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Rich Harden Takes On A.J. Burnett

(Sports Network) – There will likely be plenty of scouts in attendance on Saturday at Yankee Stadium when Rich Harden takes the hill in the second test of a three-game series against the New York Yankees.

With the non-waiver trade deadline looming next Sunday, Harden’s name has recently popped up in some trade speculation. In fact it could be some of the Yankees’ staff keeping a close eye on the oft-injured right-hander.

When healthy Harden has ace-type stuff, but staying on the field has been a problem throughout his career, as he has managed just 128 innings three times and has never gone over 200.

Harden has only appeared in three games this season after opening the year on the disabled list with a strained lat muscle. After splitting his first two starts Harden did not get a decision on Saturday against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, as he allowed three runs and four hits in seven innings of his team’s 4-3 win. He also struck out nine and saw his earned run average drop to 5.00.

“My three starts I’ve gotten hurt off my changeup,” said Harden, who threw 110 pitches. "I’ve left a few up, and it’s not the guys you want to leave it up to. That’s what has cost me.

Harden hasn’t pitched particularly well against the Yankees over the course of his career, going just 1-3 with a 5.10 ERA in nine games, seven of which have been starts.

As a whole, the A’s have found New York a difficult opponent of late. They dropped their 11th consecutive game to the Yankees in Friday’s series opener.

The 17-7 drubbing was disappointingly highlighted by Trevor Cahill, who continued his struggles against the Yankees, allowing a career-high 10 runs over two-plus innings to remain winless in four career starts versus New York.

He became the first A’s pitcher to allow 10 earned runs since Gio Gonzalez surrendered 11 runs — all earned — on July 20, 2009, versus the Twins.

Jemile Weeks marked his return to the Oakland lineup with three hits and two RBI, while Cliff Pennington added a two-run homer.

In all, the A’s have dropped 13 of their last 14 games in Yankee Stadium, but they may be buoyed by a date with inconsistent right-hander A.J. Burnett, who is 8-7 with a 4.19 ERA. Burnett did not get a decision on Monday against Tampa Bay, as he gave up four runs (three earned) and eight hits with a season-high six walks in 5 1/3 innings of his team’s 5-4 win.

Burnett gave up two runs and three hits over seven innings to beat the A’s earlier in the year and owns a 5-3 lifetime mark against them with a 3.74 ERA.

Mark Teixeira belted a grand slam and Nick Swisher added a three-run homer for the Yankees last night. Recently returned from an eight-game road trip, the Yankees spotted Oakland an early 2-0 lead, but combined for 14 runs over the second and third innings.

Derek Jeter went 2-for-3 to move past Wade Boggs and into sole possession of 25th place on the all-time hits list with 3,012. Brandon Laird tallied his first major league hit and RBI.

Despite the hefty cushion, Phil Hughes failed to earn the win, surrendering seven runs on nine hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings. Hector Noesi (2-0) spelled Hughes with 3 2/3 innings of scoreless ball.