ARLINGTON — Left-hander Matt Harrison will return to Frisco on Saturday for his fourth rehab start on his way back from back surgery last year, and he might be asked to make two additional outings before rejoining the Texas Rangers’ rotation.General manager Jon Daniels said that April 24, the soonest Harrison could return, isn’t a firm target date. Harrison can stay on assignment until May 3, which could give him enough time to make three more starts.“I would suspect he’ll make a couple more,” Daniels said. “He’s healthy. It’s more of his effectiveness and fine-tuning his stuff and building up his stamina.Harrison will be asked to throw 95 pitches or work six innings Saturday after throwing 77 pitches in 3 1/3 innings Monday on a cold, wet day in Little Rock, Ark. Rain washed out his start Sunday, and also cut short his first rehab start April 3.“I’ve got to get 3 1/3, obviously,” Harrison said. “I know I’m getting close. It’s just staying healthy, one, and being a little more effective.”A return next weekend at Seattle could prove beneficial for the Rangers. Harrison is 5-1 with a 0.99 ERA in eight career games, including six starts, at Safeco Field.Soto in JulyGeovany Soto was the Rangers’ leader this spring in one significant category — surgeries.The catcher had two surgeries, one a minor procedure to remove a bone from his left foot and the other a meniscus repair in his left knee that will keep him out until July.Soto has been hobbling around the Rangers’ clubhouse during the homestand as he enters the beginning phases of his rehabilitation. The focus is on strengthening his leg, but also trying to let it heel.He has three more weeks in a knee brace before he will be allowed to work his way back to baseball activities. “It’s tough. It’s really tough,” Soto said Thursday morning. “You worked so hard to try to put a season together and be there for your teammates and help the club win. It’s just tough to be sidelined and have to watch the games.”Soto injured his knee late in camp when it locked up while he was catching. He didn’t think the injury was serious, but an MRI revealed significant damage.“Sooner or later if you play or catch every day, you’re prone to something happening,” Soto said.Perez impressingSo far, the sophomore slump has been bypassed by left-hander Martin Perez, who won 10 times in 2013 as a rookie and will try for his third win Friday against the Chicago White Sox.The key for Martin, manager Ron Washington said, has been an ongoing commitment to learning about his opponents and quickly recognizing the adjustments he needs to make.“He’s done a good job of learning how to study,” Washington said. “More than the studying part, he’s doing a good job of applying it. He’s learning how to do it pitch to pitch, inning to inning, and game by game. That must continue.”Perez beat the White Sox in 2013, allowing four runs in seven innings Aug. 23 at U.S. Cellular Field while opposed by All-Star and fellow lefty Chris Sale.Sale won’t pitch in the three-game series that ends Sunday, when an upper-reserve ticket at Globe Life Park can be had for $5.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST