Dodgers pitcher Aaron Harang is “planning on starting.”

Aaron Harang

In a typical off-season, Aaron Harang said he’ll wait until mid-November to train for the upcoming season. After last season, he moved the plan up a month.

“This year I just decided to take some time to let my body recover — I didn’t go crazy. I did a lot of circuit-based training so it’s not as hard on the body.”

In circuit training, the participant moves from station to station, exercise to exercise, in a rapid fashion.

“I focused on trying to increase my strength from what I had in the past,” Harang said.

His training, combined with a new diet, allowed Harang to come into camp looking slimmer than he finished last season. He wouldn’t say how much weight he lost, but 10 pounds would be a conservative estimate.

Of course, endurance won’t be as much of an issue if Harang pitches out of the bullpen. He is likely one of three holdovers from the Dodgers’ 2012 rotation who will open the season in the bullpen, assuming that health isn’t an issue for any of the projected five starters.

Harang, who’s under contract for 2013 with a mutual option for 2014, went 10-10 with a 3.61 earned-run average in his first season as a Dodger. Even though he’s never been a reliever in his career, the 34-year-old is preparing for this season like he would any other.

“I’m preparing with the mindset that I’m a starter,” Harang said. “That’s where I’m planning to be at.”

So are Ted Lilly and Chris Capuano. Yet unlike them, Harang didn’t say that he would consider pitching out of the Dodgers’ bullpen. “I’m planning on starting,” he said.

Assuming the Dodgers go with a five-man rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Josh Beckett, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Chad Billingsley, Harang will need to go elsewhere to start. He can’t wait until opening day, either. At some point this spring, there won’t be enough innings for more than five starters in Cactus League games.

“As Kersh builds up he’s going to start throwing 75 pitches,” Mattingly said. “That may be five innings or so. You still have relievers you have to work in, different guys. So you don’t have the innings. When he first starts out getting 25 or 30 pitches, he’s going to throw two innings. There’s seven innings left we have to fill. When he starts throwing five and more (innings), then you start getting into areas where you run out of innings in major-league spring games and you start using the back fields.”

If Harang is still a Dodger by then, keep an eye on the back fields for a svelte 6-foot-7 right-hander.

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