Harrison adds fourth pitch

Although he has year to appear in a game as a member of the Rangers organization, left-handed pitcher Matt Harrison has continued to develop on the mound. Lone Star Dugout recently spoke with the 22-year-old about his health, his new pitch, and his offseason.

"They thought it was my shoulder, but it was my foot that was causing all the problems," said Matt Harrison when asked about his recent health issues.

When the Rangers acquired left-handed pitcher Matt Harrison in a deadline deal that included Mark Teixeira, there had been concerns expressed about the health of his left shoulder. However, Harrison says it was just a foot injury and he is over the problem.

"I had something like turf toe," he said. "It was causing my shoulder to tighten up, but there wasn't anything wrong with my shoulder. It was just stiff."

Harrison, who is currently resting at his home, rehabbed the injury at the Rangers' minor league complex in Surprise, Ariz, after he was acquired.

"I rehabbed it for a couple of weeks," replied Harrison. "I started throwing again in the middle of August. Since then I was just throwing off flat ground, but the past couple of weeks I've been throwing bullpens. Everything has felt fine."

The 22-year-old native of North Carolina played his first full season with the Double-A Mississippi Braves in 2007 and put up strong numbers, posting a 3.39 ERA in 116.2 innings. Over that time, he allowed 118 hits, walked 34 and struck out 78. Harrison was generally pleased with the performance.

"I started off pretty good," he said. "I had a little rough spot and couldn't get some run support in a few games, but I can't make that excuse. The season went pretty well."

Despite being a southpaw, Harrison has often struggled to retire left-handed hitters throughout his professional career. They batted .288 off him in 2007 while righties hit only .255.

Though he already worked with a three-pitch repertoire, Harrison felt it was time to add another offering.

"I said something to my pitching coach about not being able to get left-handers out using my curveball," said Harrison. "He told me to start working on a slider during my next bullpen session."

Harrison was only able to use the slider in a few starts before he was shut down, but he was satisfied with it in Arizona.

"[The slider] has come along pretty good," said the 6-foot-5 lefty. "I used it a few times before I had to shut it down for rehab last month. I was using it in Arizona and it's a pretty good pitch for me."

The Rangers recently announced that Harrison would make up for lost time by pitching in the Arizona Fall League, which begins in early October. However, Harrison will return to Surprise in less than two weeks to get work with the Instructional League.

"I leave on the 23rd for a week and a half of instructional league just so I can get back into throwing in games," said Harrison.

Harrison will be a starting pitcher in the Fall League and plans to pitch about once per week.

"[The Rangers] said they wanted me to get about 30 or 40 innings during the Fall League," he said. "I think I'll get about four or five innings per week down there."

The southpaw hopes to use the league as an opportunity to further develop his slider.

"I really want to work on it," said Harrison of his slider. "It's alright, but controlling it is going to be the hard part. I have a really good feel of it. If I continue to throw it in games and get a little more comfortable with it, it should be fine."

Future Rangers Top Stories