Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Baseball [Print without images]

Saturday, July 30, 2011
Updated: July 31, 7:41 PM ET
Reports: Rich Harden deal falls through

ESPN.com news services

A trade that had been in the works to send right-hander Rich Harden from the Oakland Athletics to the Boston Red Sox has reportedly fallen through.

Harden
Harden

A person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the private nature of such talks.

Harden said Saturday night he was told by general manager Billy Beane he was staying put and would start Tuesday. The clubs had been close to a swap that would have sent Harden to Beantown and brought Triple-A first baseman Lars Anderson and a player to be named later to the A's.

"I just spoke with Billy and he says I'm an 'A' and I'm starting on Tuesday in Seattle," Harden told reporters. "It's definitely a strange position to be in, but from what I hear I'm here and I'm staying here. I'm happy to be an 'A'. ... It's definitely a strange position to be in."

Harden has an injury history that includes 10 trips to the disabled list in his career -- but the Red Sox were well aware of that when they decided to make what appeared to be one of Theo Epstein's patented, low-risk, potentially high-reward deals. Still, once the Red Sox investigated his medical records Saturday night, they decided that Harden could not be counted upon, and asked the Athletics to make it a straight swap for Anderson, a major league source told ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes.

The Athletics said no, which did not surface publicly until after Oakland's game on the West Coast, when Harden told reporters, "The deal is dead."

Harden, 30, missed the first 82 games of this season with a strained latissimus dorsi muscle. But in the course of a big-league career that began in 2003, Harden has had disabling injuries to his shoulder, hip, back, trunk and elbow. He has a career record 57-35 over nine season with the A's, Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs.

Harden returned to Oakland's rotation in July and has made five starts, totaling 29 1/3 innings, with a 2-1 record and 4.30 ERA. His longest start came on July 16 against the Angels, when he went seven innings, striking out nine and walking two, in a 4-3 win.

In Anderson, the Red Sox would have given up a first baseman who seemed to have little future in Boston, given that his progress is blocked by Adrian Gonzalez, who has six years after this season remaining on his contract. Anderson is hitting .261 with 10 home runs and 57 RBIs for the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox.

Harden has $500,000 left on his $1.5 million, one-year contract.

"It's hard to just ignore (the rumors) but I know that a lot of times there's rumors and nothing ends up happening," Harden said. "You just have to push that in the back of your mind and try not to think about it too much."

ESPN.com's Jayson Stark and ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes contributed to this report. Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.