Matt Harrison will be the latest Texas Rangers pitcher to make sports medicine history on Wednesday as he begins a rehab assignment with Triple-A Round Rock, exactly one year after he underwent spinal fusion surgery.
Harrison, whose career was, and still is, in pretty serious doubt as no pitcher has ever returned from such a surgery, will take a big step toward that on Wednesday when he begins his rehab assignment looking to get back to a big-league mound after two straight seasons (2013 and 2014) of seeing his year cut drastically short with back surgeries.
In 2012, Harrison went 18-12 with a 3.29 ERA — the best numbers of his career — and earned a nice $55 million deal from the Rangers, but since then he's pitched in only six games, and it's no guarantee he'll ever pitch in another one for the Rangers.
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If anyone can return, it's Harrison, who has that bulldog mentality that you absolutely love in starting pitchers. It's the same mentality the Rangers see in Colby Lewis, who last year became the first pitcher to ever pitch after an unprecedented hip resurfacing procedure.
He begins that long road on Wednesday, and if you thought Joey Gallo's and Josh Hamilton's recent ovations were loud, just wait until that day — if it ever comes — when Harrison makes his return to a mound in Arlington. That's going to be special.