July 27, 2010

Haren’s painful debut

by Dan Bilicki In: Baseball

Sure, Matt Garza may have thrown the fifth no-hitter of the season and first ever by the Tampa Bay franchise, but that’s not the story involving a pitcher I’m going to talk about. Heck, in a year when we’ve now seen five no-nos and two perfect games (almost three, Jim Joyce), it’s really getting borderline out of hand.

So where are we going today? To Anaheim, where the first big name player to be dealt was getting his first start back in the AL. Yes, a day after being dealt from Arizona to Anaheim, Dan Haren was on the mound for the Angels. He didn’t last too long either.

Pitching in the fifth inning, having given up seven hits and two runs to the Red Sox thus far, Haren was hit with a line drive on his right forearm and had to leave the game. Talk about lucky, right?

While we don’t yet know what the full extent of damage is (early signs say it’s just a bruise), it’s never good to absorb a come-backer to your pitching arm. Hopefully he’ll be OK, or the Angels might have to try to land another starter in the next few days. It’s not like they’re out of prospects, either.

The package they sent to the desert wasn’t exactly loaded. Shipping the very average Joe Saunders and three prospects that aren’t destined for greatness was one great trade for the Angels. The D-Backs essentially took a pu-pu platter of mediocrity for their best player. Haren had been their ace for a few seasons, but hadn’t been stunning this season. He even won 14 games last season despite getting terrible run support.

You always have to worry about pitchers jumping from the NL to AL, because of the DH and the better hitters overall, but we’re not quick to forget that Haren was one of Oakland’s big three starters – with Barry Zito and Tim Hudson – a few seasons ago. He should know how to handle some hitters, especially in the somewhat familiar AL West.

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