Padres could be a fit for Dan Haren this winter

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Free agent right-hander Dan Haren had a frustrating 2012, posting a pedestrian 4.33 ERA across 176 2/3 innings while fighting a lingering lower back issue.

Haren should still find plenty of interest on the open market this offseason, but if he would rather do a one-year “prove-it” style of deal to reestablish his value, there’s no better place than San Diego.

And it turns out the Padres might have interest.

Here’s Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune:

A smile crossed the face of the Padres general manager Friday night when the trade between the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Chicago Cubs fell apart. The Angels were trying to send right-handed starting pitcher Dan Haren to the Cubs for reliever Carlos Marmol.

Instead, after the deal with the Cubs collapsed, the Angels bought out Haren’s option for $3.5 million – turning Haren into a free agent.

When it appeared Haren was headed to the Cubs, Byrnes Friday afternoon admitted Haren was among the “eight to 10” starting pitchers the Padres were very interested in.

Even with the Petco Park fences getting a makeover, San Diego is going to remain very pitcher-friendly.

And it shouldn’t take much for Haren to get back on track if he can get a handle on his back discomfort.

The 32-year-old registered a spectacular 3.17 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 192/33 K/BB ratio across 238 1/3 innings with the Angels in 2011. He boasts a solid 3.66 career ERA and a cool 1.18 career WHIP.

Another young fan was struck by a foul ball, this time at Guaranteed Rate Field

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ESPN reports via the Associated Press that a young boy was struck by a line drive foul ball but was not seriously injured during Sunday afternoon’s game against the Royals. The boy and a woman were escorted by a first aid crew to the concourse area and the boy was later eating ice cream in a luxury suite.

A woman was struck in the face by a foul ball also on the first base side at Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday, but she didn’t request medical assistance.

Last week, a young fan at Yankee Stadium was hit by a line drive foul ball, which motivated several teams to commit to extending protective netting at their ballparks. The Yankees, strangely, were not among them. Nor were the White Sox.

Diamondbacks clinch NL Wild Card

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Losses by the Cardinals to the Pirates and the Brewers to the Cubs on Sunday clinched an NL Wild Card berth for the Diamondbacks. Their walk-off, 3-2 win over the Marlins earned them hosting rights for the Wild Card game.

The D-Backs, now 90-66, trailed the Marlins 2-1 going into the bottom of the eighth. Daniel Descalso tied the game at two apiece with an RBI single off of Brad Ziegler. Second half hero J.D. Martinez secured the win with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth against Javy Guerra.

The Rockies beat the Padres on Sunday to increase their lead over the Brewers (+2) and Cardinals (+2.5) for the second Wild Card slot. One of these three teams will visit Arizona for the Wild Card game.

The Diamondbacks are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2011, when they lost the Division Series in five games to the Brewers.