Reporting from Phoenix — There was a time when right-hander Aaron Harang was one of baseball’s most dependable workhorses.
From 2005 to 2007, he averaged 226 innings per season with the Cincinnati Reds. His 2341/3 innings in 2006 ranked third in the National League. His 2312/3 innings the next year ranked second.
He hasn’t topped 200 innings since.
But Harang, who signed with the Dodgers as a free agent during the off-season, said he considers himself fortunate. Though he landed on the disabled list in each of the last four seasons, he hasn’t had any serious arm trouble.
In 2008, Harang was sidelined because of an elbow strain.
“No structural stuff,” he said.
In 2009, he had a midseason emergency appendectomy.
“I’m not going to have to worry about that anymore,” Harang said, smiling.
In 2010, his last season with the Reds, he had lower-back pain. And last year, which he spent with his hometown San Diego Padres, he was sidelined because of a stress fracture in his right foot.
The same foot has been slightly bruised by new orthotic inserts he is wearing, but that didn’t prevent him from throwing batting practice Wednesday.
Harang, who turns 34 in May, said he has avoided major elbow and shoulder issues probably because “mechanically, I’m pretty simple.”
Projected to be the No. 4 starter, Harang said he is targeting a 200-inning season.
Harang is guaranteed to be paid $12 million over the next two seasons. He will draw a $3-million salary this year.
Harang and left-hander Chris Capuano were signed by the Dodgers to replace the more expensive Hiroki Kuroda, who signed with the New York Yankees.
The waiting game
Barring the unexpected, Nathan Eovaldi will start the season in the minor leagues. And he said he’s fine with that.
Eovaldi was one of the Dodgers’ pleasant surprises last season when he was called up as a 22-year-old. The hard-throwing right-hander was 1-2 with a 3.09 earned-run average in six starts before he was moved to the bullpen to limit his innings count.
He went into the off-season as a candidate to be a back-of-the-rotation starter, but the signings of Harang and Capuano changed that.
“I assumed they would,” he said of the Dodgers’ decision to pursue veteran starters. “I just have to work harder to get that spot back.”
Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley faced hitters for the first time this spring, both throwing batting practice. James Loney, who faced Kershaw, said the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner “looked very sharp.” … Juan Uribe, who settled a property-damage suit that was filed against him in San Francisco, returned to camp.