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Haren ready for Australia if Dodgers' plans change

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Nothing is set in stone yet, but it's appearing more likely that Dodgers right-hander Dan Haren won't make the trip to Australia for the Opening Series between the Dodgers and D-backs.

Haren has spent the majority of Spring Training preparing as the club's third option for its two-game series in Australia behind left-hander Clayton Kershaw and righty Hyun-Jin Ryu. As of now, those two are healthy. So unless that changes, Haren doesn't think he'll go on the trip.

"If everything's OK with Kersh and Ryu … I think me not going is an option right now," Haren said. "But it's not a definitive answer yet."

That's the stance manager Don Mattingly is taking.

"We've got a plan put together, but it kind of depends on other factors, too, so I'm not going to rule anybody out of going," Mattingly said. "Everybody knows the situation, so it's just something where there is still some fluidity."

If needed, Haren is ready.

The right-hander was once again solid in the Dodgers' 7-5 win over the Royals at Surprise Stadium on Tuesday, throwing four innings of one-run ball.

"I was keeping the ball on the ground, for the most part, which is really good," said Haren, who threw 65 pitches. "I worked out of a few jams. I feel good. I could've went out for another one, but I didn't really need to at this point, with things kind of being settled now for Australia."

Haren could still make the trip as insurance, starting in the event that something were to happen with Kershaw or Ryu. But if the two remain healthy, Haren would have traveled for nothing.

And while he called the opportunity to play in Sydney a once-in-a-lifetime experience, Haren believes it would better for the club if he stayed in Arizona.

Haren also hopes that if he does remain in the U.S. he'll get a much-needed extra day of rest.

"I've been pushed pretty hard to this point, and I think if everything worked out and I didn't have to go, I could just take a few days where I could back off a bit," said Haren, who's made three Cactus League starts and another in an intrasquad game.

"I'm a little bit tired. I don't know if it's like dead arm or something like that, but it's a lot," he said. "I've thrown a lot so far for it being March 11."

That's not to raise a red flag. The 11-year veteran has done just fine in Cactus League play, allowing two runs in 10 innings while walking only two batters. Haren said he feels as good as he did in last season's second half with the Nationals, when he had a 3.52 ERA compared to a 5.61 mark in the first.

The difference was location. In the first half, Haren left the ball up.

On Tuesday, he proved he's ready if needed, as all seven hits he allowed were singles.

"It's more of just a mindset and more of an execution thing," Haren said. "Just making sure when I miss, I'm missing down in the zone, which I did today. And trying to work to get ground balls and in big spots trying not to do too much."

Cash Kruth is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Dan Haren