Miami Marlins

Dan Haren, defense falter in Miami Marlins’ Grapefruit League opener

Miami Marlins pitcher Dan Haren throws against the St. Louis Cardinals during the first inning of a spring training game at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter on Thursday, March 5, 2015.
Miami Marlins pitcher Dan Haren throws against the St. Louis Cardinals during the first inning of a spring training game at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter on Thursday, March 5, 2015. El Nuevo Herald

Dan Haren wasn’t dazzling in his Marlins debut.

Then again, neither was the fielding behind him as the Marlins dropped a 4-1 decision to St. Louis in the Grapefruit League opener for both teams.

The 34-year-old pitcher, earmarked for the fifth spot in the rotation, was charged with a pair of runs on three hits over two innings of work in the Marlins’ 2-0 loss to St. Louis.

First baseman Mike Morse had a ball go off his glove and left fielder Christian Yelich lost another in the sun as the Cardinals scored twice off Haren in a sloppy first inning.

Haren acknowledged afterward that his pitches aren’t crisp at the moment.

“My body’s dragging right now a little bit,” he said. “My arm’s dragging a little bit. When you’re young, you have dead arm. When you’re old, you have dead body.”

Part of that is due to Haren’s late start in his offseason throwing program after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his non-throwing shoulder in October.

“I was a little bit behind coming into camp because of my surgery,” he said. “The only way to get feeling good is to get out there and throw, get sore, and let your body rebuild.”

Haren is not a hard thrower, especially in recent years. His average fastball hovers in the upper 80s. He said he began throwing cutters in 2010 when his velocity started to dip in 2010.

“Ever since, I’ve thrown a lot of cutters, my velocity’s dipped a little lower, and I am what I am,” said Haren, who is a fly ball pitcher. “But if I’m worrying about velocity, I’m in trouble. I’m not going to blow the ball by anyone. But I can hit corners, I don’t walk guys, and with the ballpark we have and the outfield defense we have, I’m going to make them hit it.”

STANTON FEELS GREAT

Giancarlo Stanton could care less that he went hitless in his two at-bats Thursday. It’s only spring training.

But the simple fact he was on the field was the important thing.

“It felt great. I felt good in the box,” Stanton said. “It was good to be in a game setting again.”

It was Stanton’s first game since being struck in the face with a pitch on Sept. 11. Stanton was wearing his new custom-made helmet and face guard in the Marlins’ first spring game.

▪ Jose Fernandez threw off a mound Thursday for the second time in his comeback from Tommy John surgery. He threw 20 fastballs, five more than he threw in his first mound effort on Sunday.

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