A bad mattress recently caused some back stiffness for Matt Harrison, but Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that an MRI came back negative and that the southpaw is expected to resume a throwing program on Thursday.
While Harrison isn’t expected to be ready for Opening Day, this still qualifies as good news for the Rangers. There was obvious cause for concern about his symptoms coming off a pair of surgeries last year to repair a herniated disk in his back, but the hope is that a nerve-blocking injection for his neck will get him back on the mound soon. Assuming Harrison makes solid progress, he should be able to join the Rangers’ rotation at some point in April.
Harrison, 28, was limited to just two starts with the Rangers last season. He went 18-11 with a 3.29 ERA in 32 starts in 2012.
Pirates outfielder Starling Marte is back in the lineup after the team reinstated him from the 10-day disabled list on Saturday. Marte served the bare minimum on the DL after making a rapid recovery from the right oblique strain that sidelined him several weeks ago.
Prior to landing on the disabled list, the 29-year-old outfielder was off to a strong start. He slashed a robust .308/.366/.503 with six home runs, 10 stolen bases and an .869 OPS in 175 plate appearances with the team. This is the first time he’s dealt with an oblique issue, and the first DL stint he’s served since he suffered a bout of back tightness in 2016. While he has yet to prove he can bounce back to his pre-injury production levels, his quick recovery bodes well for a successful return to major-league play.
In a corresponding move, outfielder Jose Osuna was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. The move came as somewhat of a surprise, given that the Pirates elected to retain top prospect outfielder Austin Meadows rather than the more established Osuna. Meadows was recalled from Triple-A in the wake of Marte’s injury and has only played seven games at the major league level so far, but he’s already made a strong impression: he went 13-for-29 with three home runs, two stolen bases and five RBI since his call-up on May 18.