July 3, 2012; Cleveland, OH USA: Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Dan Haren (24) throws a pitch against the Cleveland Indians during the game at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric P. Mull-USPRESSWIRE
UPDATE: Dan Haren has been placed on the Disabled List.Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson the tenuous belief in Garrett Richards rising to the occasion, the memories of some pre-asthmatic Jerome Williams highlights and the sick enjoyment of the rollercoaster highs and lows that is Ervin Santana becomes a tightrope walk that is greatly assisted by the balance beam that was Dan Haren.
But it is all about speaking in the past tense, now. After a series of back to back to back terrible pitching performances, Dan blamed his back to the point that he is probably in the specialist's waiting room right now, probably thumbing through the most recent issue of Vanity Fair or The New Yorker.
Major league players are schooled to play with pain, through pain and in pain. It is a sign of toughness and one cannot advance developmentally without regularly taking the field under less than optimum physical shape. If a scout is in the stands at a high school game, kids toss away their crutches and threaten to sue the coach if he doesn't start them. So it is not a noble gesture of Dan to have played through pain nor is it some jock-brained ignorance on his part. It is just what players learn to do. But players also learn to be team guys and eventually one lesson learned supersedes the other. Let's hope for the best for Dan and the Angels.