Dan Haren allowed two runs on seven hits through five innings in a rehabilitation start at Class-A Inland Empire Monday evening and expressed optimism regarding his impending return from a lower back injury that clouded his effectiveness over a disappointing first half of the 2012 season.
Haren, 6-8 with a 4.86 ERA and having surrendered 16 homeruns in 17 major league starts, threw bullpen sessions on Thursday and Saturday before a 65-pitch, 44-strike outing in San Bernardino for the Angels' California League affiliate, who escaped with a 5-4, come-from-behind win over the Lake Elsinore Storm at San Manuel Stadium. Haren struck out two and did not walk a batter.
"The crispness on my pitches was good," Haren said. "Obviously they were very aggressive. They wanted to get hits, so I couldn't really get into many counts. It was good work. I'm glad I did it. We had talked about just doing a simulated game, but I think it was better to probably just get lefties and righties up there."