One gets the feeling that this is put up or shut up time for Harden...while speculating about why Harden is up and starting now, rather than Derek Holland, it is worth remembering that a player doesn't HAVE to go on a rehab assignment. This is purely speculation on my part, but I have to wonder if Rich Harden, after his last outing, went Amy Winehouse on the Rangers...they wanted him to stay out on rehab, but he said no, no no.
If that's the case, the choice was to either activate him now and start him, let him sit on the disabled list, or release him. And if we see the Harden that has pitched for the Rangers most of 2010, I think Texas will go ahead and cut bait with him after tonight's start.
Meanwhile, Teagarden is going to be down just until rosters expand, and then will be back up as the third catcher.
The winner in all of this is Michael Kirkman, who responded very well to his first taste of major league action, striking out the first three batters he saw. Putting Feldman on the d.l. with his balky knee gives the chance to get a longer look at Kirkman in the major league bullpen.
Given that Darren Oliver has struggled in the second half of the season, and given that Matt Harrison has been very spotty all year, there's definitely the opportunity for a lefty specialist to force his way onto the postseason roster. And I think the Rangers are going to give Kirkman the next six weeks to show them that he deserves to be one of the 25 guys playing in October.