To be honest, expecting Matt Harrison to bounce back in 2014 and put up year like he did in 2011 and 2012 following two back surgeries last year was probably a recipe for disappointment.
With that said, the Texas Rangers were at least hoping for a healthy Harrison to be able to be a No. 3 starter, at worst, after Derek Holland was injured and put on the shelf until July. Now, that seems to be in some sort of jeopardy, anyway, as Harrison was shut down from baseball activity on Thursday morning, when he was scheduled to throw live BP, and returned to the DFW area for an MRI on his lower back.
Harrison reportedly felt stiffness in his lower back after experiencing neck stiffness on Tuesday, and he admitted to reporters that there is some concern, though not serious, that it's the same stiffness he encountered before having to go under the knife last year after making just two starts for the Rangers in April 2013.
The good news? We're still more than a month away from Opening Day on March 31, but this setback could jeopardize Harrison's availability for the beginning of the season, even if it's determined the MRI reveals nothing serious. And you're already looking at a rotation that's short Holland and is in position to be starting Tommy Hanson, of all people.
The Rangers and Harrison are hoping nothing is seriously wrong and he can come in and hopefully get back to his pre-surgery self by maybe May or so while working through the first month of the season trying to get the feel back for being a big-league starter.
We'll know the results soon enough.