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Bothered by sore back, Harrison likely to miss start

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ARLINGTON -- Rangers pitcher Matt Harrison reported some improvement in his sore back Tuesday, but he will likely miss his next start against the Mariners on Thursday. The Rangers have not made a final decision, but they are strongly leaning toward having Harrison miss at least one start.

"The last thing we want to do is compromise his arm by having him fight through it," general manager Jon Daniels said before Tuesday's game with the Rays. "Our responsibility is to make the right call for the long haul."

The Rangers have two options. They can put Harrison on the disabled list retroactive to April 6 and call up Justin Grimm from Triple-A to fill his spot in the rotation. If the Rangers do that, Harrison would be eligible to come off the disabled list on April 22. If that were the case, he would miss just two starts.

The other option would be to not make a roster move, bring Derek Lowe out of the bullpen to start on Thursday and have Harrison miss just one start.

"We've got a little time," Daniels said. "We'll take it day by day and then made a decision."

Harrison has been bothered by the problem for 2-3 weeks. He has been quietly trying to pitch through it but has not been successful. He is 0-2 with an 8.44 ERA in his first two starts while struggling to get his pitches -- especially his sinker -- down in the strike zone.

Harrison said he's not dealing with significant pain in his back; it's mostly stiffness that's causing some weakness in his left leg.

"As pitchers, we want to be out there every five days," Harrison said. "But if I'm making myself worse or hurting the team, it's not worth it."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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