Matt Harrison experiences minor setback in rehabilitation from spinal fusion surgery

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Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison underwent lumbar disc fusion surgery last June, appearing in only four games during the 2014 season. He had been making steady progress this fall and winter in his recovery from the career-threatening lower-back procedure, but here comes the first bump in the road …

Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Harrison has put off moving his throwing program from 90 feet to out 105 feet because he is experiencing tightness in his right hip. The hope is that it’s merely a mechanical issue and that he’ll be caught up in a few weeks.

“Being able to rotate and being able to square back up when I throw the ball,” Harrison told the Star-Telegram on Saturday about the hip discomfort. “Kind of cutting stuff off [in my delivery] because I wasn’t able to to rotate like I want to. So that’s one thing we’ve been really working on is getting that hip loose.”

Harrison signed a five-year, $55 million contract extension with the Rangers before the 2013 season and is still owed $41.6 million. He posted a 3.34 ERA (132 ERA+) in 399 innings between 2011-2012.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.