Dan Haren insisted Thursday that he is physically sound after a Chicago Sun-Times report cited unnamed sources as saying “medical issues” led to the Cubs pulling out of a trade that would have sent closer Carlos Marmol to the Angels for Haren last Friday.
The Angels subsequently declined Haren’s $15.5-million option for 2013, buying it out for $3.5 million, and the veteran right-hander who went 12-13 with a 4.33 earned-run average last season is now a free agent.
“It’s definitely a little frustrating to hear, being as I’ve started all but three games over a nine-year career,” Haren said in an email. “I haven’t heard why exactly they pulled out, but I finished the year healthy and did pretty well down the stretch.”
Haren, 32, was slowed by lower-back tightness in the first half, compiling a 6-8 record with a 4.86 ERA in 17 starts before going on the disabled list for the first time in his career in early July. But he returned in late July and, despite his fastball dipping to the 89-mph range, Haren went 6-5 with a 3.58 ERA in his final 13 starts.
It would be understanable for some teams to shy away from Haren because of his high mileage—he threw 216 innings or more for seven straight seasons from 2005-2011—and reduced velocity, but Haren insists he is not a health risk.
“I’ve never missed any time because of injury other than the three weeks this year because of my back,” Haren said. “When I came back, I had to be cleared by doctors, so obviously, I was healthy.
“As for any other ‘injury,’ I’ve had very minor issues over the years, but nothing significant at all. My arm is in great shape, and physically, I’m in a very good place right now. I’m very, very confident that I will return to form next year.”