Apparently many of Rich Harden's medical issues over the past few seasons have to do with the fact that some people in the A's organization were playing to his hockey sensibility of playing through the pain.
It's fascinating to see this happen this year too. Remember, Bobby Crosby did something similar last year.
Harden says the following in the Ratto piece:
He also claimed that, though he didn't worry about what most people say about his resume of fragility, he was and remains unhappy with "people in the organization" who doubted his resolve and accused him not pitching through pain.
"The whole year I had people in the organization telling me I'm fine, that I have to pitch with pain," he said, repeatedly declining to say who those people were. "I had people telling me that, and it's insulting. That's the frustrating thing. There's been some stuff that's been going on."
Then his voice trailed off, and he said, "I probably shouldn't say anything else."
Of course Harden doesn't name names, but this is pretty condemning. Harden continued in the article, saying the following:
"Every (injury) I've had, I've stayed out there," he said. "I will not pull myself or take myself out, and that's what hurt me in the past. I've tried to pitch through stuff and that's where these injuries have happened, and that's why I've spent more time on the DL.
"Without a doubt, 100 percent, that's what happened, and that's something that's frustrated me, because you get people in the organization questioning your ability to pitch with pain and they have no clue who I am or what I'm about. I don't like that. That's one thing that does frustrate me, when it's people in the organization who question me. When it's coming from our organization, that definitely fires me up."
Billy Beane denies that it happened. But even if it did happen on a lower level, say like a Larry Davis-level, I can't necessarily blame the A's for pushing Harden given his immense talent and what he brings to the team. When he's healthy, he's simply one of the best in the game. Course he hasn't been healthy in quite a while.
Harden is always the intriguing question mark coming into the season. If he is indeed 100 percent healthy for the first time in a long time, he would actually give the A's a good rotation with a true ace. But it's nice to want something. I just won't believe that Harden is ever going to be out on the mound for more than 10 starts in a season. I hope I'm wrong, but recent history tells me otherwise.