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MESA, Ariz. (CBSLA.com/AP) — Aaron Harang allowed four runs, five hits, and a walk in the first inning before pitching lights out in the second in an 11-7 win over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday.
Harang, one of a number of pitchers competing for a spot in the starting rotation, went 10-10 last year for the Dodgers and obtained a 3.61 ERA, a career-best for the 34 year old. Harang said he struggled with tightness in the first inning of Wednesday’s Cactus League game.
“I felt like I was having a hard time getting loose again,” Harang pointed out. “It felt like it took to the middle of the inning before I was getting anywhere loose.”
The Dodgers answered the Cubs’ offense in the second, with Jerry Hairston Jr. hitting a double with the bases loaded off Try McNutt that scored two runs. Hairston would also add a sacrifice fly in the third.
Alfredo Amezaga went 3-for 3 with two RBI and a run scored. The effort from the plate propelled the Dodgers, who trailed 4-1 after the first, to an 8-4 lead by the middle of the third inning.
Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro left the game in the bottom of the fourth after he pulled up on an infield grounder. The team reported that Castro had left with hamstring tightness.
“It was a little bit tight, but not too bad,” Castro said. “I felt it when I touched the base. It scared me. I don’t want to be hurt. I feel to good this year.”
Cubs manager Dale Sveum does not believe the injury is serious.
“He was jogging around in the training room a little bit,” Sveum said. “It was more tight than a pull or anything. He pulled up quite a bit, and he was kind of hobbling, but it doesn’t seem like a big deal at all. Certain players love to play, period. He is one of them and there is no taking him out of the lineup.”
Castro said that he felt conditioning may have been a factor.
“It felt like a charlie-horse, nothing bad,” he said. “I worked too much in the Dominican, running a lot.”
Centerfielder Matt Kemp, who underwent offseason shoulder surgery, participated in more batting practice on Wednesday, and may be ready to DH by the weekend.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)