The Angels' lifted their team batting average 11 points -- to a still-anemic .226 -- in Sunday's rout of the Arizona Diamondbacks. But today the focus will be on pitching when right-hander Dan Haren takes the mound for the second time this spring against the Chicago Cubs in Mesa. Closer Fernando Rodney is expected to make his third appearance of the exhibition season in relief.
Haren is a workhorse who has made more starts (203) and more quality starts (137) than any pitcher in baseball since 2005. But here are some other things you may not know about the Angels' ace:
* Haren was an all-San Gabriel Valley player at La Puente's Bishop Amat High School. He grew up in West Covina in an area that has produced major-league standouts such as Jason Giambi, Cory Lidle, Aaron Small and former Angel General Manager Bill Stoneman.
* An All-American and West Coast Conference player of the year at Pepperdine, Haren was the ace of a staff that also featured left-hander Noah Lowry. Haren had a 2.22 ERA in 17 starts, Lowry's was 1.71 in 18 starts. The two men, born a month apart, were roommates in college, and both entered the baseball draft after their junior seasons, with Lowry going in the first round of the 2001 draft, 30th overall, to the San Francisco Giants. The slightly older Haren was taken in the second round by the St. Louis Cardinals.
* Haren is of Mexican and Irish descent. "My mom is 100% Mexican," Haren says. "My grandmother, my last living grandparent, speaks pretty much only Spanish. I’ve always been able to understand it, which is good. But I’ve never been able to speak it too well." While speaking, Haren waves at teammate Ervin Santana, a Dominican who has the locker next to Haren's. "I could understand what he’s saying, but I can’t talk to him. But you know [he] understands English very well."
"Yeah," Santana says with a smile, "but you need Spanish too."
* Haren was heavily recruited to pitch for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic but declined. "With the amount of innings that I’ve logged over the year, I just feel like my obligation is to the organization that employs me," he said.
* Haren doubled off the Giants' Jason Schmidt on the first major-league pitch he saw. He was hitting .364 with a home run in 55 at-bats for Arizona last year before being traded to the Angels -- and the American League, where pitchers don't hit -- in July. He is a .226 lifetime hitter.
* Haren is unbeaten in the postseason, having gone 2-0 with a 3.26 ERA in five playoff series. He made two appearances, pitching 4 2/3 scoreless innings, for the Cardinals in their 2004 World Series loss to the Boston Red Sox.
SS -- Erick Aybar
CF -- Peter Bourjos
2B -- Howie Kendrick
1B -- Mark Trumbo
DH -- Alberto Callaspo
RF -- Reggie Willits
3B -- Brandon Wood
C -- Bobby Wilson
LF-- Chris Pettit
P -- Dan Haren
-- Kevin Baxter in Mesa, Ariz.