Tag: Josh Outman

MLB Spring Training 2011: Josh Outman Leading A’s Fifth Starter Competition

Nearly two years removed from season-ending Tommy John surgery that interrupted his very promising rookie season, Josh Outman is back on the mound for the Oakland Athletics in spring training, and it appears he is ready to pick up right where he left off.

In his first live action during a scrimmage game against his own teammates Outman looked like his old self pitching against his teammates.

While limited to only 20 pitches during the intra-squad game, Outman allowed only one hit on a Coco Crisp single up the middle. Pitching at only a 90 percent exertion level, Outman was reaching 92 MPH on the radar gun.

More importantly though, he is pitching completely pain-free.

“After everything he’s been through, it’s good to see him do that,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “His velocity was pretty good, and he had a pretty good changeup.”

During his rookie season in 2009, Outman posted a 4-1 record with a 3.48 ERA and a 7.1 K/9 ratio in 12 starts. This season Outman is trying to earn the fifth starter spot in the Oakland A’s extremely talented rotation.

Outman’s primary competition this spring, Rich Harden, has already suffered a setback giving Outman an increasing edge in the competition. While his velocity is down a little from where he was in 2009, Outman still is proving to be a very effective pitcher.

“If I can stay in the low 90s, that’s all I can really ask for,” Outman said. “Two years [since surgery] will be June, and they say that’s when your velocity comes back. Hopefully, by after the All-Star break, I can get back into the middle/upper 90s where I was able to get to.

“Even if I stay 90-93 right now, I can pitch with that and I can get people out with that. I’m happy.”

Unlike Harden, Outman has felt great all spring while showing off his surgically repaired elbow. 

“I feel pretty comfortable with my elbow [being] recovered and I’m ready to compete in games,” Outman said. “I’m not going to say I wasn’t a little nervous, just getting back out there and facing major league hitters again. As far as worrying about my health, I don’t have any issue with that.”

If both Harden and Outman emerge from spring training healthy the A’s will have six major league starters they can add to the roster (with Brandon McCarthy, Tyson Ross and Bobby Cramer also major league quality options).

Perhaps the only thing that didn’t look the Josh Outman of 2009—his socks.

The clubhouse attendant forgot to have Outman’s preferred green stir-ups available to him, prompting Outman to wear yellow knee-high socks with the green stir-up stripe dyed into the sock.

“I hadn’t done this in so long that they forgot to get me stirrups,” he said. “That’s why I’m wearing these Little League socks.”

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Rich Harden Hurt: Oakland Athletics’ 5th Starter Competition Down to 2 Already?

It feels like I’m having a flashback or experiencing déjà vu. Welcome back Rich Harden, to the disabled list that is.

Technically, Harden will not see the disabled list for his latest injury, at least not yet, but he did manage to strain his lat muscle during the first day of official spring training workouts for pitchers and catchers.

The injury, while it does not appear to be major, will set Harden back for a couple of weeks: “We’ll wait until he’s pain free,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “It’s estimated that would be two weeks.”

Harden does not seem too concerned about his most recent injury, stating that it reminds him of an injury he experienced during the 2008 season. He returned from that injury after a small stint on the disabled list and put together one of his best seasons, going 10-2 with a 2.07 ERA in a split season with Oakland and the Chicago Cubs.

“It’s frustrating,” Harden said of his current injury. “But I still feel like I can go out there and be healthy for the season after this.

“I can come back and pitch well, (but) I was excited to get going just because I was feeling so good.”

Harden spent the offseason working with A’s pitching coach Ron Romanick. The two worked on mechanics, fixing bad habits that Harden says he picked up after his trade from Oakland to the Chicago Cubs during the 2008 season. His work with Romanick has already included four bullpen sessions, so he won’t be too far behind schedule when he returns in approximately two weeks.

Speaking of his work with Romanick, Harden says: “Mechanically, I was feeling like I’m where I need to be. The ball was coming out real good.” 

Harden will still compete for a spot in the rotation when he returns to the mound, but in the mean time the attention will shift to two other starters returning from injury: Josh Outman and Harden’s Texas teammate Brandon McCarthy.

Outman hasn’t pitched since June 2009 after having Tommy John surgery, and Brandon McCarthy has struggled with shoulder injuries that kept him out all of last season. Technically also in the mix for the fifth starter spot are Tyson Ross and Bobby Cramer.

“I don’t think it changes anything,” A’s assistant general manager David Forst said. “We added depth in the offseason, and we still feel very comfortable with it.”

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

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