Harden Talks About Rehab Start

DES MOINES -- After being pushed back a day because of a battle with the stomach flu, Chicago Cubs right-hander Rich Harden made a rehab start for Class AAA Iowa Monday, recording six strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings of work.

Harden, who has been on the disabled list since late May with a mid-back strain, put forth a strong outing against the Round Rock Express, allowing one earned run, three hits and two walks. He left the game in the fifth inning with a 4-1 lead.

Harden was aided in the third with a four-run rally, which he contributed to with a walk and a run scored. In the fourth, he executed a sacrifice bunt to further his cause.

Iowa won the game, 10-3, as Harden received a no-decision.

Harden consistently threw in the mid to upper 80's throughout his four-plus innings and topped out at 91 mph. He threw 70 pitches, 44 strikes.

"It's different on the mound here just getting a little adrenaline going," Harden told reporters after the game. "I swear, the hardest I think I've ever thrown on a rehab was 93 [mph]."

Harden isn't planning on staying in Des Moines for long. He hopes to be starting for Chicago when the Cubs face the Minnesota Twins Saturday at Wrigley Field.

As far as Harden is concerned, he's 100 percent.

"I really wanted to get my pitch count up and get some work in. I'm ready to go." Harden said.

As for his parent club, Harden said he thinks it's only a matter of time before the Cubs start to click and put a string of wins together.

"Hopefully we'll hit a spot where we start to get on a roll and put everything together," Harden said. "It's like our pitching is there and our hitting isn't, or our hitting is there and our pitching isn't, and it's just (about) putting everything together."

Harden is ready to get back to Chicago, but said that Des Moines was an enjoyable experience for him.

"[Des Moines] isn't that small," Harden said. "Couple hundred thousand people. I grew up in Victoria, Canada, and that has a couple hundred thousand people, too. And I like the small-town feel. I love minor league towns. It's fun coming out to the baseball park and I've had fun."

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