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Harrison Progressing Further in Historic Recovery



    Harrison Progressing Further in Historic Recovery
    Getty Images
    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)

    Matt Harrison wasn't supposed to ever pitch again in the majors, and it's still no guarantee he will.

    But for the veteran lefty who was the Rangers' Opening Day starter after signing a five-year, $55 million has made fewer starts than he has fingers in the two years since he signed that deal, the progress he's making is definitely encouraging.

    Harrison is in Surprise, Ariz., at extended spring training along with Martin Perez, who's rehabbing from Tommy John, and newly acquired outfielder Josh Hamilton, and the big lefty is set to make a start in an extended spring training game on May 12 — a day off the anniversary of his most recent of three back surgeries that fused his lumbar vertebrae.

    “I don’t want to get too excited because of all I’ve been through the last couple years,” Harrison told The Dallas Morning News. “But I am excited that I feel good throwing off the mound again.”

    That, alone, is a huge deal considering Harrison's surgery and the history behind it.

    In fact, no pitcher has ever had the surgery and pitched again. Only one known player, former third baseman Dallas McPherson, has had the surgery and played again, but that was a short-lived tenure that included just 26 at-bats before he eventually retired.

    If Harrison can get back on the mound for the Rangers, it'd be a modern sports medicine miracle and would be a huge boost to the Rangers' weakened rotation, especially if you look back to what Harrison did in his last two healthy seasons — 2011 and 2012 — when he threw 399 innings and had 32 wins.