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Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Haren says he's ready for next start

By Mark Saxon
ESPNLosAngeles.com

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Dan Haren couldn't dodge a line drive off the bat of Kevin Youkilis Monday night, but the Los Angeles Angels apparently dodged a major blow to their sagging playoff hopes.

Haren threw his usual bullpen session Wednesday at Angel Stadium and, afterward, pronounced himself fit for Saturday's start vs. the first-place Texas Rangers. Haren has a bruised right forearm from the Youkilis shot, but the swelling has largely subsided.

Haren tested his arm by throwing 35 pitches and was eventually able to throw them all without pain.

"It was a little tight when I started, but I ended up with no restrictions," Haren said. "As of now, barring any setbacks, I should be good to go Saturday."

The Angels acquired Haren Sunday from the Arizona Diamondbacks for pitcher Joe Saunders and three minor-leaguers. He allowed two runs on seven hits and struck out eight Boston Red Sox hitters before leaving the game with two outs in the fifth inning. Haren threw just 62 pitches.

"My arm feels great," Haren said. "I should have plenty in the tank for Saturday."

Haren returned to the clubhouse Wednesday morning after spending a day in Arizona to pick up some personal belongings at his home and get in a workout at the team's Tempe training facility.

Manager Mike Scioscia shared Haren's optimism. But he had very little choice with a rotation already showing signs of cracks. Scott Kazmir is on the disabled list with shoulder fatigue. Joel Pineiro was a last-minute scratch before Wednesday's matinee against the Red Sox due to an oblique strain while he was warming up, and is expected to miss six to eight weeks.

"We'll look at Dan again the next couple of days and make sure he's still progressing," Scioscia said. "But it looks like he had no problem manipulating the ball and making all his pitches. So he should be good to go on Saturday."

The eight-year veteran has made 190 consecutive starts without missing a turn since 2005.

"It's scary. You don't really even have time to react," he said. "It's just kind of instinct. I kind of moved my arm up into the ball. I've had some close ones, but that was about as hard as I've ever been hit. I've gotten hit below the waist quite a few times, but never above. It got me good. Someone said the bat might have been broken -- but it didn't feel like it."

Regardless of Haren's condition, Scioscia and general manager Tony Reagins are trying to piece together a starting rotation that is in a sudden state of flux.

"With Joel going down, it's a significant blow. But there's candidates in the minor leagues that we'll look at to fill that need," Reagins said. "And with Scott Kazmir coming back -- which we hopefully expect to be relatively soon -- and the days off that we'll have, we can absorb having to deal with anything from a starting pitching standpoint."

Mark Saxon covers the Angels for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.