Angels pitcher Dan Haren scratched from start against Yankees
Dan Haren, whose streak of 214 consecutive starts is the longest among active major league pitchers, has been scratched from Saturday night’s game against the Yankees because of lower-back tightness.
But the right-hander, whose bullpen session Wednesday in Kansas City was cut short because of back spasms, long-tossed from 200 feet with no discomfort Friday and is scheduled to start Tuesday night against Tampa Bay.
The Angels were told by the Elias Sports Bureau on Friday that there is no “hard rule” for start dates, so having a start pushed back three days won’t constitute a “missed start” for Haren, whose streak dates to 2005.
Because the Angels were off Thursday, Manager Mike Scioscia easily juggled his rotation to accommodate Haren’s setback, moving Ervin Santana to Saturday, Joel Pineiro to Sunday and Tyler Chatwood to Monday.
“Right now, avoiding the disabled list was a priority,” said Haren, who is 5-3 with a 2.29 earned run average. “I got lucky with the off day — everyone could move up, and I could slide back. Obviously, I pride myself on making every start, but if [Saturday] was a playoff game, I think I’d be ready to go.”
Haren, who got treatment Thursday and Friday and is taking anti-inflammatory medication, will throw in the bullpen Sunday. Scioscia is confident the veteran suffered a “tweak” and no structural damage.
“When it first happened, I was pretty pessimistic,” Haren said. “But I feel a lot better now.”
Help on the way
Scioscia said Howie Kendrick, out since May 20 because of a right hamstring strain, will be activated for Saturday night’s game against the Yankees and return to left field, the position he moved to after Vernon Wells strained his right groin on May 9.
But Kendrick, a second baseman who also plays first, could return to the infield by the middle of next week.
Wells went through another rigorous workout Friday and is scheduled to begin a brief rehabilitation assignment with triple-A Salt Lake on Sunday.
Kendrick leads the team with a .322 average, and his .370 career mark against the Yankees is the highest of any active player with at least 150 plate appearances against them.
Wells was hitting .183 with four homers and 13 runs batted in when he went on the disabled list, but the Angels expect him to boost the offense with the kind of power he showed in Toronto last season, when he hit 31 homers.
“We’ve been holding it down since they’ve been out, but it’s been a rocky road,” cleanup batter Torii Hunter said. “Getting those guys back is going to help this team tremendously.”
To make room for Kendrick, the Angels sent Reggie Willits to triple-A.
Kazmir makes some progress in triple-A
Scott Kazmir’s control problems continued Friday night, but the left-hander took a significant step in his effort to return to the Angels, giving up two earned runs and three hits in six innings for triple-A Salt Lake.
Kazmir did walk five and strike out five against Sacramento, and of his 105 pitches, only 61 were strikes.
But the results were far better than his first two starts for Salt Lake, when he gave up 16 earned runs and eight hits, walked seven and struck out five in four innings.
Kazmir has been on the disabled list because of lower-back soreness since early April, and he spent a month in extended spring training hoping to find a consistent delivery and release point.
Scioscia did not talk to Darin Erstad before the former Angels outfielder, among the grittiest players in franchise history, was named head coach at Nebraska on Thursday, but he passed along his best wishes.
“It’s tremendous — we’re very excited for Ersty,” Scioscia said. “There aren’t many guys I’ve met in this game who combine his passion for and knowledge of the game.”