Texas Rangers

May 16, 2014

Rangers notes: Matt Harrison hopes his playing days aren’t over

Harrison could undergo career-threatening back surgery.

Matt Harrison is hoping his baseball playing days aren’t over.

Harrison hasn’t made a decision yet, but it appears to cure the symptoms in his back, he’ll have to undergo spinal fusion surgery, a career-threatening procedure.

Harrison has been diagnosed with spondylolisthesis, which causes significant nerve irritation. He’ll receive an injection Monday and could try to pitch through it, but conceded surgery is the most likely path back to the big leagues.

“It’s just a tough situation,” Harrison said. “I hate it. I’d give every dollar back just to be the way I was in 2012 again. It’s just tough swallow the way things have gone the past year and a half and things that are happening right now.”

Harrison signed a five-year, $55 million contract after the 2012 season, a year in which he made the All-Star team and won 18 games. He’s made only six starts since then.

Harrison started Opening Day last season and once more before undergoing a pair of back surgeries on a herniated disk. Harrison rehabbed and returned this season to make four starts, but left in the second inning in his start Tuesday in Houston with back stiffness.

The odds of him coming back after having such a surgery are not great and Harrison has to factor in his long-term health.

“Obviously your health is most important,” Harrison said. “I’m going to give it a shot if end up getting the surgery. But if I come back and things are the same or worse than they were before, it’s obviously not worth the risk.

“It’s really not worth me being 29-years-old and not being able to walk.”

Latest on Holland

Derek Holland wants to get back sooner than later.

“I’m biting at the bit,” Holland said. “You have no clue. I’m pretty furious I can’t be out there.”

Holland threw a three-inning simulated game Thursday in Arizona and is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Saturday in Arlington.

Holland, 27, continues to progress in his rehab after under going microfracture surgery on his left knee this past winter. He is feeling good and believes he’s ready to start a medical rehabilitation assignment.

But that decision will be left up to the Rangers and their medical staff.

Holland is in good spirits, though, after throwing 45-50 pitches in the simulated game. He fielded a bunt in each inning and rehabbing infielder Jurickson Profar was among the batters he faced.

Rotation matters

The Rangers adjusted their rotation after placing Martin Perez and Matt Harrison on the disabled list.

Robbie Ross and Nick Martinez will start the final two games against the Blue Jays, and Colby Lewis and Nick Tepesch will start the two-game series against the Mariners beginning on Tuesday.

The Rangers wanted to give Lewis a couple extra days’ rest and also put Martinez in a spot where they would have most bullpen pieces available with an off day Monday.


• Perez hasn’t made a final decision on whether he’ll undergo Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery to fix a partial tear in his UCL ligament in his left elbow. The Rangers and Perez will discuss the matter today.
• Washington on Michael Young, who will be honored during a pregame ceremony tonight: “The years that we’ve had our runs at the championship here, he was in the middle of it. … I think the greatest thing that could ever happen to the Texas Rangers organization is for Michael to be a part of it. Not only to this team, but what he did in the community and the people life’s he affected.”

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