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Paving The Road

ST. LOUIS–Dan Haren’s stay at Double-A Tennessee might not last long.

Haren, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound righthander, was 4-0, 1.09 in his first five starts for the Smokies. He had three walks and 26 strikeouts in 33 innings.

"This is what it’s all about when guys get to that level," scouting director Marty Maier said. "If they can go to Double-A and compete at that level, they’ve got a pretty good chance. A lot of guys make jumps from the Double-A level to the big leagues."

With pitchers like Haren, Jeremy Cummings, Blake Hawksworth, Jimmy Journell, Rhett Parrott, Justin Pope and Chris Narveson, the Cardinals find it easy to get excited.

Haren, a second-round pick in the 2001 draft from Pepperdine, takes a back seat to none of them.

"This guy is capable of being one of the best guys we’ve signed over the last few years," Maier said. "He’s really matured. His game has always been pretty good. Now he’s got a better idea of what he needs to do on the mound."

Haren was a combined 10-9, 3.48 last year between low Class A Peoria and high Class A Potomac. He led the minor leagues in innings (194) and had a 5.5-1 strikeout-walk ratio, earning the organization’s No. 1 prospect label.

Haren’s low- to mid-90s fastball, slider, changeup and splitter have been too much for Southern League hitters. Maier said some of the credit goes to minor league pitching coordinator Mark Riggins.

Riggins doesn’t get credit for Haren’s hitting ability, though. He was a DH at Pepperdine and still can swing the bat. Haren hit .308-5-47 for Pepperdine in 2001 and had homered in eight at-bats this year for the Smokies.

Redbird Chirps

• Second baseman Shaun Boyd, the Cardinals’ first-round selection in the 2000 draft (13th overall), continued to struggle defensively. Boyd, who committed 40 errors last year, had 11 in his first 18 games this season at high Class A Palm Beach.

• The Cardinals demoted John Gall to Tennessee after the first baseman batted .179-0-7 in 67 at-bats at Triple-A Memphis. Gall hit .231-1-2 in his first three games with the Smokies.

• Previous organization report: Nick Stocks

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