Left-hander Matt Harrison has been a major league pitcher since 2008, yet he has felt like a newcomer every time he has pitched this spring.
His back woes from 2013 have left him seeking a new between-starts routine, and he has had to tinker with it as he figures out what works to keep him feeling loose.
The process will continue for four more starts before he takes the mound for the Texas Rangers during the regular season. While he might be searching for the perfect workout, the best news is that he continues to feel fine.
That was the case Friday night even though he surrendered four first-inning runs to the Houston Astros, who built a 5-1 lead and then hung on to beat the Rangers 6-5 in the first of two games during Big League Weekend at the Alamodome.
“It’s a constant adjustment each time out,” Harrison said. “My whole routine is different.”
His next start will be Thursday for Double A Frisco, and he is scheduled for three more before possibly being ready to pitch for the Rangers on April 23. He said his off-speed pitches were good against the Astros, but he felt some adrenaline in the first inning that had him gripping the ball too tightly.
Rookie right-hander Nick Martinez was the pitching star for the Rangers. The No. 5 starter retired the first six batters he faced and allowed only one run in five innings.
Adrian Beltre, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Michael Choice hit home runs for the Rangers.