ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 11: Matt Harrison #54 of the Texas Rangers throws against the Cleveland Indians at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on September 11, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
If all goes as planned, Texas Rangers starter Matt Harrison will return to a big-league mound about a year to the day after he last pitched in the major leagues.
Harrison, who was stellar for the Rangers in 2012 before making two starts last season and being shut down for the season, is recovering from multiple back surgeries and suffered a setback early in spring training thanks to a bad mattress. But now, he seems to be rockin' and rollin' on his way back to the Rangers' rotation.
In an outing on Sunday, Harrison's fastball sat between 90-93 mph, up from 88-90 mph in his previous showing. In 2012, when Harrison eclipsed 200 innings and won nearly 20 games, his fastball averaged 92.1 mph, so he's on his way to getting back to that number.
The Rangers hope he can make a couple of minor-league starts and be ready to pitch for them again by mid-April, possibly in the middle of a 10-game homestand featuring three light lineups with Houston, Seattle and the White Sox visiting Globe Life Park.
“I could tell that the ball was coming out better and that I was getting more extension,” Harrison told The Dallas Morning News. “As I threw more pitches, it got better. And as the velocity pushed up, my breaking ball got better.”