MARYVALE, ARIZONA – At the end of the day it all worked out for Dan Haren, who was able to get his work in on Saturday as the Dodgers and Brewers narrowly avoided a rain out.
For most of the morning and early afternoon that was in major doubt, with rain hammering most of the Phoenix area and Spring Training games getting canceled throughout the region.
But Mother Nature cooperated for Haren, who made his first start of the spring and pitched two innings against the Brewers while giving up a run on three hits.
“We got lucky,” Haren said. “It was pouring on the way over here.”
Most importantly he was able to preserve his normal schedule, which is more critical this year than ever considering the Dodgers play two regular-season games in Australia on March 20th and 22nd – nearly two weeks earlier than usual – and with Zack Greinke’s status in doubt Haren might have to pitch the second game.
“Staying on track is important because there’s only three weeks before we have to be ready,” Haren said.
Haren, a creature of habit, wasn’t exactly thrilled with the back-up plans had his start been altered by a postponement. Among the considerations were some sort of intersquad game or throwing on Sunday and coming back next week on short rest.
Thankfully the weather cleared in sufficient time to get a game in.
“I’m definitely happy I got it in because Plan B and C weren’t too appealing to me,” Haren said. “I’m definitely happy we got these done.”
Haren, incidentally, consulted with pitching coach Rick Honeycutt soon after signing with the Dodgers to work out a plan to be ready for the early start of the season.
“I asked him do I need to be prepared to throw on March 22nd or do I need to be prepared to throw on April 1st and 2nd and he told me to be prepared to throw on March 22nd because you never know,” Haren said.
As a result, Haren began his throwing program earlier than normal this winter. And with Greinke’s right calf injury potentially sidelining him for the two-game set in Australia, that turned out to be a prudent decision.
“I’m a little ahead of where I usually am,” Haren said.