May 8, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux (31) speaks to starting pitcher Matt Harrison (middle) during the game at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Harrison Undergoes Spinal Fusion Surgery


ARLINGTON, Tex. — Texas Rangers LHP Matt Harrison underwent spinal fusion today. According to T.R Sullivan (TexasRangers.com) the surgery was performed by Dr. Drew Dossett in Texas.

Matt Harrison exited the game early during his last start on May 13. The following day Harrison was placed on the 15-Day disabled list due to lower back inflammation. However, later that day we would learn that Matt Harrison suffered from Spondylolisthesis.

Spondylolisthesis: a condition in which a bone (vertebra) in the spine slips out of the proper position on the the bone below it

Harrison really only had two options: 1) Try to continue to pitch and live with the pain or 2) Undergo surgery that could potentially end his career but could tremendously reduce the amount of pain he is in.

Matt Harrison opted for spinal fusion surgery, which permanently joins 2 or more vertebrae in the spine so there is no movement between them. Although the Texas Rangers have not released any further details, Harrison is expected to miss the rest of the 2014 season. Undoubtedly he will do everything he can to come back stronger and better; however, after undergoing this type of surgery that probably will not happen.

The Rangers signed Matt Harrison to a 5-year/$55MM contract in 2013. Since the start of 2013 he has pitched in only 6 games. In the past two seasons he has a pitch line of 28.0 IP, 34 H, 19 R, 18 ER, 3 HR, 19 BB, 22 SO with a 5.79 ERA.

I think we were all rooting for Matt Harrison and hoping that he wouldn’t need to undergo surgery. Although this is most certainly a difficult time for him and his family, I think this is probably the best decision for his overall health in the long-run.  

Even if Harrison can’t come back as a pitcher, I think the Texas Rangers will find a place for him with the team. Jon Daniels seems to really like him, as do the fans and players, so it would make sense for him to have a permanent home with the Texas Rangers.

On behalf of the Nolan Writin’ staff we wish Matt Harrison a speedy recovery.

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