Texas Rangers' Playoff Pitching Plans Now Fuzzy With Matt Harrison Out for the Year

By Jeric Griffin

The Texas Rangers keep trying to get geared up for the 2013 MLB playoffs and just when it appears they’re ready for another title run, disaster strikes. That was the case again on Tuesday when Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said starting pitcher Matt Harrison will be shut down for the remainder of the season.

Harrison was rehabbing from a back injury at Triple-A Round Rock and the inflammation caused him to overcompensate with his delivery, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB’s official website. In addition, Sullivan reports that Harrison left his rehab start on Friday with numbness in his throwing hand.

The 27-year-old left-hander began to develop into a solid starter in 2011 and really came into his own in 2012, leading many to believe he would absolutely break out as a star in 2013. However, Harrison only pitched in two major-league games this year and now won’t be around to help the Rangers chase a third AL pennant in five years.

With the Rangers’ recent trade for Matt Garza and the fact Yu Darvish is absolutely on fire right now, Texas is still in good shape to win the AL West at one game ahead of the Oakland A’s through 119 games. However, the Rangers need to lock down their postseason rotation over the next month and a half and will now have to do that without Harrison and Colby Lewis, who is also out for the season after surgery to remove bone spurs from his right hip.

The Rangers will now have to piece together a playoff rotation with Darvish, Garza, Derek Holland leading the way. After that, it gets fuzzy.

Neftali Feliz hasn’t pitched this season while recovering from Tommy John surgery and was shut down “for the time being” after being scratched from his Triple-A start on Saturday with triceps tendinitis, which many analysts say is typical for players coming off the most feared surgery in baseball.

The Rangers are hoping to get Nick Tepesch back from elbow inflammation in September, but he was supposed to have returned by now and hasn’t. The good news is Martin Perez is developing into a reliable starter and Texas now has Alexi Ogando back from the disabled list. With one playoff starting spot to fill with Felix, Tepesch, Perez and Ogando all vying for it, the Rangers might be all right, but not having Harrison or Lewis will certainly make the pennant chase a lot tougher.

Jeric Griffin is the Director of Content for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @JericGriffin, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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