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Feeling '100 percent,' Harrison awaits all clear

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers pitcher Matt Harrison said he feels back to full strength after a week of dealing with stiffness in his lower back. But the Rangers are still sending him back to Texas to be examined by Dr. Drew Dossett on Monday.

"At this stage, based on the initial symptoms, we want to make sure we're all clear before we ramp him up again," assistant general manager Thad Levine said.

Harrison said he thinks the problem came from sleeping on a too-soft mattress when he first came to Spring Training and that caused the lower back stiffness that came up a week ago. He has since changed beds and the stiffness has gone away.

"I feel good," Harrison said. "I feel like I did when I first came in here. I feel I'm 100 percent."

That still hasn't been good enough to cancel his trip to Texas.

"They won't let me do that," Harrison said. "They want me to see him, get checked out and be 100 percent. A lot of the time you come out here and get stiff the first few days or a little sore. But for sure the bed was the issue. But I've switched beds and there are no issues."

The Rangers want to be sure after Harrison missed all of last year because of a herniated disk in his lower back. Dossett had to operate twice on him to fix the problem. That's also why the Rangers will take it slow with Harrison when he returns and aren't going to rush him into the Opening Day rotation. Harrison hasn't thrown off a mound since Feb. 16.

"I think for the way we've built the team, we've definitely subscribed to the theory we want these guys to be strong at the end of the season," Levine said. "Starts in September and hopefully in October are more valued in our minds than starts in April. We want to make sure they're healthy for the stretch drive."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger.
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