A day after Dan Haren got shelled once again in a 7-1 loss to the Rockies, Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty explained how it is likely a mechanical issue for the veteran pitcher that has contributed to his struggles this season.
McCatty thinks past injuries to Haren’s hip and back may have altered his motion, specifically with his arm slot and release. Haren may still be compensating for where he used to feel pain and is coming too far around on his release instead of following through with a forward motion.
McCatty said they have not ruled out an injury, but more will be known on Monday after Haren throws a bullpen session.
“In the past, I know last year he had a little problem with his hip and back. When you have a problem somewhere else, sometimes it transfers to other parts of your body,” McCatty said.
“If you’re hurting somewhere else, or if something is throwing you off, sometimes it can have an effect on your elbow and shoulder. We need to make sure he feels good.”
Haren’s ERA ballooned to a league-worst 6.15 after he allowed six earned runs in 3 1/3 innings to Colorado on Saturday. He has allowed the most runs in the National League and the most homers in the majors.
Haren signed with the Nationals as a free agent over the offseason, a one year deal worth $13 million. Before an injury plagued 2012, he had almost a decade of success as a major league pitcher. His track record gives McCatty and the Nats hope he can turn things around, but also makes his struggles more frustrating to watch.
“It’s never easy to sit there and watch a guy you know is a warrior. He’s a competitor,” McCatty said.
“He goes out there every chance he gets and never gives a word to you, never complains, when things aren’t going his way. It’s really tough. All you can continue to do is work on it, work on it and be in his corner. This guy has pitched well. He’s been very, very good throughout his career. “