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Harrison ready to take big step in comeback

Harrison ready to take big step in comeback

SURPRISE -- Tuesday will be another big step for Matt Harrison as he is scheduled to pitch in a B game against the Royals. It will be the first time Harrison has pitched against an opposing team since his second start of last season against the Angels on April 6.

"It's finally here," Harrison said. "Getting into a game again and getting that adrenaline rush again is exciting. It's not live BP, it's a real game and I've been waiting seven months for it now."

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Harrison missed the rest of the season because of a herniated disk in his lower back, underwent surgery twice to correct the problem and also had surgery on his right-throwing shoulder before the year was out. He came to camp healthy but was set back by early back and neck stiffness and has fallen behind the rest of the rotation candidates by about 7-10 days.

"I know Harry is anxious to get out there," manager Ron Washington said. "I just hope he controls his emotions. It will be a lot different with no screens or cages. He's facing true hitters. These are Major League hitters."

Right-handers Shawn Tolleson and Miles Mikolas will also pitch in the B game. They have been limited for the past two weeks because of arm troubles but should be ready to face hitters. Tolleson had a sore shoulder and Mikolas had a sore elbow but both say the problem has been addressed.

"It feels great," Mikolas said. "I'm ready to get in a game, get my work in and make a good impression."

Mikolas was acquired from the Pirates on the offseason for first baseman Chris McGuinness. The deal came just over a month after the Pirates acquired Mikolas from the Padres in a trade. Mikolas, who features a 93-mph fastball and a curve as his secondary pitch, was 2-1 with a 3.62 ERA in 25 games for the Padres in 2012. He spent almost all of 2013 in Triple A and had 26 saves for Tucson.

Tolleson was claimed off waivers from the Dodgers. He was 3-1 with a 4.30 ERA in 40 games for the Dodgers in 2012 before missing all of last season with a herniated disk in his lower back. He went through the same recovery process as Harrison.

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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