Harden sidelined by strained stomach muscle

Updated: May 15, 2005, 3:13 PM ET
Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Oakland right-hander Rich Harden went on the 15-day disabled list Sunday because of a strained stomach muscle.

Rich Harden
Starting Pitcher
Oakland Athletics
7 2 3 0 42 2.80

The Athletics recalled right-hander Seth Etherton from Triple-A Sacramento, and reliever Keiichi Yabu will take Harden's turn in the rotation Wednesday against Boston. The A's won't need a fifth starter again until May 28.

Harden, the No. 2 starter, is 2-3 with 42 strikeouts and a 2.80 ERA in seven starts this season. He went on the DL for the first time in his major league career with the same injury that has plagued Tim Hudson, the longtime A's starter who was traded to Atlanta in the offseason.

Harden was injured Friday while pitching in Oakland's 9-4 loss to the New York Yankees, and the DL assignment is retroactive. He left in the fourth inning after throwing two balls to Jorge Posada.

He will have an MRI exam on Monday, but the A's made the move to get immediate help for their beleaguered staff, which was further depleted in a 15-6 loss to the Yankees on Saturday. Starter Joe Blanton couldn't pitch out of the third inning, and Oakland exhausted its bullpen in its first two games against the Yankees.

Etherton was beaten out for the fifth spot in the A's rotation by Kirk Saarloos during spring training. He was 1-2 with a 2.76 ERA in Sacramento, making five starts.

"We needed another pitcher," manager Ken Macha said. "Even after the MRI, [Harden] probably has to have a number of days' rest."

Yabu, the A's 36-year-old rookie reliever, won 84 games as a starter during his 11-year career in Japan with the Hanshin Tigers. He is 2-0 with a 2.55 ERA in 11 appearances out of the bullpen.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press