Matt Harrison didn’t put much stock into what he did Wednesday afternoon in North Carolina, because what he did just about anybody can do.
But the left-hander’s 65 throws into a net from 30 feet and 45 feet weren’t without significance. Those marked his first tosses since May 13, when his back flared up in a start at Houston and eventually put him on an operating table for fusion surgery.
It was another step toward returning to the Texas Rangers’ rotation, a possibility once thought to be remote. The Rangers still aren’t counting on Harrison in 2015, but they feel better about him coming back than they did eight months ago.
Harrison, meanwhile, is staying with the process rather than getting filled with vigor after the first day of a six-week throwing program.
“I’m not really looking at it like that,” Harrison said. “I probably won’t feel that until I’m up on a mound again.”
That will likely be in early March, he said. He will reach 120 feet by the start of spring training and then try to stretch out to 200 feet the first two weeks of camp.
Harrison will travel to Arlington next week and be on hand for the Rangers’ mid-winter pitching mini-camp Jan. 19.
The two vertebrae are 85 to 90 percent fused and should be at 100 percent by May. If he continues to trend the right way, he could be a possibility to join the Rangers at the end of May or in early June.
For that to happen, though, he has to feel like he did after his first throwing session.
“My back’s fine,” he said.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760