SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Dan Haren has been nearly perfect this spring.
Haren struck out seven of the last eight batters he faced in three innings, and the Los Angeles Angels went on to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-0 on Tuesday.
Haren gave up one hit, a leadoff single to Willie Bloomquist, and walked none. It’s the only hit the former Diamondbacks ace has allowed in two spring starts. Overall, he has 10 strikeouts and one walk in five scoreless innings.
In the third, Haren needed 10 pitches to strike out Ryan Roberts, Trevor Cahill and Bloomquist. The one ball he threw was to Cahill, the Arizona starting pitcher who got knocked around a bit for the second time in a row.
“The most important part of spring is feeling good and I felt better this time than I did last time,” Haren said. “There’s always aches and pains that go along with spring training, and of course I want to do well, facing guys that I know still. It brings out a little bit more in me. I still know quite a few guys over there, so it’s fun.”
Fun for him, maybe, but not for the Diamondbacks, who struck out 14 times overall and managed just two hits against five Los Angeles pitchers.
“Danny carved us up,” Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said.
This even though he was not throwing his curve, concentrating on his split-finger fastball.
“I probably threw 10 splits, which is quite a few in three innings,” he said.
Haren spent 2 1/2 seasons with the Diamondbacks before being sent to the Angels during the 2010 season for lefty Joe Saunders and three minor leaguers, including top prospect Tyler Skaggs.
Haren said he still had friends on Arizona and was happy to watch the Diamondbacks in their worst-to-first run in the NL West last season.
“It was fun to watch,” Haren said. “Watching Ian (Kennedy) was the coolest part for me. I texted him or called him once the season was over and congratulated him. … It’s the same core guys. For some reason we didn’t do much when I was here but I think the younger guys grew up a bit. The bullpen obviously did a much better job last year and a couple of guys stepped up.”
But Haren has talent around him with the Angels, too.
“On paper we look great. We’ve still got to go out and get it done,” he said. “But, man, I haven’t been this excited for a season for a long, long time.”
Skaggs bounced back from his awful first outing of the spring with two scoreless innings for Arizona. He allowed one hit and struck out one.
“I’d say it’s a lot better,” he said. “It felt really good. I felt like I was throwing strikes and it’s good to face some old teammates.”
Skaggs said he’d played with just about everyone the Angels sent to the plate against him.
The record crowd of 12,552 watched the game in warm sunshine at Salt River Fields, in its second season as the spring training home for the Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies.
“It’s beautiful here,” Haren said. “I mean, the weight room — I went in there — it’s awesome. They did it right. I’d heard all good things and it’s pretty cool seeing it.”
Notes: Alexi Amarista hit his second home run of the spring for the Angels, a solo shot off Cahill, who allowed two runs and five hits in three innings. Cahill struck out three with no walks. … Cahill, who came to the Diamondbacks from Oakland in an offseason trade, is 0-2 this spring. He has allowed five runs on nine hits in five innings, including three home runs.