ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The Texas Rangers are leaning toward skipping left-hander Matt Harrison in the rotation Thursday as their struggling opening day starter continues to deal with a sore back.
Harrison reported some improvement Tuesday, but canceled a bullpen session. Harrison is still scheduled to start Thursday in the series opener at Seattle.
“The last thing we want to do is compromise his arm by having him fight through it,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “Our responsibility is to make the right call for the long haul.”
Harrison said the issue is mostly back stiffness that is causing weakness in his left leg, and he’s been dealing with it for a couple of weeks.
After signing a $55 million, five-year contract in January, he entered Tuesday as the only pitcher with a loss to Houston after the Astros beat him on opening day. He followed that by giving up a pair of two-run home runs and falling behind 5-0 in an 8-4 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday.
Harrison is 0-2 with an 8.44 ERA.
“I’m just trying to make adjustments and manage it the best way I can,” Harrison said. “As pitchers, we want to be out there every five days. But if I’m making myself worse or hurting the team, it’s not worth it.”
Rangers manager Ron Washington wasn’t ready Tuesday to start discussing possible replacements for Harrison. Veteran right-hander Derek Lowe would be available out of the bullpen, and Justin Grimm, who made two starts for the Rangers as a rookie last year, is in Triple-A. Choosing Grimm would probably mean putting Harrison on the 15-day disabled list.
“We’ll just wait and see until we have to do something,” Washington said.
Washington said right-hander Yu Darvish’s right finger blister was progressing fine and he expected him to start Friday in Seattle.
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