ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are planning to bring Matt Harrison back as their fifth starter.
Harrison is expected to start on Saturday night against the Orioles after the Rangers optioned Omar Beltre back to the Minor Leagues on Tuesday. Right-hander Doug Mathis was recalled and placed in the bullpen.
He'll likely be there until Saturday when the Rangers plan on recalling Harrison from Triple-A Oklahoma City. Harrison, who allowed four runs in 4 1/3 innings in a start for Oklahoma City on Monday, was 1-1 with a 5.29 ERA in six starts for the Rangers earlier this season.
Harrison could be a temporary solution until the Rangers get Rich Harden or Derek Holland off the disabled list. Harden, who is sidelined with a strained lower back muscle, threw approximately 60 pitched in a simulated game at the Ballpark in Arlington.
Harden, who was 3-3 with a 5.68 ERA in 13 starts, said he feels 100 percent physically. The next step is a bullpen session on Thursday. If that goes well, Harden could be ready to go to the Minor Leagues on a medical rehabilitation assignment.
"I feel 100 percent," Harden said. "I feel good and ready to go. It's a matter of getting in game situations and getting my pitch count up. I'd like to get back out there as soon as possible."
After Saturday, the Rangers won't need a fifth starter until July 19 against the Tigers. Harden could be ready by then, but the Rangers will likely want him to get at least two starts on medical rehabilitation assignment. The Rangers still want him to work out the command and control problems that plagued him before he was placed on the disabled list.
If Harden needs at least two starts, it's unlikely that he'll be ready on July 19. That's the fifth game after the All-Star break.
Holland remains another possibility, but he is still behind Harden. Holland, who is sidelined with left shoulder inflammation and a sprained right shoulder, is working out in Surprise, Ariz. He threw on flat ground on Tuesday and is scheduled to throw off the mound on Wednesday.