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Harrison says he's ready after strong rehab start

ARLINGTON -- A day after his most productive rehab start to date, Rangers lefty Matt Harrison was as eager as ever to get back on a Major League mound -- and he may get his chance within the next week.

Harrison will be accompanying the Rangers on their trip to Oakland and could conceivably be slotted into the rotation during the three-game series that starts Friday in Seattle.

Harrison's rehab start for Double-A Frisco on Saturday night went smoothly. He got through eight shutout innings, throwing 86 pitches and 54 strikes. He walked one and allowed three hits. Though no date has been announced, Harrison said Sunday there's no doubt in his mind he's ready to pitch for the Rangers again.

"I felt like myself again yesterday," Harrison said, "and we'll just see what happens from there."

Harrison hasn't pitched for the Rangers since April 6 of last year. He underwent back surgery and has worked his way back to the brink of returning to the rotation, much like Saturday starter Colby Lewis did over the past two seasons. Harrison said he can't wait to pitch for the Rangers again, and that he has been "lobbying for awhile" to get that chance.

"I don't think I have the words to express it," Harrison said. "I know talking to Colby, how excited he was to get back … But when I get back on that mound, I'll take a deep breath and say, 'All right, I'm back.' But take a deep breath and, 'Here we go. I'm coming after you.' It's a big difference in that. I don't want to relax just because I got back."

Manager Ron Washington said no decisions have been made on whether Harrison will rejoin the rotation or make another start in the Minors. The club wants to see how he recovers from his longest rehab outing thus far. Pitching coach Mike Maddux and bullpen coach Andy Hawkins will evaluate his next bullpen session.

"We're certainly very happy with what Harry did last night and the manner in which he did it, but we haven't had a chance to discuss a gameplan yet," Washington said. "He's going to go on the road so Mike and Hawk can get their eyes on him instead of have second-hand information."

Harrison threw up to 94 mph Saturday, the fastest he's thrown since the surgery.

"My velocity was better, I was more focused, I was on the attack and once I got through the fourth inning was when I hit another gear," Harrison said. "I allowed one baserunner after that and we stayed on the attack … It's definitely something that I haven't felt in a long time."

Dave Sessions is a contributor to
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