Harden's medical history thwarts Red Sox deal

Harden's medical history thwarts Red Sox deal
July 31, 2011, 1:46 pm
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By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
CHICAGO -- As quickly as it had been solved, the Red Sox' search for starting pitching depth was re-started early Sunday morning when the Red Sox pulled out of a trade that would have sent minor league first baseman Lars Anderson and a player to be named later to the Oakland A's for pitcher Rich Harden.

The Sox had been hopeful that Harden, known for his litany of arm injuries, could hold up long enough to give the Red Sox a few months of mostly quality starts.

Instead, Harden never got that far. Sources said the team canceled the deal when issues arose from Harden's medical records.

Harden has had multiple shoulder surgeries -- including major procedures performed in 2005 and again in 2009 -- which undoubtedly have left his pitching arm in less than pristine shape.

Harden's acquisition, brief as it was, capped a long day in which the team seemed to be losing options as it developed.

The poor performance of lefty Erik Bedard on Friday night in Seattle, in front of Red Sox scouts, soured the team on Bedard, but failed to lower the asking price for the veteran lefty.

Soon after, they learned that Los Angeles Dodgers' righty Hiroki Kuroda would not waive his no-trade clause. The Sox had been one of three teams -- including the Yankees -- who had expressed an interest in the 36-year-old pitcher.

Finally, Colorado's decision to send Ubaldo Jimenez to the Cleveland Indians for four players -- including two very highly-ranked prospects -- left the Sox in danger of striking out altogether for a starter.

The team has concerns about Clay Buchholz, who hasn't pitched since June 16 after experiencing lower back spasms for several weeks.

A seemingly positive mound session last Monday, his first in a month, yielded more concern mid-week, when the club mysteriously scrapped a follow-up mound session scheduled for Wednesday.

The Sox' decision to send Buchholz all the way to California for a consultation with noted back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins Monday also hints at a more serious condition.

The team's depth starters, led by Tim Wakefield and Andrew Miller, have performed well to date, but have shown signs of inconsistency lately. They've combined for just three wins since July 7.

Boston had planned to use Sunday to see if it could land some additional bullpen help with a focus on a reliever who could combat lefty hitters in the playoffs.

Now, instead, it will scramble in the final hours to find a starter to replace the one they thought they had landed Saturday evening.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam