Notes: In a word, Harden 'normal'

Notes: Harden's MRI a relief

OAKLAND -- The A's have three projected regulars on the disabled list in Mark Kotsay (back), Dan Johnson (hip) and Esteban Loaiza (neck), and one of their most complete players, Milton Bradley (hamstring), hasn't played in a week and might be headed for the DL himself.

But Team Broken got a rare and welcome dash of good medical news Tuesday in the form of the results from an MRI scan done Monday on the right shoulder of righty Rich Harden, who left Sunday's game with tightness in the area.

It showed "nothing major," said A's manager Bob Geren, who added that Harden is more likely to have his next start pushed back rather than skipped. "That's very positive news."

As for what "nothing major" means, exactly, nobody's quite sure -- or willing to divulge. A provision in the new collective bargaining agreement forbids athletics trainers and doctors from discussing individual injuries with reporters unless the player concerned signs a waiver allowing it, and the A's are among the many teams that haven't yet asked any of their injured players to open those lines of communication. Thus, the "Daily Davis" -- head athletic trainer Larry Davis, in recent years, typically made himself available to the media during batting practice -- is a thing of the past.

So Kotsay, for instance, was left to try to explain his microdiscectomy surgery, during which a portion of a herniated disk was removed from his lower back, knocking him out of action for up to three months.

Harden, who made two trips to the DL in 2005 and 2006 and was hounded with health-related queries this spring, wasn't much for talking about his condition before or after batting practice Tuesday. So Geren was left to fill in the blanks the best he could.

Asked if "nothing major" meant there was "something minor," he shrugged.

"I guess it was just normal," Geren said. "Larry didn't tell me exactly how to explain it."

Geren did explain the three Harden-related scenarios he's discussed with pitching coach Curt Young.

"One is that he won't miss a day," said the skipper. "Two is that we push [his next start] back a day. Three is that we push him back three days. ... We're gonna leave it up to how he feels. You always want to err on [the side of] caution, but if he feels great, he's in there whenever he's ready to go."

Harden is listed in Oakland's game notes as the club's probable pitcher for Saturday in Texas.

Decision looming: Nobody will ever accuse Geren of not trying to provide accurate information about his club's health. When asked about the status of Bradley, who hasn't played since tweaking his left hamstring on the bases April 10 against the White Sox, he excused himself from his daily pregame chat with the media to get an update from Davis and strength coach Clarence Cockrell.

Upon returning, Geren said Bradley had gone through a series of 30- and 50-yard sprints under Cockrell's supervision before batting practice.

"They said he felt a lot better, but he still isn't ready to play," Geren explained. "Coming in today, I knew there was a better chance than not that he would be ready to go."

Geren said Sunday that a decision on Bradley -- to DL, or not to DL -- could be made by general manager Billy Beane and assistant GM David Forst by Tuesday. Players can be placed on the DL retroactive to the date on which they last played as long as it's less than 10 days, so the A's will have to commit one way or another by Friday if Bradley remains inactive.

Dribblers: Second baseman Mark Ellis, who was hit on the left shoulder by a pitch Friday night and didn't play Saturday or Sunday, was back in the lineup after testing it in the indoor batting cage. ... To the delight of the many fans of his wild red hair, outfielder Bobby Kielty this spring said he was going to let it grow out all season. Alas, he arrived at the park Tuesday with one of the strangest mullets in history. Then, at some point between BP and the end of the game, Kielty shaved his head completely. ... Shortstop Bobby Crosby has a new look, too, but it's actually an old look for him. Gone is are the curly Justin Timberlake-as-a-Mousketeer locks, replaced by a freshly shaved dome. "It was just time," he said. "Less of a hassle." ... With the Yankees in town last weekend, Geren was frequently asked about the comparisons being made between A's rookie outfielder Travis Buck and a younger version of New York slugger Jason Giambi, who came up with the A's. "I heard it so much, I've called Travis 'Jason' twice now," said Geren, who wasn't the only one a little out of sync Tuesday. A reporter prefaced a question with "Ken" before Geren cut him off and corrected him. ... Longtime ABC7 sports director and weekday sports anchor Martin Wyatt, who grew up in Vallejo, Calif., will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Wednesday's game. Wyatt retired on Jan. 31 after almost 25 years at KGO. ... Several members of the Angels, while stretching on the field as the A's wrapped up batting practice, took a turn at showing A's infielder Marco Scutaro their impression of Scutaro's giddy dash around the bases Sunday after his walkoff three-run homer off Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. Orlando Cabrera's version, which looked like a 5-year-old sprinting to the cotton-candy booth at a county fair, was blue-ribbon material.

Up next: Dan Haren (0-2, 2.00 ERA) will start Wednesday opposite Angels righty John Lackey (2-1, 2.04 ERA) in the series finale. The first pitch is scheduled for 12:35 p.m. PT.

Mychael Urban is a national writer for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.