SURPRISE -- Dan Haren has been thought for some time to be an insurance policy of sorts for the Dodgers in Australia, but after his start on Tuesday he sounded like someone who might not even make the trip down under.
"They can't give me anything definitive in case something happens in the last week. I have to keep preparing myself like I'm going," Haren said. "If everything is okay with Kershaw and Ryu, there are some other things that have to fall into place. Me not going is an option right now."
Haren pitched four innings on Tuesday in the 7-5 win over the Royals, and allowed one run on seven hits, all singles. He struck out one and walked one, and threw 65 pitches, 39 for strikes.
Counting the intrasquad game, that makes four starts for Haren, each on four days rest. He is the only Dodgers starting pitcher not to pitch on extra rest so far this spring.
"I've been pushed pretty hard to this point. If everything worked out and I didn't have to go, I could just take a few days where I could back off a little bit," Haren said. "I'm a little bit tired, I don't know if it's dead arm or something like that. I've thrown a lot so far for me, on March 11."
In those four starts, including the intrasquad game on Feb. 24, Haren has thrown 12 innings. It may not sound like a lot, but it is especially when considering we are still just shy of three weeks away from traditional Opening Day.
The Dodgers will start Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-jin Ryu in their two regular season games against the Diamondbacks in Sydney on March 22-23, but they need to have contingency plan in place just in case something were to happen to either one. The decision has to really be made by Sunday, before the Dodgers board a plane for Australia, because of the roster restrictions placed on both teams.
"We have a plan put together that depends on other factors too. I'm not going to rule anybody out of going," manager Don Mattingly said. "Everybody kind of knows the situation, but there is some fluidity to it where if something would happen the dominoes fall and it changes, so I don't want to come out and say who's going or not going."
Haren is in line to pitch again on Sunday, which would be another outing on regular rest. With Ryu slated to start for the Dodgers against the Rockies, Haren would likely pitch in a minor league game. But if it is determined he won't be going to Australia, Haren said he likely wouldn't pitch on Sunday, but rather a day or two later.
"They would like to try to help me stay back, because it's a lot of travel to go over there just to be insurance," Haren said. "If I have to do it, I would do it. I told them I would have no problem doing it. But if I'm not going to throw there and I could stay back, that's better for everybody."
The Dodgers return home on Wednesday, with four of their last five days and five of their last six games at Camelback Ranch. Tomorrow they host the Diamondbacks for the third time this spring in a preview of sorts of the opening series in Sydney. Zack Greinke will likely start for the Dodgers, with Arizona's starting pitcher yet to be announced.
"Unless he comes in in the morning with something going on, he'll start," Mattingly said of Greinke.
WP - Javy Guerra (1-0): 1 IP, 2 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), 1 walk, 1 strikeout
LP - Louis Coleman (0-1): 1 IP, 4 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout
Sv - Sam Demel (1): 3 up, 3 down