With Cliff Lee not likely to jump into the rotation when the regular season begins in three weeks, the Phillies could use some good news on their starting rotation front. They got some on Monday morning.
Aaron Harang threw a bullpen session and gave himself the green light to jump back into the spring starting rotation Thursday night in Tampa against the New York Yankees.
Harang has already had two of his spring starts scratched with back issues. Harang's most recent start was scheduled for Saturday in Lakeland.
Following his bullpen session on Monday, Harang said he still has plenty of time to be ready for the start of the regular season.
"It's frustrating, but it's not as frustrating if this was later in camp," Harang said. "I don't view this as any type of setback. I can progress through and catch up on my innings very easily. Just talking with (pitching coach Bob McClure), trying to figure out the best way to build up and be ready. It's not that hard for me to know when I need to do."
The 36-year-old Harang will likely throw 2-3 innings on Thursday. He could have as many as three more starts (after Thursday) before the regular season, with two more in the Grapefruit League and an additional in the on-deck series at Citizens Bank Park on Easter weekend, just before Opening Day.
Harang, who signed a one-year, $5 million deal this winter as a free agent, said he and the Phillies training staff is simply "being smart" this spring.
"(We're) being cautious," Harang said. "There's no reason to push this because you don't want it to linger on."