Hahn eyeballing increase on innings limit

Hahn eyeballing increase on innings limit

LOS ANGELES -- Jesse Hahn is absolutely certain when he's pitching next for the Padres, though he's not entirely sure when or how often it will occur after the All-Star break.

Not just because the Padres -- like about every other Major League team -- will reset their rotation after baseball's midseason breather, but because the team will take a close look at his projected workload for the second half.

Hahn, who starts Friday against the Dodgers, has pitched 73 innings this season between Double-A and the big leagues. He was initially targeted to throw about 110 innings this season after throwing 69 innings last year in the Rays' Minor League system.

But that initial projection, made in Spring Training, is likely due for an adjustment -- and an increase -- as the Padres look ahead to the second half.

"Having him reach new thresholds is important for his growth as a pitcher," said Padres assistant general manager A.J. Hinch. "He's done a great job with the added workload."

Hinch said that he will discuss with manager Bud Black, pitching coach Darren Balsley, bullpen coach Willie Blair and others in the front office to determine where the rookie should end up.

It's a conversation Hahn himself wouldn't mind being privy to, though for now the 24-year-old will keep taking the ball every fifth day until he can't.

"Right now, I have to do the best I can not to think about it. It's not my decision. At the end of the day, someone else is making that decision for me," Hahn said. "If it was up to me, I'd pitch the whole year. I just need to make sure I'm healthy and go out and pitch every fifth day until they tell me I can't.

"But I know I'm not going to throw 150, 170 innings this year."

Hahn has impressed in a small sample size, going 4-2 with a 2.34 ERA in six starts and 34 2/3 innings. He allowed three runs over seven innings the last time out against the Giants. He was stressed early in that start and went to his changeup more often than he has during any other time this season.

"The last game was the first time I really had to make an adjustment," Hahn said.

Hahn's fastball and big curveball -- a plus-pitch for him -- have allowed him to hold opposing hitters to a .192 average. He hasn't faced the Dodgers yet. He knows there's a new test every five days. So far, he's enjoying the challenge.

"This is the best my arm has felt in a long time," said Hahn, who had Tommy John surgery in 2010 and had his innings monitored very closely with the Rays thereafter.

"Just to be on the field every fifth day again is great. I always knew I could pitch. Being up here has been such a great learning experience."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.