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Harrison becomes first line of defense

Harrison becomes first line of defense

Harrison becomes first line of defense

ANAHEIM -- Left-hander Matt Harrison received a promotion on Tuesday. He is now next in line for succession to the Rangers rotation in case of injury now that Colby Lewis is sidelined for the rest of the season because of his impending hip surgery.

The only problem is Harrison isn't ready. He threw a bullpen session on Tuesday at Angel Stadium and will start for Triple-A Round Rock on Friday. He is hoping to throw 65 pitches in his third outing on medical-rehabilitation assignment.

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"It's definitely unfortunate what's happened with Colby," Harrison said. "He was trying to pitch through a lot. I have a lot of thoughts and prayers for him and his family that he can get back as quickly as possible. I'm just taking it day to day. Everything is progressing well. I'm just getting ready for my next start. Hopefully if they need me I'll be ready."

The Rangers don't need him right now. Yu Darvish, Derek Holland and Matt Garza are locked into the rotation, and Martin Perez is coming off two strong starts against the Angels. Alexi Ogando is the one bringing up the rear. He has made three starts since being activated off the disabled and is 0-1 with a 4.61 ERA. He has yet to make it through more than five innings.

"Of course he needs to pick it up," manager Ron Washington said. "But he's not hurting, so since he's not hurting, I'm not concerned. He'll figure it out. Right now it's his command. He may go out tomorrow and find it. We know he can get outs. We haven't had any discussions on him. We just want him to get better."

Harrison will likely need two or three more starts before he is an option for the rotation. He has been sidelined since April after undergoing two surgeries to fix a herniated disk in his lower back.

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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