It took six awful starts for Dan Haren to admit to pitching through a back injury and upon being placed on the disabled list yesterday the Angels right-hander revealed that he’s been dealing with lower back soreness for most of the season.
Haren also told Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles that trying to keep alive his streak of never missing a start and never needing a DL stint played a role in his trying to pitch through the injury, saying:
I think I was doing a disservice to the team by going out there at less than a hundred percent and trying to win ballgames. So I went and talked to Sosh, and I said basically, rather than making 16 more starts not being a hundred percent, I’d rather make 14 starts at a hundred percent. If I was pitching for a team in last place, I’d probably just finish off the year like this and get it taken care of at the end. But I think my last 14 starts or so are going to mean a lot to this team, and hopefully I can make a few more in October as well.
That’s the best-case scenario, of course, because there’s certainly no guarantee that a couple weeks off will cure Haren considering he estimated that the injury left him pitching at around 70 percent effectiveness recently.
Through the end of May he had a 3.52 ERA and 66/14 K/BB ratio in 72 innings, but after June 1 he allowed 29 runs, including nine homers, in 32 innings as his overall ERA ballooned to 4.86.
People are the absolute worst sometimes. The latest example: someone stole one of Jose Fernandez’s high school jerseys, which had been displayed in his old high school’s dugout for a vigil last night.
That report comes from Anastasia Dawson of the Tampa Bay Times who covered the vigil at Alonso High School in Tampa yesterday. Her story of the vigil is here. Today she has been tweeting about the theft of the jersey. She spoke to Alonso High school’s principal who, in a bit of understatement, called the theft the “lowest of the low.”
The high school had one more Fernandez jersey remaining and has put it on display in the school. In the meantime, spread this story far and wide so that whatever vulture who stole it can’t sell it.
In an earlier post I made a joke about the Indians starting Dennis Martinez if forced to play a meaningless (for them) game on Monday against the Tigers. On Twitter, one of my followers, Ray Fink, asked a great question: If you had to hand the ball to a Hall of Fame-eligible pitcher to give you three innings, who would it be?
The Hall of Fame-eligible part gets rid of the recently-retired ringers, requiring a guy who has been off the scene for at least five years, ensuring that there’s a good bit of rust. I love questions like these.
My immediate answer was Mike Mussina. My thinking being that of all of the great pitchers fitting these parameters, he’s the most likely to have stayed in good shape. I mean, Greg Maddux probably still has the best pitching IQ on the planet, but he’s let himself go a bit, right? Mussina strikes me as a guy who still wakes up and does crunches and stuff.
If you extend it to December, however, you may get a better answer, because that’s when Tim Wakefield becomes eligible for the Hall. I realize a knuckleball requires practice to maintain the right touch and subtlety to the delivery, but it also requires the least raw physical effort. Jim Bouton went well more than five years without throwing his less-than-Wakefield-quality knuckler and was still able to make a comeback. I think Tim could be passable.
Then there’s Roger Clemens. I didn’t see his numbers for that National Baseball Congress tourney this summer and I realize he’s getting a bit thick around the middle, but I’m sure he can still bring it enough to not embarrass himself. Beyond the frosted tips, anyway.
So: who is your Space Cowboys-style reclamation project? Who is the old legend you dust off for one last job?