The rain may have ultimately postponed the baseball game but it didn’t dampen Matt Harrison’s rehab start with the Frisco RoughRiders on Thursday night. Harrison was named the starter for the Rangers’ Double-A club for Opening Day at Dr Pepper Ballpark.
The ‘Riders took on the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, the Royals’ Double-A club, and were able to get in two full innings before the storm hit with a heavy rain falling and soaking the field. The game was postponed to a doubleheader which was played yesterday. In his two innings of work, Harrison got two quick outs in the first before allowing two earned runs off of three hits before retiring three straight batters in the second. The game was tied at two runs apiece when the game was postponed meaning Thursday’s contest will not count.
Despite the downpour, Harrison said he thought it was a good outing.
“I know in the first inning after I got two outs, I thought I relaxed a little too much, got out of my rhythm, and lost the strike zone for a few batters but I got my tempo back in the second,” Harrison said. “I started attacking hitters and getting ahead of guys and I feel good. It was unfortunate to get shut down so quickly but there’s nothing I can do about Mother Nature.”
He added that he was glad the umpires were so quick with postponing the game.
“Once that rain started coming down, I was staring at the umpire waiting for us to get off the field because I mean, one slip could cause some problems for me so I’m glad he took us off.”
Harrison threw 41 pitches not including the extra 20 or so he threw in the bullpen before the game. He said he has worked out the “jitters” of being back in competitive games but definitely has some things to work on.
“Velocity is not quite there but the ball movement felt good. Like I said, I had a point where there were two outs in the first where it seemed to leave the strike zone but I got it back. It was kind of like my last start in San Antonio so I just have to start the same way I’m finishing,” Harrison said. “I know my last start in Arizona, I was throwing 90-93. Today I think it was 88 and I think I saw 92 a couple of times. I’m usually 91-92 so I hope it (velocity) comes back. I don’t know. It’s still a process and I have to knock the rust off and get my arm back in shape for multiple innings.”
Harrison said he expects to start for Frisco on Tuesday in another four-inning rehab start. He said his ultimate goal is to get back to the Rangers by April 23rd and that he feels almost back to normal.
“I’ve felt great in every start. I still do what I need to do to keep my arm strong but when I’m out on the field, I don’t worry about it anymore. It feels 100 percent.”