Call him Rich "Red Light" Harden if you like, whether it's for his health rating or for what he does to opposing batting averages (but hopefully not for the district he visits in Amsterdam). Harden takes the mound today for the A's against the Chicago Cubs, all of whose starters are on a strict pitch limit of 147, no exceptions.
On the plus side, Jason Kendall enters today's game with a streak of three consecutive 2-hit games, while Freddie Bynum, after going 1/2 yesterday, is still holding strong at .386. On the flip side, Eric Chavez, who had the day off yesterday, has cooled off recently following a red-hot start, and Antonio Perez was too dizzy to play yesterday after fouling a ball off his face in Thursday's game.
But the big news, literally, is that Frank Thomas has been cleared to play in Cactus League games. Thomas will most likely debut tomorrow, and from there the A's will take things, again literally, step by step.
The starting lineup for this split-squad game features the return of a couple banged up players: