ARLINGTON (AP) — Matt Harrison was doing everything he could to get back in the Texas Rangers’ rotation for the pennant chase.
Their opening day starter will have to wait until next season.
“This is more frustrating than anything,” Harrison said Wednesday, a day after the AL West-leading Rangers said he wouldn’t pitch again this season. “I’m not mad, because I know I did everything possible to get back.”
Harrison made only two starts this season before having two operations in nine days on a herniated disk in his lower back. The last surgery was May 1.
Harrison was making his third rehab start Friday when he felt a twinge in his left elbow and numbness in his hand. Those symptoms are believed to be from his back not being strong enough and him over-compensating in his delivery.
“I felt like I was 100 percent and I guess my back was just not really ready for game speed, and it started getting weak again,” he said. “It’s not much pain there, just weakness, and it kind of started contributing to other parts of my body.”
The left-hander, who was still wearing a wrap on his left elbow, said he won’t pick up a ball again for at least three weeks.
Asked for the best way to sum up 2013, Harrison said, “Forgettable. … It’s just been rough. At this point, I’m just trying to clear my head and do as much as I can.”
This was the first year of Harrison’s $55 million, five-year contract that he got after winning 18 games and being an All-Star in 2012.
Harrison tried to pitch through lower back soreness his first two starts, but he had an 8.44 ERA while losing both. He had two epidural injections and a second opinion after going on the disabled list, but wasn’t able to avoid surgery.
When Harrison saw doctors a month ago they deemed him to be at 100 percent strength and cleared him for rehab.
“But that was just walking around strength,” he said. “I guess the more I got on the mound, the more I threw, and once those innings started building up, I guess that strength wasn’t where it needed to be.”
Based on how he was feeling, and the work he was able to do then, Harrison and the Rangers were getting more optimistic that he would be able to return this season.
Still, Harrison said he doesn’t feel as if he tried to come back too fast since he was cleared by doctors before doing his rehab. He is confident that he will be healthy and ready to go in 2014.
“The last few days have been kind of rough, just not knowing what I’m supposed to do,” he said. “We’ve got a game plan moving forward just to get everything right and try to focus on day to day. … I’m obviously not going to throw again this year, so just focus on getting 100 percent.”
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