Matt Harrison won’t return from back surgery this season

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Matt Harrison hasn’t pitched since April 6 because of back problems that required two surgeries and the Rangers announced that he’s been shut down for the remainder of the season.

Harrison was a huge part of Texas’ success during the past two seasons, throwing 400 innings with a 3.34 ERA to emerge as one of the league’s best left-handed starters, and this is the first season of a five-year, $55 million contract extension that was signed in January.

Harrison was cleared to begin a minor-league rehab assignment in late July and had been hoping to rejoin the Rangers after 4-5 starts, but he struggled in a start last week at Triple-A and the team decided he’s simply not making enough progress. Colby Lewis is also out for the entire season following hip surgery, so the Rangers’ decision to pony up for Matt Garza has saved them from scrambling for rotation depth.

Cubs to activate Craig Kimbrel on Thursday

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The Cubs will activate reliever Craig Kimbrel ahead of Thursday afternoon’s game against the Braves, Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic reports.

Kimbrel, 31, ended a seven-month stint in free agency, agreeing to a three-year, $43 million contract with the Cubs earlier this month. He has made four minor league appearances, allowing one earned run on two hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.

With an aggregate 3.96 ERA entering Wednesday, the Cubs’ bullpen has been among the better bullpens in the league. Adding Kimbrel, one of the greatest closers of all-time, certainly can’t hurt and will give them some stability in save situations.