The Dodgers tried to hold onto all eight of their starting pitchers under contract for the 2013 season, but it proved an inefficient roster allocation that wasn't likely to last much longer. On Saturday they traded the one among the healthy seven starters most ill-suited for relief in Aaron Harang.
"Aaron was the one guy that it was really tough to know how to use, other than if somebody got hurt early he would have been the guy. But that can only last so long, once you can't pitch," said manager Don Mattingly. "It's probably been 10 days since he last pitched, and what can you count on at that point?"
Harang didn't pitch in any of the first four games of the season, and hadn't pitched in a game since starting on Mar. 26 against the Rockies at Camelback Ranch during spring training. He was unlikely to be used, and with Chad Billingsley set to be activated from the disabled list on Wednesday the Dodgers had to make a roster move.
"It definitely makes us a little more comfortable in the longer range of things," Mattingly said. "We knew that when Bills came back that somebody had to go. This allows us to keep the bullpen intact."
That intact bullpen includes left-hander Paco Rodriguez, who has already pitched twice in four games and has thrown like someone who won't be sent to the minors anytime soon. He will now be a part of a more traditional seven-man bullpen, one that the eighth man Harang could never seem to crack.
But Mattingly said Harang never asked for a trade.
"He was a true pro about it. He knew from the beginning. We tried to be upfront with them about the situation, not knowing what would happen over the course of spring training. Obviously he was struggling in a sense of having to deal with that role, but not in a way that was a problem for us," Mattingly said. "He knows the business side of what's going on and his responsibility. At the end of the day, this has a chance to help us and help him. I'm sure he'll end up getting a chance to start, and that's what he's better set for."