Matt Harrison’s sudden departure from the Texas Rangers’ clubhouse hit his teammates hard.
Harrison, one of the most beloved players among the organization, fans and media who was named 2014 Harold McKinney Good Guy Award in February, was not in the clubhouse before the Rangers’ game with the Yankees on Thursday at Globe Life Park.
He had been told to stay home by the club while the eight-player trade with the Phillies, which broke Wednesday night, was finalized. Harrison’s name had not surfaced as part of trade speculation so the move took him and his teammates by surprise.
“He was like my brother. We came here together from the Braves,” said Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus, who was part of a blockbuster 2007 trade that sent Mark Teixeira to the Braves for five prospects, including Andrus and Harrison. “We went through so many good times here in Texas. I’m really sad he got traded but I wish him the best of luck. It was a shock for sure. I just hope he stays healthy. He’s a great person.”
Making the Harrison move tougher is the improbable comeback he has made from spinal fusion surgery this summer.
“He inspired everybody, not only people in baseball but in life,” catcher Robinson Chirinos said. “Doctors said it was impossible but God gave him another chance to come back and pitch.”
While shocked by the news, Chirinos and his teammates were quick to pivot to the realities of the business of baseball.
“It was a sad day to lose a guy who has been in the clubhouse for six years,” pitcher Colby Lewis said. “He’s been there for a lot of guys. It sucks.”
But Lewis, a veteran who has been through his own unlikely comeback from injuries, understands the impersonal aspects of the business.
“You develop relationships and friendships,” he said. “I do feel like with JD [Jon Daniels], Thad [Levine] and the front office the trust aspects and parts of everyday life. But they still have to do their job and we have to do ours. It’s part of the game that nobody really likes.”
Rangers left-hander Derek Holland threw 39 pitches in his first rehab start for Triple A Round Rock on Thursday night. Holland left the game after allowing a two-run single in the second. He threw 22 strikes and gave up two runs on two hits, a walk and struck out three.
He was on a limit of two innings or 35 pitches. Reports from Dell Diamond had his fastball in the mid-90s. He’ll pitch again on Tuesday, likely three innings or 50 pitches. He’ll make his third rehab start for Double A Frisco next weekend.
Catcher Carlos Corporan also made his first rehab start Thursday for Round Rock. He has been out with a torn ligament in his left thumb since July 13. He flew out and walked in two plate appearances before leaving the game.
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760