PHOENIX (AP) -Right-hander Rich Harden threw about 38 pitches in his first bullpen session of the spring, feeling so good about his fastball and change-up sequences that he hopes to start incorporating breaking pitches in his next outing off the mound.
``The fastball-change, that's my go-to,'' Harden said Friday. ``I'm throwing both for strikes. I've done a little bit different throwing program and I feel like my command's a lot better at this point. I'm keeping the effort level down and keeping the ball down. I haven't made big changes. It's lot of repetition and smoothing some things out and being more consistent.''
Considering his bad luck with injuries in recent seasons, it was a nice first step - and all the A's top brass were there to watch.
``Very positive,'' pitching coach Curt Young said.
rts, but ultimately decided it wasn't worth risking further injury.
He was 4-0 in nine games in 2006, spending time on the disabled list with a strained back and then a strained elbow ligament.
Harden and new full-time catcher Kurt Suzuki started what they hope is a lot of productive work together this year. Because of Harden's injuries he's never thrown in a game to Suzuki, who played in 68 games last season as a rookie.
``It was awesome,'' Suzuki said of their workout together on a cool day in the desert. ``(He threw) nice and easy and wasn't trying to throw too hard. He looked like Rich Harden when he was healthy. If Rich Harden is healthy, we're going to be good.''
Harden and Suzuki already know each other pretty well and are quickly figuring out their timing.
``I like working with Kurt a lot,'' Harden said. ``I'm pretty excited about working with him. Being a young catcher, he'll only get better. He receives the ball really well. It's getting on the same page, that's the main thing.''
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