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Matt Harrison

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Matthew Reid Harrison

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[edit] Biographical Information

Matt Harrison was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 3rd round of the 2003 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Billy Best and made his pro debut that summer. He was then traded to the Texas Rangers on July 31, 2007, as part of the deal for Mark Teixeira and made his major league debut with the Rangers a year later, on July 8, 2008. He went 9-3 in spite of a 5.49 ERA as a rookie, then 4-5, 6.11 in 2009. Harrison had 13 wins in his first 22 games in the majors over his first two seasons. That was the best start by a left-hander in The Show since Vean Gregg back in 1911.

After a 3-2 year as a long reliever and spot starter in 2010, Harrison really emerged into his own in 2011. That year, he was 14-9, 3.39 as a full-time member of the Rangers' starting rotation, pitching 185 2/3 innings. After not pitching at all in the postseason in 2010, when the Rangers reached the World Series for the first time, he was a key pitcher for them in 2011. He won a game over the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS, then gave up only 2 runs in 5 innings in his only start of the ALCS facing the Detroit Tigers. However, he lost both of his World Series starts, losing 16-7 to the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 3 in a game when Albert Pujols had a performance for the ages, and starting and losing the decinding Game 7 on October 28th, when he gave up 3 runs in 4 innings and was bested by Chris Carpenter.

Harrison was the American League Pitcher of the Month in June 2012, when he went 5-0, 1.29. One of the wins was a shutout, and he struck out 24 batters in 42 innings. He was also named to the All-Star team for the first time that year. He went 18-11, 3.29, leading the Rangers in wins and pitched 213 1/3 innings to consolidate his place as the team's ace. He did not get a chance to pitch in the postseason, as the Rangers lost the Wild Card Game to the Baltimore Orioles with Yu Darvish on the mound. 2013 started off poorly for him however. He made a couple of ineffective starts early in the season, racking up two losses with an ERA of 8.44, then was put on the disabled list with a sore back. The source of the pain turned out to be a herniated disc requiring surgery, which put him on the shelf until after the All-Star break. he underwent as second operation a couple of weeks later, pushing his potential return even further back. In early August, the Rangers decided to shut him down for the remainder of the season as his recovery was proceeding slower than expected.

Harrison came back to make 4 starts at the beginning of the 2014 season, going 1-1, 4.15, but the back problems resurfaced and he had to go back to the disabled list on May 14th. This time, the prognosis was not good at all, as he was diagnosed with a condition causing severe nerve pain in his back, whose treatment was spinal fusion surgery. The odds of returning to pitch after such a procedure were deemed minimal, while not having the surgery would mean never being able to pitch without pain. He decided to undergo the operation, which was performed on June 3rd. The question was whether he would be in condition to attempt a comeback starting in 2015.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • AL All-Star (2012)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 1 (2012)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 1 (2012)

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