MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Minnesota Twins signed right-hander Rich Harden to a minor-league contract Friday with an invitation to compete for a spot on the staff in spring training.
The 31-year-old Harden sat out the 2012 season after surgery on Jan. 31 to repair the rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder, his latest setback in a long line of arm problems. Harden has the third-best strikeouts-per-nine-innings ratio in the majors since his debut with Oakland in 2003, behind only Tim Lincecum and Clayton Kershaw.
But Harden, after going 11-7 with a 3.99 ERA in 31 starts over 189 2-3 innings in his first full year in the majors in 2004, hasn't surpassed the 150-inning mark since. Between the A's and the Chicago Cubs in 2008, Harden finished 10-2 with a 2.07 ERA in 25 combined starts, posting 181 strikeouts in 148 innings. But he had a 5.58 ERA in 2010 with the Texas Rangers, accumulating only 92 innings and had a 5.12 ERA in 15 starts in his return to the A's in 2011. Harden has been hit by a number of injuries, but the shoulder has given him the most trouble.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Harden was a 17th-round draft pick in 2000 out of Central Arizona College. The native of Victoria, British Columbia, spent seven years with the A's. His career record is 59-38, with a 3.76 ERA and 949 strikeouts over 928 1-3 innings.
The Twins have acquired Vance Worley, Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey to join Scott Diamond in their rotation, which ranked last in the American League in ERA last season, but there's one open spot. If Harden can prove he's healthy and still effective, he'll have a chance to be the fifth starter. Returners Nick Blackburn, Samuel Deduno, Cole De Vries, Liam Hendriks and Esmerling Vasquez will also be in the mix this spring. The Twins will have 34 pitchers in camp.
The Twins also announced that Diamond had arthroscopic surgery Tuesday to remove a bone chip from his elbow. The team said he'll be ready for spring training.
D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton is prepared to bring a bill to Congress to buy the federal land that houses RFK Stadium in an effort to get a new facility built for the Washington football team.
As soon as the Redskins change their name.
"I certainly will. This is unused land. Unused Federal land. And the District can’t afford, because we have a height limit, to have any land go that goes unused. I couldn’t get this bill through even when Republicans controlled the House," Norton said Monday. "So I now believe I can get it through only after the name is changed for the good of the District of Columbia."
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Speaking exclusively with the Redskins Talk Podcast, Norton explained that a new stadium on the RFK site will make a tremendous economic impact for both the citizens of D.C. and for Redskins owner Dan Snyder.
"Everybody wants to come to the nation’s capital. Events benefit tremendously by coming to the nation’s capital," the congresswoman said. "But you’ve got to have a place to hold those events. There was only one place to hold those events. And [not having] that place has - for no good reason - cost all those involved, including the District of Columbia, but above all Dan Snyder, a boatload, indeed a fortune, in revenue.”
The Redskins haven't played in D.C. since the late 1990s and, coincidental or not, the team has experienced barely any postseason success in that same time period. Norton might not be the biggest football fan, but she knows what's good for Washington football fans.
"The time has come, it’s way overdue."
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Baseball is coming.
Major League Baseball announced its 2020 schedule on Monday evening, as each of the league's 30 clubs found out their 60-game slate for this year's pandemic-shortened season. For the Baltimore Orioles, that means an away date with the Boston Red Sox when the sport returns.
Baltimore will travel to Boston for a three-game series with rival Red Sox, starting on Friday, July 24, to begin its 2020 season. After a quick two-game series with the Miami Marlins following their weekend series in Boston, Baltimore returns home for an eight-game homestand beginning with the team's home opener on July 29 against Miami.
The Orioles are scheduled for a 10-game homestand from August 14-23, hosting series with the Washington Nationals, Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox.
However, the O's will head on the road for over a week immediately after, as Baltimore will play seven consecutive games away from Camden Yards from August 25-31.
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The New York Yankees, arguably Baltimore's toughest opponent this season, first come to Baltimore on August 3 for a three-game series. Baltimore will have an extended stay in New York from September 8-13, as they are scheduled for a two-game series with the Mets before a four-game set with the Yankees.
Baltimore's season will conclude with two road series, beginning in Boston from September 22-24 before traveling to Toronto from September 25-27.
You can see the full schedule below:
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