PHILADELPHIA--Aaron Harang made his final start of the spring by throwing 104 pitches in 4 2/3 innings against the Pirates on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park.
The 36-year-old right-hander, and the Phillies No. 2 starter, will make his Philadelphia debut on Wednesday against visiting Boston. While the results against Pittsburgh left much to be desired -- nine hits, 4 earned runs, three walks and a hit batter - this outing was about making sure he is ready for the Red Sox after missing two starts earlier this spring due to discomfort in his lower back.
"It was about being safe than sorry," said Harang, about the missed assignments. "Arm-wise I feel great and I feel like everything is good. Obviously, this last [start] is like a fine tune-up to make sure everything is working and my off-speed pitches were working. I felt well tonight and I was just pitching behind in the count and missing with my location a bit with the fastball. Other than that I was able to get through those tough innings without too much damage."
Harang threw 99 pitches in his last outing on March 29 against Detroit and heavier pitch counts have gotten him stretched out while providing the confidence that his back issues are behind him.
"I know what I need to do in order to make sure I am ready for my first start of the season," he said. "I felt good [tonight] and told them I wanted to come back out for the fifth and try to get through it. They trust what I am telling them whereas if I were a younger guy it is probably a different scenario."
Tom Layberger is a contributor to MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.