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August 25, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers pitcher Matt Harrison, right, talks to bullpen coach Andy Hawkins, left, before the game against the Minnesota Twins at Rangers Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Harrison could be back mid-April

Surprise, ArizMatt Harrison started his first ‘A’ game for the Texas Rangers against the Kansas City Royals Monday nights.  Harrison pitched 1/2 innings/ pitches, he was only scheduled for 30 pitches/2 innings.

Harrison looked very good in the first inning, but he was knocked for 2 doubles and gave up 3 runs in the second, 1 run was unearned. Even though Harrison was charged 2 runs, he still had a good outing.  Harrison managed to get his fastball up in the high 80’s and was able to pitch down to his knees.   It appeared that he had full movement and no issues with his back.

Harrison’s thoughts: After the second inning, Harrison was asked how he felt, he said he felt fine and was experiencing no issues with his back.  Harrison is eager to get back to normal speed, but the Rangers are taking careful steps on bringing him back.  Harrison pitched a ‘B’ and also said he felt well after the game.   More importantly, his back felt well the next morning.

Jon Daniels thoughts: Even though Matt Harrison is pushing to get more inning and pitches, Jon Daniels and company are in no hurry to get him in the starting rotation.  Daniels knows there is a big need to fill out the starting rotation, but Harrison isn’t one of the 11 pitchers the Rangers are looking at for that role.  He wants to see Harrison slowly build up his innings and pitch count to ensure they don’t see any setbacks.  Daniels has Harrison on a slow program that has him building up his pitch count and innings and wants him to reach 100 pitches comfortable before he gets called up to a spot in the rotation.  Once camp breaks, Harrison will be sent to the minors, I would assume some time in Round Rock and maybe some in Frisco to build up his pitch count.  Once he is ready, and Daniels hopes that is around mid-April, then Harrison will get his chance.

My thoughts:  I agree with Jon Daniels thoughts.  Harrison is needed, but right now he is about 2-3 weeks behind on his spring training work due to his early back issues due to the soft mattress.  Harrison has about 2 weeks left in spring training, which might get him to 4 or 5 innings and around 50 to 60 pitches.  If he is able to get 3 weeks of play in April, then that puts him right on pace for a full spring training.  Harrison looks strong and I expect him to make the rotation.  At the very latest, he should be there by the start of May.

Tags: Matt Harrison

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