Dodgers Report: Darren Balsley

Harang finds his mechanics, recaptures his magic

March, 2, 2012
3/02/12
2:33
PM PT
A year ago, Aaron Harang went to spring training with the San Diego Padres with a guaranteed spot in the starting rotation and a new $4 million contract. There was nothing in any of that to suggest his career was some sort of reclamation project, but it most definitely was, which is why Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley started looking at old video long before Harang even reported to camp.

Old video of Harang. From his days with the Cincinnati Reds. When he was a No. 1 starter. When he was winning 53 games over a four-year stretch.

When he had no idea what awaited him in the years to come -- a slew of injuries to a slew of different body parts plus an appendectomy.

What Balsley found was a delivery that bore no resemblance to the one Harang was now using.

"The mechanics from 2006 and 2007 were completely different from the mechanics from 2009 and 2010,'' said Harang, the veteran right-hander who signed a two-year, $12 million free-agent deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers this winter. "Everything was different. My arm slot. The length of my stride. Over time, you start battling injuries and maybe changing things just a little bit to try to compensate for any discomfort. Pretty soon, you have changed your whole delivery without even realizing it.''

Once he identified his old mechanics and went back to them, they felt totally natural almost immediately -- "It's kind of like riding a bike,'' Harang said -- and the results came almost as quickly. After going 18-38 over those three injury-plagued seasons with the Reds, including tying for the major league lead with 17 losses in 2008, Harang went 14-7 with a 3.64 ERA for the Padres last year. He likely would have won more games if he hadn't spent a month on the disabled list with a bruised right foot.

By all indications, he was back. And for a Dodgers team that was losing Hiroki Kuroda to free agency, that made him worth the risk.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Zack Greinke
WINS ERA SO IP
11 2.73 127 118
OTHER LEADERS
BAY. Puig .306
HRA. Gonzalez 14
RBIA. Gonzalez 59
RY. Puig 52
OPSY. Puig .911
ERAC. Kershaw 1.78
SOZ. Greinke 127