April 10, 2013

Rangers notes: Matt Harrison lands on DL; Justin Grimm to take his rotation spot

An inflamed nerve in his lower back puts Harrison on the disabled list for the first time since 2010.

Matt Harrison and the Texas Rangers weren’t going to risk further injury this early in the season. That’s why Harrison landed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday, retroactive to Saturday, with an inflamed nerve in his lower back.

The Rangers will recall Justin Grimm from Triple A Round Rock to start Thursday’s game in Seattle.

“It’s frustrating, but it’s early in the season,” said Harrison, who hasn’t been on the DL since 2010. “We were hoping it would take care of itself and work out where I was able to throw again but it just didn’t progress like we thought it would.

“I don’t want to overcompensate anywhere else and have arm issues. It’s better to miss two starts than end up missing 20.”

Harrison lands on the DL less than two weeks into the season. Last year, the Rangers didn’t place somebody (Neftali Feliz) on the DL until May 21.

Harrison has been dealing with the back issue for the past couple of weeks, and went 0-2 with an 8.44 ERA in his first two starts. He had an epidural on Sunday and will stay in Texas to receive more treatment.

Grimm, 24, has made one start at Round Rock, allowing one run on four hits over 5 2/3 innings. He made his major league debut last season and had two stints with the Rangers, going 1-1 with a 9.00 ERA over five appearances, including two starts.

“Exciting opportunity,” Grimm said. “I feel confident. I’m going to try and take it in and not change anything up. Attack hitters like I’ve been doing.”

Darvish ready

The blister-like issue on his right finger isn’t going to force Yu Darvish to alter his pitching style Friday against the Mariners. At least that’s what he said publicly.

“Even if I had to make adjustments, I’m not going to tell you guys,” Darvish said.

With the skin around the area of his ring finger healing nicely, Darvish is now focused on Seattle. It was a team that Darvish didn’t pitch well against in 2012, posting a 6.65 ERA over four starts.

But the Mariners don’t have Ichiro Suzuki anymore, which could help Darvish settle down against them.

“I still haven’t looked at their lineup after Ichiro’s gone,” he said. “But I’m sure they added some great bats. I still haven’t looked at the video yet.”

Getting comfortable

Jason Frasor doesn’t have the best career numbers at Rangers Ballpark. In fact, his 6.91 ERA at his new home stadium is his highest in ballparks in which he has at least five appearances.

But Frasor had a 1-2-3 ninth inning Tuesday night, a step forward after surrendering two home runs in his home debut with the Rangers on Saturday.

“There’s nothing like a big-league zero,” Frasor said. “The previous outing, it’s not like I was out there walking guys. They clocked a few. What are you going to do?

“But there are parks where the mound feels real comfortable, feels close. There are parks where it feels normal. And then there are parks where you feel like you need to crow-hop it to get it to the plate. This one doesn’t feel close to me… yet. Hopefully the more I pitch, the more comfortable I get.”

High praise

Nick Tepesch didn’t do anything too special to celebrate his first major league victory. He spent some time with his parents and brother at their hotel, and had what he called “an ordinary night.”

But the day after his 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball garnered compliments throughout the clubhouse. The biggest came from Ron Washington, who compared Tepesch’s debut to debuts of three pitchers he witnessed as a coach in Oakland — Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson and Barry Zito.

“Very polished,” Washington said. “They didn’t have overpowering stuff, but knew how to manipulate the baseball and wasn’t fazed by the atmosphere they were in. They did what they always have done, and that’s pitch.”


• The Rangers traded catcher Juan Apodaca to the Rays for cash considerations Wednesday. Apodaca was on the Triple A Round Rock disabled list and had yet to appear in a game for the Express. The Rangers acquired catcher Robinson Chirinos from the Rays on Monday for cash considerations or a player to be named later, but the Apodaca move does not complete that trade.
• Elvis Andrus on facing his fellow Venezuelan countryman and Mariners ace Felix Hernandez tonight: “I love to face him. He’s one of the toughest guys you face and you don’t get a base hit or good at-bat on him very often. But it’s fun to face him.”
• Pitching coach Mike Maddux had to go to the dentist and missed some of Wednesday’s game after a crown came off. Bullpen coach Andy Hawkins filled in.

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