Skip to content

Aaron Harang says struggles stemmed from 2008 relief appearance

Feb 12, 2011, 5:50 PM EDT

Aaron Harang throwing

It wasn’t too long ago that Aaron Harang was considered one of baseball’s most durable workhorses. For example, he tossed a total of 677 2/3 innings between 2005-07. Only Brandon Webb and Johan Santana logged more innings during that time period.

Harang had a very respectable 3.50 ERA over his first 11 starts into the 2008 season, but the big right-hander tells Don Norcross of the San Diego Union-Tribune that everything changed after Dusty Baker asked him to make a four-inning relief appearance against the Padres on just three days’ rest.

Including his next start four days later, Harang threw a total of 239 pitches in three games over the course of eight days. The damage was done.

“What it did,” said Harang, “is fatigue me beyond the point of recovery. I started to change my arm angle to compensate for the fatigue and that’s when my forearm started to bother me.”

Harang tried to pitch through the injury initially, but eventually spent over a month on the disabled list later that summer. He has an ugly 5.00 ERA over 379 2/3 innings since the relief appearance in question. While he feels healthy now, he’s still trying to get his mechanics back in order.

“I feel like I’ve never been able to get back to the consistent, repetitive mechanics that I had,” he said. “The last couple of years have been, ‘Try this, try that. Move your arm angle out a little.’

“I’ve had a couple of my old coaches call me, asking, ‘What are you doing? You had so much success before doing the same thing. Now, all of a sudden, you’re turning your back on that?’

“I got away from my main thing, which is throwing my fastball (primarily) and throwing everything off that. I got to thinking I’m going to trick people and it just didn’t work.”

Harang may never be a top-of-the-rotation starter again, but there’s reason for optimism now that he has signed with his hometown Padres. He should find PETCO Park to be a much more forgiving environment than Great American Ballpark ever was. The good news is that Harang’s secondary numbers haven’t been nearly as ugly as his ERA, so it might not take much for him to be a real bargain for Padres GM Jed Hoyer.

  1. cincycoltsfan - Feb 12, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    Wish you the best Aaron. You were a trooper for many years on a bad team in a tough park to pitch. I was never a fan of the c Everett coop beard, but that’s just me.

  2. Brian Murphy - Feb 12, 2011 at 7:33 PM

    Dusty Baker overworking a starting pitcher? Inconceivable!

  3. Bochy's Head/Timmy's Bong - Feb 12, 2011 at 7:53 PM

    And the two guys mentioned with more innings over that 3-year span each had one more heavy workload year, then both broke. Before age 30. And now trying to regain form.

    Pitching are hard. Apparently.

  4. Ick McWang - Feb 12, 2011 at 11:11 PM

    dusty baker has single-handedly ruined so many good promising pitchers. sad really.

  5. fribnit - Feb 12, 2011 at 11:32 PM

    Another Pitcher destroyed by Baker.
    When will ownership realize that the man is costing them a fortune in lost pitcher potential
    and the list goes on and on and on and on.
    This link has a great detail of the damage Baker has done to pitchers in his managerial career.

  6. metalhead65 - Feb 13, 2011 at 11:37 AM

    the fact he waited untill he was out of cincy to finaly say what all reds knew shows what a class guy he is. he covered up for baker while he was there but everyone knew what happened.wonder which of the reds other young pitchers will be next?queto just signed a new contract so my money is on him to blow out his arm next.

  7. BC - Feb 14, 2011 at 9:17 AM

    How long until Dusty blows out Chapman and Volquez?

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Baez (2470)
  2. B. Crawford (2455)
  3. C. Correa (2403)
  4. H. Pence (2380)
  5. B. Harper (2170)