I’m still not sure why Rich Harden is pitching against another team’s minor league affiliate, but I guess it is what it is. That being said, at least he had a good outing. Harden, in his first action since recovering from food poisoning, threw 63 pitches in 4 innings of work. He struck out 4 batters.
Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild had this to say: “I thought he threw the ball well. It came out of his hand the way he wanted. ”
Harden has taken a new approach to pitching given his past injury issues. “In the last couple years, I’ve learned to pace myself a little more. Velocity isn’t the most important thing. It’s location and change of speeds. It’s nice to be able to put up the big number every once in a while and keep it in the back of hitters’ minds. It’ll be there. I’m really happy with how I felt… I’m well ahead of where I normally am at this point in spring as far as how I feel, how strong I am, how I’m throwing the ball, where I’m throwing it with my command.”
Harden has been working on mixing up his pitched and changes speeds. He’s trying to pitch smarter and not try to overwhelm hitters at the plate. And although he was facing minor league players the other day, many batters were fooled by the movement on his pitches. Good news Cubs fans, but we’ll see how he fares in his last 2 starts before the season starts on April 6th. He is set to start the Saturday, April 4th game against the Yankees in the New Yankee Stadium, so that should be fun to watch. We’ll keep you posted with any update…