Harden to sit out rest of season

9/24/2009 - MLB Rich Harden Chicago Cubs + more

SAN FRANCISCO -- Rich Harden is done for the season.

The Chicago Cubs right-hander requested that he not pitch again this season, manager Lou Piniella said Thursday night before the game against the San Francisco Giants.

"He doesn't want to pitch and we respect his wishes," Piniella said. "I spoke with him briefly and he's not going to pitch any more. He's done a real nice job here and the staff has done a nice job of keeping him nice and healthy."

Harden, who has been limited to long toss after complaining of some arm fatigue, has struggled with high pitch counts and failed to make it past the fifth inning in his last four starts.

Eligible for free agency after the World Series, Harden lasted three innings last Wednesday night against the Milwaukee Brewers. He is 9-9 with a 4.09 ERA in 26 starts.

Harden said he was healthy and would have stayed in the rotation had the Cubs remained in contention for a playoff spot. He said it was a precautionary matter.

"We want to thank him for his contributions," Piniella said.

Harden has a career record of 50-29 with a 3.39 ERA since making his debut with the Oakland Athletics in 2003.

He's stayed healthy in Chicago, making 51 starts in his two years with the Cubs after being limited to a combined 13 starts in his last two years with the A's.

Harden has recorded 783 strikeouts in 753 2/3 innings.