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Harden’s injury, and more …

OK readers, here’s your chance. Weekly excerpts of your comments will appear in the Sunday Times. The more you tell me what you think, the more the readers will get a chance to know what you think.

With that, let’s get to some thoughts on the A’s.

— Had an interesting discussion Friday with Marty Lurie, who does such a fine job on the A’s pregame shows and with his “Inside Baseball, Saturday Night” program. He says the A’s should do all they can to keep onto Rich Harden, no matter what. Arms like that, he said, are so rare that you have to hold onto them.

I’m not sure I agree.

To me, the absolute worst thing you can have in a player is unreliability, and unfortunately, Harden falls into that category. This issue with his back is yet another red flag, and it’s the reason it’s impossible to fall head over heels for this guy. Harden says it’s no biggie, but he lacks credibility in this area, because of his injury.

I say if he makes 10 or 12 healthy starts in a row, you have to look to move him.

Travis Buck will hit. I remember when Ben Grieve came off a stellar rookie season, and at the beginning of 1999 he suddenly couldn’t hit anymore (bottomed out at .131 on May 19). He eventually turned things around and finished with a pretty good season.

Buck has two things going over Grieve. One, he seems to have more fire than Grieve ever did (I remember waiting for Grieve for about an hour after one game while he finished playing a video baseball game. Outwardly he could’ve cared less about another loss and another oh-fer). Two, Buck seems to make adjustments quicker. Buck hit the ball hard Sunday, and his two hits last night should get him going.

— Keep an eye on Greg Smith tonight. Yet another guy who goes under the radar in a Billy Beane trade (in this case, the Dan Haren deal), who seems to have more upside than expected. He was very good during the spring, and he pitches with a quiet confidence that all the good one’s have.

rhurd