Dan Haren was roughed up for five runs in five innings by the Cardinals.
Dan Haren didn't bother. He just told it like it was.
"Just one of those days, man," the Nationals right-hander sighed after allowing five runs in five innings with a fastball that never topped 89 mph. "I felt like I was throwing a weighted ball out there. It was just bad, all the way around."
Haren insisted he's not injured. He hopes he was simply dealing with the same "dead arm" issue that plagues many pitchers in mid-March, though "I don't even know what that is, I just didn't feel great."
The results weren't pretty: Haren allowed four runs during a first inning that included two towering homers clubbed by the Cardinals' Jon Jay and Matt Adams and first-pitch strikes to only one of the first five batters he faced.
The results, though, were less alarming than the radar gun readings on the Roger Dean Stadium scoreboard. Haren's fastball topped out at 89 mph but consistently registered in the 86-87 mph range and even dropped as low as 83 on occasion.
Did those readings cause any alarm bells to ring in Davey Johnson's head?
"I didn't have to see the radar guns," the manager quipped. "I could see the way he was throwing. I was ready to go hit."
Both Johnson and Haren were able to laugh it off, confident this was a one-time blip and not cause for greater concern. But Haren was brutally honest in his self-assessment.
"I had slop out there," he said. "It was embarrassing."
Haren had enjoyed a relatively strong camp prior to this. He allowed four runs over his first nine innings of the spring, issuing only one walk and regularly topping 90 mph with his fastball.
That -- not to mention the fact he had already seen one fellow member of the Nationals' rotation experience a similar dead arm sensation -- left Haren unconcerned about any long-term effect.
"When I have dead arm, it's not pretty," he said. "When Jordan Zimmermann has dead arm, he's throwing 95 still. It's tough, though. Obviously, I was battling the whole way through. I made some pitches, got some outs. Overall, it just wasn't sharp by any means."
Haren actually has a history of poor spring performances. He never posted a spring training ERA better than 4.05 from 2007-11, and then proceeded to post regular season ERAs no worse than 3.91 each of those seasons. In fact, the only spring in which he enjoyed consistent success came one year ago, when his ERA was 2.05 in March ... and then 4.33 during the regular season.
Put it all together, and Haren's track record suggests this disaster of a start will long be forgotten once he takes the mound again.
"I think everyone usually has one hiccup every spring," he said. "People probably get a little more panicked when I do, just because of last year, so just all the more reason to look forward to the next start. I'll be fine. I'll be out there. ...
"It'll be better, guaranteed."