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"Baseball is an incredibly humbling game," the veteran right-hander said. "When you're up, it'll just knock you right down. I couldn't have really gotten much lower than I did when I was on the DL. I mean, I was a bad start or two away from getting released, probably. That's just the truth of it, I think. I definitely feel way better the way I'm pitching now. This is more me."
The version of Haren that tossed seven standout innings Friday night during the Nationals' 9-2 thumping of the Phillies, and the version that has consistently pitched well since returning to the active roster one month ago, is exactly the guy the Nats thought they were getting last winter.
It may be too little, too late. But if nothing else, it's restoring Haren's faith in himself, not to mention his teammates' faith in him.