SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers pitcher Matt Harrison received a nerve-blocking injection Monday to relieve some stiffness in his neck. But he was also given a clean bill of health by Dr. Drew Dossett as far as his lower back and the go-ahead to begin a throwing program later this week.
The stiffness that Harrison experienced in his lower back last week has probably cost him a chance to be in the Opening Day rotation, but the Rangers were pleased with the results from Monday's examination in Dallas. There is a good chance that Harrison will miss no more than a couple of turns through the rotation at the beginning of the season after Dossett found no serious issues in the lower back.
"I'm happy I got a clean bill of health from the doc," Harrison said. "I'm excited there were no issues and just eager to get going again. He [Dossett] agreed it was the soft mattress."
Harrison, who missed almost all of last season with a herniated disk in his lower back, will return to Arizona on Tuesday and resume a light throwing program Wednesday. At that point, pitching coach Mike Maddux and the medical staff will map out a plan for the rest of the spring.
"I think we feel it puts him behind coming into the season but how far remains to be determined based on the throwing program," assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "This is as good of news as we could have gotten and we're very optimistic."
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.Less