- ISIL creates all-female brigade to terrorize women into following Sharia law
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Obama to Latin leaders: Help with border
- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
Dan Haren welcomes spring training struggles
Question of the Day
VIERA, Fla. — This is where Dan Haren wanted to be.
As warm wind rippled flags and carried the smart-mouthed bellows of a beer vendor, the Washington Nationals veteran stood on the mound at Space Coast Stadium on Tuesday afternoon and felt tired.
Not so fatigued that he’d drop to the dirt and provide another target for the sea gulls and crows gliding around the palm trees and half-full blue seats. No, Haren simply wanted a long inning to continue to build strength in his right arm in his second spring start. Endurance, he believes, comes from pushing through such situations.
“In spring training, if you do good, you feel great,” said Haren, who allowed one run and two hits over three innings as the Nationals beat the Houston Astros, 7-1. “If you do bad, you’re just working on stuff.”
The extra work, even a few pitches Tuesday against the Houston Astros, means more to Haren this spring with twice-daily visits to the training room and a routine designed to avoid repeating his injury-riddled 2012 campaign.
He managed to pitch through the maladies for 176 2/3 innings, but the Los Angeles Angels declined his option and he signed a one-year, $13 million deal with the Nationals to rebuild his value. He brings the upside of an ace, when healthy, to the back end of the rotation.
“I try not to dwell too much on the results of spring training because I don’t want to get too high or too low,” Haren said. “If I strike out 10 guys, great. What does it get me?”
The third and final inning of his start provided the test he sought after retiring the first six batters so quickly that the stroller-pushing families and businessmen skipping out of work early had barely settled into their seats. The Astros‘ light-hitting lineup managed two singles — Jose Altuve smacked one front-door cutter into left field to bring home the lone run — and a walk that frustrated Haren. He escaped the jam by coaxing Chris Carter to pop out to shortstop Ian Desmond.
If not for the extra pitches, manager Davey Johnson said, Haren would’ve gone back out for a fourth inning.
“I liked what I saw,” Johnson said.
Such is the nature of spring training, during which players like Haren are put in the unusual position of talking about needing a long inning, talk you’d never hear during the regular season.
“I was just working on things in the third inning,” Haren said.
He laughed again.
The extra work — Haren threw 50 pitches in the outing, 37 for strikes — gave him the chance to throw out of the stretch and continue to focus on pitching inside to right-handers. Haren kept his repertoire simple: fastballs and cutters that forced the Astros into a series of off-balance, awkward swings. He mixed in one curveball and a handful of split-fingered fastballs. That’s a pitch he expects to focus on in his next start.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- Declassified cables from Berlin Wall tell tale of drama, dare,
- Judge denies settlement motion in NFL concussion lawsuit
- Jay Gruden's long and winding road to Washington
- FENNO: Championship game provides an opportunity to listen to those who play
- FENNO: For Redskins, nonsensical is the new normal
Latest Blog Entries
By Mark Davis
The nation founders, the Lone Star State thrives
- Rahm Emanuel: Send illegal immigrant shelter kids to Chicago
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- CURL: Obama, staffers not even pretending any more
- Family of Marine killed in Afghanistan pushes back against cover-up
- Pentagon running out of time to find mass of missing weapons in Afghanistan
- Washington Times strikes content and marketing partnership with Redskins
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Obama family set to buy $4.25M desert home in California: report
- ORTEL: Note to Janet Yellen: The American bubble is popping
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq