During his pregame session with reporters, a grumpy Lou set off the fire alarms by announcing that righty Rich Harden wouldn't start until next Wednesday or Thursday at St. Louis. Earlier, he indicated Harden could open the series at Busch Stadium next Tuesday.
From then on, the rest of the Cubs, including Harden, spent the rest of the pregame saying nothing is wrong with their prized pitcher's right shoulder, which had him on the DL earlier this year at Oakland.
"Didn't we talk about this yesterday?" Harden said.
Yes, indeed, we did. But Harden hasn't pitched since last Friday, and he'll go nearly two weeks between starts now.
On top of that, Lou made things sound mysterious beforehand. "He needed the time," Lou said. "Obviously, if he could pitch, we would have kept him in the rotation."
Later, when pressed as to whether Harden came to him, Lou said: "He needed the time. We'll just leave it at that."
Harden said he felt fine. GM Jim Hendry said the plan all along was to handle Harden this way, even if it does mean holding him out nearly two weeks between starts.
On other fronts, Fukudome gets tonight off and tomorrow, too, as the Astros go with lefty Randy Wolf. All that and Big Z is pitching tonight.