ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 08: Matt Harrison #54 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Colorado Rockies in the top of the first inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on May 8, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Just a day ago, we talked about how Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said there's only so much a team can take when it comes to injury hits to the starting rotation.
On Tuesday night in Houston, Daniels saw his worst nightmare come true just days after Martin Perez was found to have elbow inflammation and seemed destined to land on the disabled list. Matt Harrison, who'd pitched well in his first three outings since a return from more than a year away from the majors, had a bout of back stiffness and left Tuesday's game before he could even get out of the second inning.
Harrison, of course, missed more than a year after two surgeries stemming from a herniated disk in his back and had finally worked his way back to the big-league mound. Now, he's heading back to DFW to meet with back specialist Dr. Drew Dossett.
"Frustration to begin with and then thinking about what happened last year and all I went through to get back. I really don't want to have to go through that again," Harrison told reporters after the game. "I'll find out definitely tomorrow what's going on and get my head wrapped around that. I really don't want to have that issue again. I'm just praying for that."
Doesn't sound promising, as Harrison also said he felt like he was throwing all with his arm, meaning the back was too weak to contribute at all — not a good sign.
Maybe Harrison's back stiffness is nothing serious this time, but even if it's not, the Rangers will be super-cautious with it and he's almost certainly going to be on the DL for at least 15 days.
Another bad sign in Tuesday's outing, which yielded three runs on four hits and three walks, was the fact that Harrison's fastball was sitting in the 86-88 mph range when he had averaged 90.1 mph this season, according to FanGraphs.com.
Maybe this just isn't the Rangers' year. It's certainly starting to look that way, even in mid-May.