Matt Harrison and the Texas Rangers received good news Monday.
Harrison, who had been dealing with lower back stiffness, was examined by back specialist Drew Dossett, who did not find anything too alarming. The MRIs were clean and Harrison received a nerve-block injection in the right side of his neck for discomfort there.
Harrison will fly back to Arizona on Tuesday, resume cardio work on Wednesday and begin the early stages of a throwing program on Thursday. He is not expected to be ready by Opening Day, though.
“We do feel this likely puts him behind coming into the season,” assistant general manager Thad Levine said. “The nature of how far behind he is is yet to be determined based on how he gets through this throwing program. We’re very optimistic about near-term recovery.”
Harrison made only two starts last season, undergoing a pair of back surgeries in late April and early May last season. He had a third surgery later in the year for thoracic outlet syndrome in his right side.
In other injury news:• Outfielder Alex Rios (sore left big toe) has been cleared to resume baseball activities after missing three consecutive days.
• Left-hander Derek Holland (microfracture surgery on left knee) is scheduled to meet with team physician Keith Meister today. No date has been set for him to come to camp, but the team is pleased with the progress he’s made so far by staying in Texas.
• Right-hander Tanner Scheppers (back spasms) is scheduled to throw a bullpen today.
• Catcher Geovany Soto (left foot surgery) is expected to be back in camp today.
• Right-hander Ben Rowen (biceps tendinitis) will start a throwing program the first week of March. The reliever put up solid numbers in the minor leagues last year and was a strong candidate to get called up to the big leagues. Assistant general manager Thad Levine said Rowen entered as a strong candidate to make the Rangers’ bullpen, but admitted the prospect of him breaking camp with the team now has diminished.
• Infielder Kevin Kouzmanoff has been scratched from today’s intrasquad game with a sore back.