Texas Rangers Rehab Interview Part II: Matt Harrison

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More Texas Rangers reinforcements are on the way.

Wednesday afternoon the Frisco Roughriders played one of those unpopular but existing 11:05 matinee baseball games. Players aren’t crazy about them, coaches, ushers and even the home plate umpire exited the game after the sixth inning due to the heat.

The crowd was nevertheless entertained. The Riders lost a wild game, 10-9 (moving to 1-1 in the second half of Texas League play) but the real showcase was the rehab starting assignments from Matt Harrison (back) and Josh Hamilton (hamstring).

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After the game, both players –as well as Texas Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux— spoke to members of the media.

Harrison last pitched in a major league game on May 13, 2014 in a shutout loss to the Houston Astros. Harrison has continued to rehab and made his fifth start of the season yesterday. After starting his first four games with the Round Rock Express, Harrison moved over to the RoughRiders for last night’s start. Harrison threw six innings, giving up three earned runs on nine hits with three strikeouts.

Matt Harrison

Getting better as the start goes?

"I didn’t feel as loose in the beginning. I wasn’t getting any extension on the ball, leaving some balls flat and up. After the third inning I felt great, ball was coming out good and had some more life on the ball. Off-speed stuff is better, hopefully I can do all that stuff at the same time at the beginning of the game."

Improving as the game goes on a key?

"Sometimes it’s the other way around. I’d like to be consistent all the way through. Not to (run) out of gas. I still feel good, like I could pitch now.I felt good warming up, towards the end of the bullpen I felt a little sluggish and it carried over to the game."

11:05 start affect you at all?

"No it’s just hot. 11:05 or not, it’s just hot. I was in Arizona pitching a 9:00 game so it’s better than Arizona I’ll tell you that."

Could you start five days from now for the Rangers?

"Yeah, I feel confident in myself to get outs."

How do you feel…as opposed to say, a month ago?

"The way I threw the last (three plus) innings, I felt like that was me again. The ball was coming out good, like I said I gotta do it the whole game. But I feel like with the stuff I have I can go compete and get guys out. I guess it’s just what they (Rangers brass) see and what they think from their point of view. I’m a little biased, I guess, in saying that I want to be up there, but that’s their decision."

How did fielding grounders feel?

"It was fine. Felt fine getting off the found. Feels good to have some balls hit back at me and be able to field some balls and see the ball off the bat and get some reps in."

Asked about how in shape he appears (because he certainly does).

"Yeah, best shape I can be in. Lost a lot of weight, I don’t really know how that happened. But it’s definitely helped me field better and put a lot less stress on my back. I did everything I could to get back to this point. It’s almost the same exact routine as before I got hurt.My wife said ‘How did you do that?’ She’s pissed. *laughs* But yeah, I lost like 20 pounds, I think it was, and I feel a lot better after losing it. Maybe it’s not those late night dinners after the ballgame. I’m ready to go, just waiting to see what’s next."

Next: Texas Rangers Rehab Interview Part I: Josh Hamilton

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