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Thoracic outlet syndrome shortened the 2009 season for both Detroit's Jeremy Bonderman and Texas' Matt Harrison, but each pitcher has been promising at times this month.

The two recovering starters will square off Monday night as the Tigers try to finish their 11-game road trip by salvaging a split of a four-game set with the Rangers.

Complications from thoracic outlet surgery limited Bonderman to a combined 13 starts in 2008 and 2009, while Harrison had an operation to correct a similar shoulder problem after 11 outings last year.

Both were ready in time for the start of this season, and Bonderman (1-1, 7.20 ERA) has been solid in two of his three starts despite his poor overall ERA.

The right-hander allowed one hit and one run in five innings of a 4-2 win over Cleveland on April 10, then rebounded from an ugly outing against Seattle with six strong innings during Detroit's 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday.

The Tigers (10-9) could certainly use another good start after their bullpen was forced to work 10 innings in the last two games. Right-hander Rick Porcello struggled in Sunday's 8-4 loss as Detroit's AL-worst starting rotation ERA grew to 5.83.

"It's simple," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "This is about pitching, and right now our starting pitching has not pitched well."

Detroit, which is 4-6 on its longest road trip of the season, won 8-4 on Saturday after opening the series with a 5-4 defeat Friday night.

Texas third baseman Michael Young posed the biggest problem for the Tigers on Sunday, going 3 for 4 with five RBIs. The veteran could be in store for another strong game Monday, considering he is 7 for 18 (.389) with two homers against Bonderman.

The Rangers (8-10) have been inconsistent offensively during their shaky start and struggling slugger Josh Hamilton had Sunday off, making Young's big day even more important.

"We needed one of our guys in the middle of that lineup to come through, and Michael did it," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I can't say enough about what he can do in crucial situations."

Harrison (0-1, 4.24) struggled in an 8-7, 12-inning loss at Boston on Wednesday. That was the sixth straight defeat for the Rangers, who have since recovered to win three of four.

Harrison, who gave up six runs in four innings against the Red Sox, will try to bounce back with an effort that looks more like his first two outings. He gave up two earned runs and 11 hits in 13 innings to start the year.

The left-hander has struggled against the Tigers, going 0-2 with a 7.59 ERA in two 2009 starts - both at Detroit.

One player Harrison did not face last year is Detroit rookie Austin Jackson. The highly-touted outfielder, acquired from the New York Yankees in the offseason, hit his first major-league home run Sunday and is 4 for 9 in the last two games.

Another former Yankee, newcomer Johnny Damon has also been hot for the Tigers, batting .429 during a 12-game hitting streak.

The Rangers can exceed their 2009 win total against Detroit with a victory Monday. Texas went 2-7 against the Tigers last year after posting a 3-6 mark in the 2008 season series.

Tagged: Tigers, Rangers, Michael Young, Jeremy Bonderman, Matt Harrison

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