007:

"If you look at those injuries, [the April 15, 2007, game against the Yankees is] 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."

Harden came to the Chicago Cubs in 2008 in a July trade that sent Sean Gallagher, Matt Murton, and others to the Oakland Athletics. In his season and a half with the Cubs, Harden pitched 212 innings, sporting a 3.31 ERA. He started only 26 games in 2009, his only full season with the Cubs, missing 38 days with a shoulder strain.

According to Harden, he pitched both Cubs seasons with his shoulder injury. World famous shoulder doctor, Dr. James Andrews, performed the surgery, but was shocked at how long Harden had played with the damage:

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

Harden is apparently open to pitching in relief in 2013, which he did briefly in 2010 with the Texas Rangers.

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