Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Dan Haren was a bit too amped up while facing live hitters yesterday.
Before we get to that, though, one more item from yesterday's workout...
The most notable live BP session involved Dan Haren, who upon taking the mound for the first time with his new club in that setting was perhaps a bit too amped up. The veteran right-hander was a bit off early on, needed to work a bit more to get on the same page with catcher Wilson Ramos and afterward had a long conversation with Johnson.
The manager's message: "I told him, 'Take it easy. You don't have to impress anyone.'"
Haren's response: "Easier said than done when you're watching and the owner's watching and the GM's watching."
You'd think a 32-year-old former All-Star who has pitched on several contenders wouldn't get nervous pitching in front of team executives, but perhaps that underscores just how much Haren wants to be a major contributor to the Nationals after signing a $13 million contract in December.
More than anything, Haren believes he'll start to feel more comfortable once he gets to spend more time with his catchers and coaches discussing his approach to pitching. He began that process yesterday with both Ramos and Johnson.
"I was just telling him about the certain things I wanted to get accomplished in spring, work on different sides of the plate that I wanted to do," the right-hander said. "A lot of it is talking with Wilson and Kurt [Suzuki], just game-planning and stuff. I did that a little bit today in the gym. A lot of it is just sitting down and talking, too. Even with [pitching coach Steve] McCatty, getting in there with the catchers and going over my game plan, how I pitch."
Haren specifically this spring wants to work on using both sides of the plate with more regularity. He's focused more on the left side in recent years but was happy with the results he got last September when targeting the right side with more frequency.
"It's still a work in progress," he said. "I was talking to [Chad] Tracy today about what he was seeing when I was out there, and a lot of it is where I need to start a certain pitch on the plate. Command is my game. I'm not gonna give away too many free passes. I'm very aggressive. So a lot of it is where I'm going to start pitches, and attacking that side of the plate a little more just to keep people honest."
Haren is scheduled to make his Grapefruit League debut Wednesday against the Marlins.