Harang to start Opening Day

Greetings from Day One of Spring Training — pitchers and catchers have reported and several position players are here too.

There’s already some news to report:

Reds manager Dusty Baker gave no hesitation when asked about this — Aaron Harang will be the Reds’ Opening Day starter for the fourth-straight year. The Reds open on April 6 vs. the Mets.

“If we started tomorrow, he would be,” Baker said on Saturday morning. “If he stays healthy and everything stays the same, then yeah.”

Harang is coming off a career worse 6-17 record with a 4.78 ERA in 2008. Edinson Volquez, who went 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA, would have been the natural candidate if Baker decided to change the rotation order, but that’s not happening.

“I think No. 1, he’s been the Opening day starter the last few years,” Baker said of Harang. “I’m not going have one down year spoil the last three. Confidence and all kinds of things are involved.”

It was clear that Harang wasn’t dwelling on his lousy 2008 season.

“I flushed last year down the can,” Harang said. “I didn’t even look back over my shoulder.”

Harang appeared to have taken off about 20 pounds over the winter too and looked in great shape. He said he started working out earlier this year and changed his eating habits by going on the Zone Diet and exercising some portion limits.

“I feel like it will keep me more durable during the season in the long run,” Harang said. “Hopefully this will give me a shot to get another 15-20 innings in.”



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