Matt Harrison had two initial thoughts after he was summoned Wednesday night to see general manager Jon Daniels during a Texas Rangers game.
“I thought I was either getting released or pushed back,” he said Saturday morning from Philadelphia. “
Instead, he was informed that he had been traded to the Phillies in a six-player package that brought back left-hander Cole Hamels and lefty reliever Jake Diekman. Harrison was stunned.
“The first day I was still in shock with everything that had just happened,” he said. “I didn’t expect to get traded with the issues I’ve had the last couple years. I guess I’m excited about a new beginning.
“I know the insurance policy on me is part of the reason I got traded, but they still have to want me here. They have a young team, and I’ve been around a while. I can talk to the younger guys that are here. Most of the guys who will be coming up are from Texas.”
He arrived in Philadelphia on Friday and was quickly placed on the disabled list with lower back inflammation. He was bothered by back stiffness in his start Monday and it hasn’t gone away, and the Phillies didn’t want to risk Harrison hurting something else as he compensated for the back.
He said that he was headed to the DL in Texas had the Rangers not traded him. Harrison has also been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, which doctors believe has caused his steady weight loss even though he has been taking in extra calories in an attempt to gain weight.
Harrison said that one theory as to why he has lingering back stiffness is that the hyperthyroidism has weakened his core muscles, and the weakness and the weight loss could be a factor in his inability to recapture his velocity.
While there are a load of sudden negatives that go with being traded, Harrison said that the trade to Philadelphia could be a plus for his career.
“I don’t know if in Texas there was stuff that I needed to work on. It’s just my velocity wouldn’t go up,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s a combination of things. I think it was just going to take time to get that back to where it was.
“I’ve been rehabbing long time and may have gotten in a rehab mode Maybe I needed something to get me going again. I don’t know.”
But that doesn’t mean he’s not going to miss the Rangers, who brought him to the organization in 2007 in the Mark Teixeira trade. Harrison was the longest-tenured Rangers player, and had played with Elvis Andrus since the trade from Atlanta.
“I’m going to miss the people around there, the town, and especially my teammates,” Harrison said. “I’ve been with those guys a long time. A lot of good friendships there that I’m going to miss. Will stay in touch by phone, but I’m never going to play with those guys again. It’s crazy.”
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760