Cubs pick up the option on right-hander Hardin

CHICAGO Wed Oct 8, 2008 6:58pm EDT

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Rich Harden faces the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first inning during Game 3 of their MLB National League Divisional Series playoff baseball game in Los Angeles, October 4, 2008. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Rich Harden faces the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first inning during Game 3 of their MLB National League Divisional Series playoff baseball game in Los Angeles, October 4, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Danny Moloshok

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - The Chicago Cubs have picked up the $7 million option on right-hander Rich Harden for next season, the team said Wednesday.

Harden was 5-1 with a 1.77 ERA in 12 starts for the Cubs, who acquired the pitcher on July 8 from the Oakland Athletics.

He was 10-2 with a 2.07 ERA combined for the A's and Cubs this season and his 25 starts were the most he has had since his career-high 31 in 2004.

The 26-year-old pitcher had an MRI on Wednesday for rotator tendinitis in his right shoulder but will not need offseason surgery.

If Chicago had not picked up the option, the six-year major league veteran would have been eligible for arbitration.

(Writing by Steve Ginsburg in Washington, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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