Haren: 'A lot of good stuff' in start

VIERA, Fla. -- It being a Spring Training start, Dan Haren was able to look at his third-inning hiccup on Tuesday as a positive.

The Nationals right-hander cruised through the first two frames of his second Grapefruit League start, retiring the first six Astros hitters he faced, before surrendering a run on two hits and a walk in the third.

"In Spring Training, if you do good, you feel great. If you do bad, you're just working on stuff," Haren joked. "That's what everyone says. So I was just working on things in the third inning. It is good, probably. You build endurance through pushing yourself. I got pushed that third inning. The walk kind of frustrated me, but besides that, two singles -- one of them was hit fairly well -- but besides that, I got most balls where I wanted them today."

Haren said most of his 50 pitches (34 were strikes) were fastballs and cutters, while mixing in one curveball and a handful of split-fingers. His final line: three innings, two hits, one earned run, one walk and two strikeouts.

"My split is a work in progress," Haren said. "Probably next game, I've got to focus a little bit on it. [Jose Altuve's RBI single] was a two-strike split, which just can't happen. A long ways to go, but definitely for the most part, a lot of good stuff."

Haren has been making an effort this spring to work the inside half of the plate against right-handers, and said he was pleased with his ability to do so on Tuesday. He expects to jump to 60-70 pitches in his next outing, which will come against the Tigers in Lakeland on March 10.

"As long as I come out and feel good, I'm just trying to really take care of myself in between," Haren said. "I'm doing a lot more in between starts in preparation for the start. Just recovery, and I want to go out there and feel good 30 times and help the team. I'm going to be out there regardless of how I feel. Am I going to feel great? Am I going to feel good? I'll be out there, though."

Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.