Rangers Harrison making strides in rehab process

DALLAS — High on the Texas Rangers wish list for Christmas this year has to be a healthy Matt Harrison.

With a week to go before the holiday, everything in on track for Harrison to be able to deliver a healthy 2014 season.

The Texas Rangers left-hander, who was limited to two starts in 2013 because of three surgeries, is throwing again and could get back on a mound next week.

“My back is doing well,” said Harrison, who had a pair of surgeries on his back for herniated disks this year. “I’m throwing right now. I’m back to about 150 feet now. I’ve been throwing about a month now, off and on, two or three times a week. The plan was for next week during the Christmas week to start getting off the mound a little bit.”

A healthy Harrison would provide a huge boost to the Texas rotation in 2014. He was an All-Star and the team’s pitcher of the year in 2012, which helped him earn a five year, $55-million contract. But the back issues along with surgery for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome on high right shoulder doomed his 2013 season.

As eager as Harrison is to get back to his 2012 form, he knows there’s no need to push things in December.

“I normally wouldn’t step on a mound until the middle of January,” he said. “This is about a month early but the reason being is they didn’t want to rush into stuff and be like ‘Oh crud’ spring training is right around the corner and this allows me time to go back the right way.”

Harrison said he’ll start throwing on the mound at around 50 or 60 percent. He’s done core work to strengthen his back and the team’s medical staff is pleased with his progress. Harrison doesn’t expect to be limited when the Rangers begin spring training in the middle of February.

“I feel good to go and should be ready for Opening Day,” he said. “It’s not about how quick I can get back. It’s more about taking each step a little bit slower, working my way up to where I need to be a lot earlier.”