Left-hander Matt Harrison has been playing catch for nearly a month, and the Texas Rangers’ 2013 Opening Day starter is confident that he will be healthy in 2014 after enduring three operations over a five-month span.
Harrison, who is at his home in North Carolina as the winter meetings take place at the Walt Disney Swan and Dolphin Resort, is throwing three days a week as he works back into baseball shape.
He said that he stretched out to 150 feet Sunday without any issues. He is also running more and doing some limited core work to strengthen his back after two surgeries in April and May to fix a herniated disk.
Harrison is mostly recovered from a September surgery to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome.
“From what I’ve been able to get through so far, I think everything is going to be fine next year,” Harrison said. “The back feels good. It’s kind of weird not having any soreness after throwing.”
Harrison is expected to be part of the Rangers’ starting rotation, along with Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Martin Perez and Alexi Ogando. But some in the organization would like to see another quality starter acquired in case Harrison and Ogando, who was on the disabled list three times in 2013, break down again in 2014.
Managerial trio to Hall
Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox, three of the most successful managers of the past 30 years, were selected by the Expansion Era Committee for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Former Star-Telegram columnist and Rangers beat writer Jim Reeves was on the 16-member committee who unanimously voted in the three managers. Twelve votes were needed for the Hall.
No other candidate, including former union chief Marvin Miller and former Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, received more than six votes.
Roy Halladay, one of the game’s best pitchers the past 10 years, signed a one-day contract with Toronto so that he could retire with the team that selected him in the 1995 draft.
Halladay, who won 203 games and two Cy Young awards in his career, was derailed last season by shoulder issues, but said the main reason he retired is because of several back injuries.
General manager Jon Daniels confirmed that the Rangers had reached out to Halladay’s agent last month and were interested in adding him as rotation depth.
The Rangers were considered a possible landing spot for Halladay at the 2009 trade deadline, but were told he wouldn’t waive his no-trade clause. He was dealt by Toronto to Philadelphia after the season and spent the final four years of his career with the Phillies.
Big-league aid for Gallo
Rangers third-base prospect Joey Gallo, in town to receive the Joe Bauman Award for hitting the most minor league homers in 2013, is receiving hitting and fielding instructions this off-season with All-Stars Jason Giambi and Troy Tulowitzki.
For a second straight off-season, Gallo is working out with his fellow Las Vegas residents five days a week. He said that Giambi, also a left-handed power hitter, has dissected his swing and is helping him with his plate approach.
“Giambi pretty much works with me all the time,” Gallo said. “He’s taken me under his wings a little bit, showing me the ropes. That’s a great resource to have.”