Rangers shut down Matt Harrison with back stiffness, MRI next

Matt Harrison might be playing the waiting game a bit longer than he’d hoped. (USATSI)
Matt Harrison might be playing the waiting game a bit longer than he’d hoped. (USATSI)

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Rangers lefty Matt Harrison has been working his way back from a pair of back surgeries that limited him to just two starts in 2013. Now, though, Harrison has suffered a setback. Drew Davison of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram writes that Harrison has been shut down from all baseball activities after experiencing stiffness in his lower back. Davison reports that Harrison will undergo an MRI on Thursday and then return to Dallas for further evaluation on Monday. 

"Not a big alarm, but a little bit concerned," Harrison said. "I just hope that it’s not a serious issue and something I can take a few days down and stay on top of my core program and get right back out there. Hopefully that’s the case, but it’s not fair to say that I’m not worried about it, because I’ve had a lot of issues recently."

Harrison, 28, owns a career ERA+ of 107 across parts of six major-league seasons. In 2012, he finished eighth in the AL Cy Young balloting and made the All-Star team as he pitched to a 3.29 ERA and 2.25 K/BB ratio in 213 1/3 innings of work. Harrison was similarly effective in 2011. He's entering the third season of a six-year, $57.95 million contract. 

Harrison's setback comes when the Rangers are already stretched in the rotation: Derek Holland will perhaps miss the entire first half of the season after injuring his left knee in January.

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