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Cubs exercise 2009 club option for right-handed pitcher Rich Harden10/08/2008 2:35 PM ET
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs today announced the team has exercised the 2009 club contract option for right-handed pitcher Rich Harden. Harden, who turns 27 on November 30, combined to go 10-2 with a 2.07 ERA (34 ER/148.0 IP) in 25 starts for the Athletics and Cubs this season, his most starts since his career-high 31 outings in 2004. He set a career high with 181 strikeouts while his average of 11.0 strikeouts per nine innings and a .183 batting average against led all major league starters with at least 25 starts. Acquired from Oakland as part of a six-player trade on July 8, Harden went 5-1 with a 1.77 ERA (14 ER/71.0 IP) in 12 starts with the Cubs, as his .149 batting average against after the All-Star Break led all major league starters. Harden, who went unbeaten in his first 12 starts with Oakland, finished his campaign in similar fashion by going unbeaten in his final 10 starts with the Cubs. In addition to going unbeaten in his final 10 starts with the Cubs, Harden posted a 1.65 ERA in his first 10 starts as a Cub, the third-lowest ERA for any Cubs hurler in his first 10 starts. The only Cubs pitchers with a lower mark than Harden were Hippo Vaughn (1.23 ERA, 1913-14) and Hank Wyse (1.61 ERA, 1942-43). Harden is 41-20 with a 3.23 ERA (220 ER/612.2 IP) in 109 appearances (101 starts) in six major league seasons with Oakland (2003-08) and Chicago (2008). His .672 winning percentage is the fifth-highest mark among all active pitchers (minimum 50 decisions).
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