Dan Haren pitches against the Padres in May. (Gregory Bull / Associated…)
NEW YORK — Both Angels Manager Mike Scioscia and General Manager Jerry Dipoto were “very encouraged” by Dan Haren’s full bullpen session Thursday at Angel Stadium, a workout the veteran right-hander, on the disabled list because of back stiffness, will repeat Saturday with Class-A Inland Empire.
Barring setback, Haren, who has been bothered all season by the injury, could make a minor league rehabilitation start Tuesday and join the Angels rotation for a July 22 game against the Texas Rangers in Anaheim.
Haren, 31, entered 2012 with a 107-84 career record and 3.59 earned-run average. But his 6-8 record and 4.86 ERA this season, along with the struggles of Ervin Santana, who is 4-9 with a 5.75 ERA, have put a major drag on a rotation many expected would be one of the best in baseball.
How Haren rebounds from his injury could go a long way toward determining whether the Angels pursue a starting pitcher — several prominent veterans, including Cole Hamels, Zack Greinke, Matt Garza and Wandy Rodriguez, could be available — before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
“I think we should have a clear indication of what our rotation is going to look like over the next few weeks,” Dipoto said. “But like I’ve said before, the best moves we can make are internal, getting a healthy Dan Haren back and getting Ervin Santana pitching the way he can.”
What if only one, or if neither, of those things happen?
“We’ll assess it as we go and create contingency plans, but the early returns on Dan is that he’s coming along really well,” Dipoto said. “Dan Haren is an All-Star performer, a guy who has gotten Cy Young votes. We couldn’t make a more impactful addition than getting a healthy Dan Haren back. Early indications are that this was a road bump for him, and that excites me.”
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