Aaron Harang: A man without a role in Dodgers bullpen

Christian Petersen

Harang has made just six relief appearances in his 11-year career, but vows to be ready to pitch whenever needed. Even if that role has yet to be defined.

The Dodgers found a way to keep all eight of their starting pitchers, but it's not an ideal situation for anyone involved. Especially for Aaron Harang, who is essentially a man without a plan.

As it stands, Harang is one of eight relief pitchers on the active roster, along with fellow starter Chris Capuano. Both were talked to by manager Don Mattingly about a week before camp broke in Arizona, letting them know their roles could be changing.

"We tried to talk to guys 10 days ago, just about the way it was sitting, so they could mentally wrap their arms around pitching in a different role, so it wouldn't be a shock yesterday when we set the roster," said Mattingly.

That doesn't make it any easier for Harang.

"I've always been a starter, so I've kept the mentality that I'll still be starting. It's just something I've got to go through right now," Harang said. "I don't know where to begin. There are definitely a lot of adjustments. But I have to try and figure out a way and go from there."

Harang has started 293 games in his career and made just six relief appearances. He is making $7 million in the final year of a two-year deal, and pitching mop-up duty isn't exactly the most lucrative way to enter the free agent market.

"This is all new to me. The last time I was in a situation like this was 2010, but I got all of four innings," Harang said. "When I was in Oakland, I was the fifth guy but getting bumped around, throwing on nine days rest."

Mattingly said he has a role for Capuano, who can either get left-handed batters out or pitch multiple innings at a time. But Mattingly hasn't quite figured out a role for Harang, who has a much more involved warmup routine that takes as long as 30 minutes.

"Aaron I think will be more of a challenge, trying to figure out how long it takes him to get going, how long it takes him to get loose, matching him up properly. He's just going to be more of a work in progress," Mattingly said. "We talked about it and basically let him know that's how it was going to be. Maybe he hasn't quite accepted it. Now reality is hitting and we can get down to brass tax with him and talk with him. It's tough for us to talk exactly how the role is going to go, because we don't really know exactly how to use him. He is set up for multiple innings, but we'll just try to figure out a routine for him depending on how long it takes him to get loose."

To Harang's credit, he has said all the right things and hasn't yet requested a trade.

"If they tell me I'm pitching today, I'm pitching today. I'll be ready," Harang said. "We'll just wait and see what happens. There are all these rumors flying around. I just have to keep myself ready."

The question is, ready for what?

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