Starting pitcher Matt Harrison #54 of the Texas Rangers pitches in the third inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on April 27, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Matt Harrison gave the Texas Rangers something to be optimistic about despite dropping a three-game series in Seattle while blowing two late leads.
Even though the Rangers couldn't hold on to a quality start from Harrison on Sunday — his first start since April 6, 2013 — they saw a lot of good from the lefty who pitched well enough in 2012 to earn Opening Day starter status in 2013 over Yu Darvish.
Harrison was his old self, getting ground balls and pounding the ball down in the zone. His velocity was in the lower 90s and he had pinpoint precision on the corners. He looked really darn good for a guy that hadn't pitched in more than a year and had had two back surgeries and thoracic outlet surgery over the past year.
"Glad to be back," Harrison told the Associated Press. "It's been a long road."
Harrison retired the first nine batters he faced before running into a bit of trouble in the fourth inning, but he ended up lasting six innings and throwing 95 pitches — 54 for strikes. He struck out four, walked two and gave up three hits while allowing two runs.
It was a pretty average start, a little above average, but considering Harrison's past year, it was a huge step for a guy that could immediately step into a No. 3 starter's role and eventually be a strong No. 2.