SURPRISE, Ariz. — For Texas Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison, Sunday’s bullpen session wasn’t a whole lot different than any of the other ones he’s thrown over the last month.
Harrison, who missed all but two starts last year because of a pair of back surgeries, will have a better idea of where he is Tuesday when he throws live batting practice for the first time.
For me the real test will be once I face a hitter and that adrenalin starts going and somebody steps in the box," he said. "We’ll see how I feel after that. I feel good today."
Rangers’ pitchers and catchers reported Sunday and Harrison was one of three starters who wasted little time in getting going. He threw 44 pitches in his bullpen session. Newly signed Tommy Hanson, who is vying for a rotation spot, threw 40 pitches in his first spring bullpen. Yu Darvish also threw his first bullpen, tallying 34 pitches.
Harrison is on the same throwing program as all the other starters this spring, including Colby Lewis. Lewis, who is trying come back from hip resurfacing surgery, is a full go for all spring activities according to Texas assistant general manager Thad Levine.
Harrison has been throwing bullpens regularly since the start of January. But even he said throwing in Arizona for the first time was a little different.
"I wouldn’t say nerves, a little more tense feeling," he said. "It’s nice to be outside. It’s arm. My body felt better being outside in the warm weather."
A healthy Harrison would go a long way to easing some of the concerns about the rotation, especially with the Derek Holland knee injury that will likely cost him half the season. The 18-game winner from 2012 knows that too but he’s not treating this spring any differently than those of Arizona’s past.
Just focus on day-to-day and what I need to do that day to get better," Harrison said. "Just stay on my back program and keep my back strong and keep my core strong and things will kind of fall into place. What happened to Derek is unfortunate but I can’t add any more pressure on myself to go out there and do something because if you push too hard it may be too much."
Staying patient is also hard for Harrison, whose last big-league came last April.
It’s been kind of boring because I started working out in October," he said. "It was a long offseason of working out and getting back healthy. It was what I needed to do to get right. At this point I don’t want to put any more pressure on myself. I know I need to be out there every five days to do my job. Hopefully I’m off the injury wagon."