Harrison ready to fight to retain rotation spot

Harrison ready to fight to retain rotation spot

Harrison ready to fight to retain rotation spot
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Matt Harrison was 14-9 with a 3.39 ERA for the Rangers last year. He had the second-lowest ERA among the Rangers' five starters, and he pitched 185 2/3 innings.

Those numbers would seem sufficient to assure Harrison of a spot in the rotation, but the left-hander is not looking at it that way.

"It's the same way as last year: I'm coming in to fight for a spot in the rotation," Harrison said. "Last year was last year. I can't take anything for granted. I've got to show them I'm ready to go. This is an organization that has been to the World Series for the last two years. They are not going to fool around with somebody who is not ready to go."

Harrison should be ready. He said he had thrown eight bullpen sessions before coming to Arizona. He threw another short one on Monday in Surprise and expects to be able to throw batting practice to hitters on Thursday during the first official workout.

Harrison had a good spring for the Rangers in 2011. He came to camp on a mission to win a spot in the rotation and seized that opportunity. He was one of the most impressive pitchers in camp early and finished 2-0 with a 3.91 ERA while holding opponents to a .224 batting average.

He may not have to be quite that good this spring, but the Rangers are going to stretch out Alexi Ogando and Scott Feldman as starters. Both are expected to pitch in relief but could go into the rotation if somebody gets hurt or has a bad spring.

"I'm the type of person, I don't want anything given to me," Harrison said. "I never have been. I want to earn everything I get."

Harrison's spot in the rotation appeared in jeopardy earlier this month when the Rangers were flirting with free-agent pitcher Roy Oswalt. The Rangers have backed away from that at the moment, but Oswalt remains unsigned. He also wants to pitch for either the Rangers or the Cardinals, two teams close to his home in Mississippi.

"Nobody has said anything to me about that," Harrison said. "I guess he is still waiting around. It keeps me guessing. It keeps me ready and prepared."