Profiles in Sports: Dan Haren

This profile on former Pepperdine and current Los Angeles Angels right-handed pitcher Dan Haren is one in a series on individuals in the community who are involved with the world of sports.

By Seth Rubinroit / The Malibu Times Sports

While growing up in Monterey Park, Dan Haren enjoyed attending Angels baseball games. Now, after a July trade from the Arizona Diamondbacks, Haren is pitching in the same stadium he used to frequent as a fan.

“He has brought us veteran leadership,” Angels All-Star outfielder Torii Hunter said. “He knows how to pitch, and his presence in our starting rotation changes everything. It changes how we look to other teams. Other teams look at us and know they have to face [pitchers Jered] Weaver, Haren and [Ervin] Santana. It makes us look a lot better.”

After a stellar career at Bishop Amat High School, Haren attended Pepperdine University, where he was named West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year in 1999 and the WCC Player of the Year in 2001. He was then drafted in the second round of the 2001 First-Year Player Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals.

Haren is a three-time MLB All-Star, and was the starting pitcher in the 2007 All-Star Game. He is also a workhorse, having thrown more than 215 innings in each of the past five seasons. In that period, he won at least 14 games every season. He finished second in the National League in strikeouts in 2008, and third in 2009.

“He is a top-of-the-line rotation guy,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He is going to be a force for us not only this year, but for the next couple of years.”

Haren spoke to The Malibu Times at his locker in the Angels’ clubhouse before a recent game.

What stands out to you most from your time at Pepperdine?

I made a lot of good friends there, especially with the guys on the baseball team. We made the NCAA Regional a couple of years. I enjoyed living on campus with my friends, the lifestyle, and the area I lived in.

You are considered to be a very good hitter for a pitcher. Did you learn to become a good hitter at Pepperdine?

Like most people, I grew up hitting. I hit quite a bit in college, and it definitely prepared me to hit at the big league level as a pitcher.

While with the Arizona Diamondbacks, you pitched alongside rookie Barry Enright, who also attended Pepperdine. What were your impressions of him?

He seems like he has his head on straight. He has outstanding stuff, and he has had a bunch of good starts. He is a smart kid, and it seems like he knows what he is doing out there. I think he is ahead of his time.

What is the hardest adjustment to make being traded midseason?

The most complicated thing is family. I have a home in Arizona, and we are moving out here. The toughest thing is getting your family back-and-forth from Arizona and LA, and being able to see them over the final two months of the season.

What is the biggest difference pitching in the American League [with the Angels and Oakland Athletics] versus the National League with the Cardinals and Diamondbacks?

I do not think it is as big of a deal as people make it out to be. If you make good pitches, you get guys out, it is as simple as that. The lineups in the American League are a little tougher because, in the National League, you have the pitcher at the bottom of the lineup.

You are signed through 2012 [with a club option for 2013]. How do you envision the future of the Angels?

It is very exciting. When I got traded here, I talked to the front office not only about this year but the next few years. This team has been winning for a long time, and is built for the future. I am definitely excited to be a part of it, and hopefully we will make a run at it this year, and if not this year, I am sure we will be well positioned next year.

What is it like to play for Mike Scioscia?

He does not take losing easily. I think that is a good thing. He expects a lot out of his players. We have to give it to him. He is a fiery guy, and I am sure I will enjoy playing for him.

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

Related Articles



Latest Articles

%d bloggers like this: