Twins sign Rich Harden to a minor league contract

Twins sign Rich Harden to a minor league contract

Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN — The Minnesota Twins announced today that they have signed right-handed pitcher Rich Harden to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league Spring Training.

Harden, 31, missed all of 2012 with a right shoulder strain and underwent shoulder surgery to repair his right rotator cuff on January 31, 2012. He went 4-4 with a 5.12 ERA (82.2 IP, 47 ER), 91 strikeouts and 31 walks in 15 starts for the Oakland Athletics in 2011.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound right-hander ranks third in the majors since 2003 with a 9.20 strikeouts-per-nine innings pitched ratio (min. 900 innings) behind Tim Lincecum (9.76) and Clayton Kershaw (9.26). Harden was originally selected by the Athletics in the 17th round of the 2000 First-Year Player Draft out of Central Arizona College.

The Victoria, British Columbia native has a career record of 59-38 with a 3.76 ERA (928.1 IP, 388 ER), 949 strikeouts, 422 walks and two complete games in 170 appearances (160 starts) over part of nine seasons with the Athletics (2003-08, 2011), Chicago Cubs (2008-09) and Texas Rangers (2010).

In addition to Harden, the Twins have invited the following players to major league camp: right-handed pitchers Bryan Augenstein, Nick Blackburn, Deolis Guerra, Alex Meyer, Lester Oliveros and Anthony Slama; outfielders Brandon Boggs and Clete Thomas; infielders Jeff Clement, Chris Colabello, Ray Olmedo and Mark Sobolewski; and catchers Kyle Knudson, Danny Lehmann and Dan Rohlfing.

The Twins have also named Ehren Wassermann the pitching coach for the Gulf Coast League Twins.  Wassermann spent part of nine professional seasons with the Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Phillies organizations.  He spent 2012 as a pitching coach for the Windy City Thunderbolts of the Frontier League.

Lastly, left-handed pitcher Scott Diamond underwent a scope on his left elbow Tuesday to remove a bone chip, a procedure performed by Dr. David Altchek in New York.  Diamond will be ready for Spring Training 2013.