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Updated: December 21st, 2012 9:56am
Twins to take flyer on oft-injured, former flame-thrower Rich Harden

Twins to take flyer on oft-injured, former flame-thrower Rich Harden

by Phil Mackey
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The Minnesota Twins will take a flyer on the oft-injured Rich Harden.

The team announced Friday they have signed Harden to a minor league deal with an invite to major league camp.

Harden, 31, missed all of 2012 after undergoing shoulder surgery in February. Early in his career, Harden was one of the most promising young flamethrowers in the game, but multiple shoulder injuries have derailed him.

The right-hander owns a 3.76 career ERA with 949 strikeouts in 928 1/3 innings, but he hasn't pitched more than 92 innings in a season since 2009 with the Chicago Cubs. He hasn't pitched more than 128 innings in a season since 2004.

Harden's average fastball was clocked above 94 mph in 2004 and 2005 with the Oakland Athletics. That dipped into the low-90's in 2010 and 2011.

Barring a move to the bullpen, Harden will likely be given a chance to compete for the No. 5 starter slot behind Vance Worley, Scott Diamond, Mike Pelfrey and Kevin Correia.

The Twins also announced Diamond underwent minor surgery on Tuesday to remove a bone chip from his elbow. He is expected to be ready in time for spring training.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
In this story: Scott Diamond