The Minnesota Twins have signed right-hander Rich Harden to a minor league contract, reports Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
#MNTwins sign RHP Rich Harden to a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training— Rhett Bollinger (@RhettBollinger) December 21, 2012
Harden’s agreement with the Twins includes an invitation to major league spring training.
Harden missed the entire 2012 season due to a shoulder strain. He underwent surgery on his rotator cuff in January. He offers the Twins a low-risk, high-reward pitcher to compete for a spot in their rotation.
Harden came up as a top prospect in the Oakland Athletics system and maintained an ERA of 3.65 over seven years with the club. He was then dealt to the Chicago Cubs for a bevy of prospects, including Josh Donaldson, Sean Gallagher, Matt Murton and Eric Patterson.
From 2009-11 Harden posted an ERA of 4.79 over 61 appearances with the Cubs, A’s and Texas Rangers.
The Twins entered the offseason with only one starting pitcher, left-hander Scott Diamond, penciled into their 2013 rotation. Since then, Minnesota has acquired several arms via trade and free agency.
The Twins dealt Ben Revere to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for Vance Worley and Trevor May, and they shipped Denard Span to the Washington Nationals for Alex Meyer. Minnesota also signed free agents Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey.