ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Opening day starter Matt Harrison won’t pitch again this season for the Texas Rangers, who a week earlier found out veteran Colby Lewis wouldn’t be coming back either.
Harrison made only two starts at the beginning of the season before two operations on a herniated disk in his lower back.
He had been pitching in rehab games before feeling a twinge in his elbow and numbness in his hand, though those symptoms are expected to clear quickly.
“Effectively, his back is not where it needs to be. He needs additional rest and rehab,” general manager Jon Daniels said Tuesday.
“Because the back wasn’t strong enough, he was making some adjustments, probably over-compensating his delivery and that led to some of the symptoms he had in his elbow. Fortunately, there’s nothing structurally wrong with the elbow.”
The AL West-leading Rangers had been hopeful of adding lefty Harrison and right-hander Lewis to their rotation down the stretch.
Harrison signed a $55 million, five-year contract last winter after winning 18 games. Lewis is signed only through the end of this season, though there is mutual interest of a return if their most successful postseason pitcher recovers from hip surgery.
Lewis had said last week that he was having surgery to remove bone spurs from his right hip, but said Tuesday that the operation by Dr. Ed Su on Aug. 22 in New York would be more extensive.
Lewis will instead have hip joint resurfacing next week which is similar to a joint replacement. The expected recovery time would be four to six months, which could bump up against the start of spring training.
While Lewis’ recovery from surgery in July 2012 to repair a torn right flexor tendon was going well, the hip that has bothered him for several years got painful to the point it was affecting his mechanics while pitching.
“I knew it was inevitable,” the 34-year-old Lewis said. “I knew I was going to have it replaced at some point in my life. Now I wasn’t really hoping for it. It’s something that’s going to give me my best opportunity to come back and be pain free. I made a decision and I’m looking forward to no pain, no arthritic pain.”
Harrison this week visited team physician Dr. Keith Meister and Dr. Drew Dossett, the spine specialist who did the operations on his back. The doctors determined everything was fine with the area where he had surgery.
Daniels said Harrison passed all necessary tests before starting his rehabilitation, cleared by doctors and the medical staff.
Even Daniels, who wasn’t overly optimistic about a return this season after Harrison had to have a second operation, was expecting the lefty back as early as the end of this month after the way he had done the last month and how he was feeling.
“Matt said (Monday) he wanted it to be right, but it probably wasn’t 100 percent right, and I’m glad he acknowledged that and realized it when he did,” the GM said.
“Obviously you don’t want a guy to do real damage compensating for the back and end up hurting his arm. I think that’s where it was headed. So fortunately he caught it before that point.”
Harrison, who wasn’t in the clubhouse before the Rangers’ game against Milwaukee, is expected to be ready for spring training.
“Obviously with Matt going to be here a long time, we don’t want to push it,” Daniels said. “We’ll make sure the back’s 100 percent and he’ll be ready for next year.”