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Harden targeted as a reliever

We mentioned earlier this week that Rich Harden has drawn interest from a handful of clubs this offseason, including the Seattle Mariners, Colorado Rockies, Minnesota Twins, Arizona Diamondbacks, Tampa Bay Rays, Milwaukee Brewers and the New York Yankees. Harden spent his first six big league season in Oakland and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports Wednesday that the right-hander is a bullpen target of the Athletics. Harden, according to Jon Morosi, is being viewed by several clubs as a relief option, however, and Troy Renck of the Denver Post tweets that the Rockies are one of those teams. Pitching in relief may assist the right-hander in staying healthier than he has the past several years, but it would certainly cut into his potential earnings with such a role change. Harden could view it as a one-year avenue to reestablish his value. The 29-year-old has had arm problems that have cut into his velocity the past three years. He once sat in the 93-95 mph range with his fastball and averaged about 90 mph with the Rangers last season. Harden is from British Columbia and a season spent in a pitcher's park could pique his interest, making Seattle a viable option. The Mariners, who have a need for starting pitching, were in on Harden last winter before he took Texas' best offer. - Jason A. Churchill

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