Harben allowed three hits and four walks and threw two wild pitches but did not allow a run. He struck out three and left after five innings with a no-decision.
Harben said he worked primarily off his sinking two-seam fastball and slider in Monday's start. He also features a changeup and curveball in his repertoire, but he said he didn't throw either pitch with regularity in the start.
"I threw a lot of sinkers tonight and had pretty good movement on my fastball," Harben said of his performance against the Vero Beach Rays. "I had a pretty decent slider. A combination of those two pitches and I was able to get some groundballs."
The Cubs acquired Harben from Minnesota for INF/OF Phil Nevin in 2006. That year, Harben was 4-9 with a 3.96 ERA in 29 appearances, including 22 starts, for Class AA New Britain of the Eastern League. He logged 120-plus innings.
Harben is hoping to make it back to Double-A some time in 2008.
"I wasn't real sure where I would be starting" coming into minor league camp, Harben said. "Starting down here is fine with me. Coming off surgery and everything, I don't have my best stuff yet. Once I get a little more consistency back and start getting my better stuff back, hopefully they'll move me back up."
IOWA 8, ALBURQUERQUE 4 (CLASS AAA)
At Des Moines, Iowa (2-3) plated seven runs in their first three innings and collected 10 hits. INF/OF Bobby Scales, whom the Cubs signed a minor league free agent last December, picked up his first start at third base and collected three hits, including a solo home run. Making his Triple-A debut, RHP Mark Holliman worked three innings and allowed two runs on four hits to go with five walks. He struck out four.
BIRMINGHAM 2, TENNESSEE 1 (CLASS AA)
At Birmingham, Ala., Tennessee (3-2) was held to three hits in the finale of a five-game set with the Barons. Third baseman Kyle Reynolds picked up two hits to lead the Smokies' offense. RHP Tanner Watson, who was signed as a minor league free agent by Chicago in January, made his first start in the Cubs' farm system and tossed six shutout innings, allowing just two hits in a no-decision. RHP Michael Cooper (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing the go-ahead run in the eighth inning.
DAYTONA 4, VERO BEACH 3 – 10 INNINGS (CLASS HIGH A)
At Vero Beach, Fla., Tony Thomas continued his hot start in the Florida State League with another two-hit showing. The second baseman and Cubs third-round pick in the 2007 draft finished 2-for-4 with a walk and has hit safely in his first five games of the season, recording four multi-hit games in the process. OF Jonathan Wyatt, DH Jim Adduci and OF Yusuf Carter also added two hits apiece for Daytona (3-2).
RHP Dumas Garcia (2-0) got the win for Daytona in relief, tossing two scoreless innings without allowing a hit. LHP Casey Lambert, the Cubs' sixth-round draft pick a year ago from Virginia, worked a perfect 10th inning for his first save of the season.
BELOIT 8, PEORIA 0 (CLASS A)
At Peoria, the Chiefs (2-3) committed seven errors – including four from shortstop Marwin Gonzalez – and were shutout in their home opener. OF's Cliff Andersen and Dylan Johnston recorded the only hits for Peoria. LHP Zach Ashwood (0-1), a 16th-round Cubs draft pick from Kansas in 2007, started and suffered the loss. He allowed one unearned run on two hits in 3 1/3 innings, striking out one batter.