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Dodgers' Aaron Harang shows hometown how it's done

Starter hits a double at San Diego and takes a no-hitter into the fifth inning at Petco Park.

September 26, 2012|By Dylan Hernandez

SAN DIEGO — Aaron Harang is listed at 6 feet 7 and 260 pounds in the Dodgers' media guide.

He runs the way a man his size would be expected to run.

So when Harang doubled to left-center field in the sixth inning of the Dodgers' 8-2 victory over the San Diego Padres on Wednesday, his teammates watched with amusement as he lumbered to second base.

"They were razzing me a little bit when I got back in the dugout," Harang said.

Harang often smiled as he recalled his triumphant homecoming to Petco Park.

Like Adrian Gonzalez, Harang was born in San Diego and went to high school here. And, like Gonzalez, he is a former Padre who still lives here in the off-season.

The self-deprecating pitcher shrugged as he talked about how he was tagged out at third base in an at-bat by Nick Punto that followed his double.

"I don't run the bases very often, so you can't expect much out of me," said Harang, who has only four hits this season.

But Harang's greatest contribution came on the mound. He had a no-hitter until there were two outs in the fifth inning, when shortstop Hanley Ramirez casually fielded a grounder and allowed Everth Cabrera to reach base on an infield hit.

Harang said he wasn't aware that he was no-hitting his former team until a fan behind the dugout screamed at him in the fifth inning, "Hey, Harang, you have a no-hitter going!"

Harang chuckled.

"Usually when you're in a groove, you don't even hear those guys," he said. "For some reason, it was just that one dude."

Ellis honored

A.J. Ellis was named the winner of the Roy Campanella Award, given annually to the Dodgers player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame catcher.

Ellis said he was touched by the honor because it was voted on by his teammates and coaches.

"Outside of winning a World Series ring, it's probably the most special thing that could happen to me as a player," he said. "It blew me away."

Campanella's daughter, Joni Campanella Roan, will present Ellis with the award on Sunday at Dodger Stadium.

Ellis is 31 but still in his first full major league season.

An 18th-round pick out of Austin Peay State University, he toiled in the minor leagues for years, often passed over because of his perceived offensive shortcomings.

But Ellis has been a pleasant surprise this season with a bat in his hands, hitting .263 with 11 home runs and 44 runs batted in. In his three previous seasons, he hit a combined four home runs between triple A and the major leagues.

Manager Don Mattingly said he voted for Ellis.

"Personally and professionally, it's been an awesome year for me," Ellis said. "The organization giving me a chance to be an everyday guy here."

Ellis said he started the season feeling he had to prove himself not only to management, but also to himself.

"I didn't know I could," he said. "I thought I could, but I didn't know for sure."

Ellis ranks fourth in the majors with 125 games caught. His 1,097 innings behind the plate also rank fourth. His catcher's earned-run average of 3.37 is lowest among catchers who have caught a minimum of 100 games.

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