07/30/2011 11:33 EDT | Updated 09/29/2011 05:12 EDT

Person familiar with deal says Athletics are near deal that sends Harden to Red Sox

OAKLAND, Calif. - The Oakland Athletics were working Saturday night to finalize a trade that would send right-hander Victoria's Rich Harden to the Boston Red Sox for Triple-A first baseman Lars Anderson and a player to be named, a person with knowledge of the negotiations said.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the swap has not been completed. Neither team had made a formal announcement ahead of Sunday's 4 p.m. EDT non-waiver trade deadline.

"I've heard the story, but I have nothing to report," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said after his team's 10-2 win over the White Sox in Chicago on Saturday.

The oft-injured Harden is 2-1 with a 4.30 earned-run average in five starts since coming off the 60-day disabled on July 1. He will help bolster the Red Sox rotation with Clay Buchholz on the disabled list.

The 29-year-old Harden has been eager to prove himself again after so many injury-shortened seasons, including missing the first three months of this year with an injury behind his pitching shoulder. When healthy, he can be as dominant as many of baseball's top pitchers — but that has been his biggest problem in recent years.

Harden received a US$1.5 million, one-year contract in December to rejoin Oakland, the team that drafted him in the 17th round in 2000. Harden went 5-5 with a 5.58 ERA in 20 appearances and 18 starts for the Texas Rangers last season, when he struggled with injuries and control. After beginning the season as the Rangers' No. 2 starter, he walked 62 batters in 92 innings.

Harden spent two stints on the disabled list in 2010, first from June 12-July 30 with a strained left gluteal muscle and later with right shoulder tendinitis. Texas released him after the regular season.

Harden went 1-2 with a 2.45 ERA in only 25 2-3 innings in 2007 because of an inflamed right shoulder, and didn't pitch after July 7 that year. He threw two simulated games late in the season with the hopes of making two final starts, but ultimately decided it wasn't worth risking further injury.

He was 4-0 in nine games in 2006, spending time on the disabled list with a strained back and then a strained elbow ligament.

Harden gave up three hits and two runs over six innings in a start against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday, when he retired the first nine batters and didn't allow a hit until Ben Zobrist's leadoff single in the fifth.

Harden retired the next two batters and finished with seven strikeouts and two walks. He left with a 5-2 lead but wound up with a no-decision after the meltdown by the bullpen.

Anderson was hitting .261 with 10 homers and 57 RBIs for Triple-A Pawtcuket in 376 at-bats.