Having already started long tossing from 150 feet, Matt Harrison is well on his way to recovery. And that's great news for the Texas Rangers. After two disappointing, short-of-expectations, seasons, the Rangers will need all the help they can get to compete with the Oakland A's and the Los Angeles Angels in 2014.
Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says Harrison has been playing catch for nearly a month now, and he is confident he will be healthy in 2014. This, of course, comes after a terrible season in which Harrison underwent three surgeries in a five month span. The Rangers had expected him to carry the club through 2013. Instead, Harrison only made two starts right at the front end of the season.
The Rangers missed the playoffs in 2013 after finishing with just a Wild Card berth in 2012. That has become unacceptable in Texas after two-straight World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011. Texas hopes to bounce back in 2014, but they will have to do it with some new faces. There is a very good chance Nelson Cruz will not be back. The Rangers are also looking at some possible trades this offseason. Therefore, familiar faces will have to step up and compete at a level they've prove they can. That includes Harrison.
Harrison has a career 4.15 ERA. However, prior to his injury-plagued 2013 season, he had been making great strides toward being the club's true ace. In 2011, Harrison was 14-9 with a 3.39 ERA. In 2012, he was 18-11 with a 3.29 ERA. He may have continued to lower his ERA if he had not been injured at the start of this past season. Overall, Harrison has pitched in six Major League seasons. He has generally been an effective starter throughout his career.