MINNEAPOLIS -- Dan Haren, bothered by lower-back stiffness during Tuesday night's rough outing, still expects to be ready for his next scheduled start, on Monday against the Athletics at Angel Stadium.
The Thursday off-day, it turns out, was perfect timing for the Angels' No. 2 starter.
"It comes at a good time," Haren said on Wednesday. "I'm going to take it easy today, and then tomorrow take it completely off."
Haren began feeling tightness in his back during his pre-start bullpen session at Target Field and was never really able to shake it off in the Angels' 5-0 loss to the Twins, pitching just 3 2/3 innings -- the least he has hurled in a start since 2005 -- while giving up five runs on eight hits and two walks.
Haren, who has never gone on the disabled list in his 10-year career, was pushed back three days last June because of lower-back tightness that took two weeks to completely go away. This latest pain, he says, doesn't hurt nearly as much.
"Really it's not too bad, just doing everyday stuff, walking around," said Haren, who's 1-3 with a 4.19 ERA in seven starts. "I can still play catch and stuff. When I take it to the next level, 100 percent on the mound, is when I get a little bit of stiffness. It's just kind of not letting me get extended. I have to do some stuff to lengthen my back and make sure I keep it warm throughout the game."