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Harrison Closer to Return

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 02: Matt Harrison #54 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum on October 2, 2012 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

    Colby Lewis was encouraging in his return to a big-league mound after 21 months away on Monday night, and his soon-to-be rotation mate Matt Harrison had another rehab outing looking to get back to the Arlington mound for the first time in 12 months.

    Harrison made two starts in 2013 after a stellar 2012 season that earned him Opening Day pitcher status and didn't have much success before being shut down and eventually undergoing multiple back surgeries, missing the entire season.

    On Monday, Harrison threw 3 1/3 innings, gave up three earned runs, six hits, three walks and fanned two. That's certainly not a pristine line, but the fact Harrison got his pitches in (throwing 71) and didn't feel pain was encouraging.

    The timetable for Harrison's return was originally set for next week, but you have to think the Rangers might want him to get a couple of outings of 100 pitches in, and most definitely one. He'd be scheduled to pitch again on Saturday, and then could possibly be ready for next weekend's series in Seattle.

    At this point, it seems more realistic to have him return the following week in Anaheim. Once he does get back, it will allow the Rangers to shuffle their pitching staff a bit more and get Tanner Scheppers back where he belongs — in a high-leverage bullpen role. The trickle down effect, assuming Harrison is effective, will be huge for the Rangers.