Matt Harrison ready for opener after final spring tuneup

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Matt Harrison didn't say it but it had to be tough getting up for his final spring start of the 2013 Cactus League season.

The big lefty recently learned he would be the Texas Rangers' Opening Day starter when the regular season gets underway Sunday in Houston. He was also coming off sharp performances in his last two outings and had his game ready for the season.

There was nothing to gain out of his scheduled four-inning start against the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday beyond getting work in. Harrison lasted 3 1/3 innings in his spring finale, allowing four runs (three earned) while walking one and striking out one. He also allowed a two-run home run to Brandon Short on his 81st and final pitch of the game.

"I definitely didn't finish out the way I wanted to but I feel like my stuff is there," Harrison said. "I'm ready to go. I just had a little trouble with my release point consistently today."

Harrison can now turn his attention to making his first Opening Day start in a nationally televised game on ESPN. There is no denying the 27-year old has paid his dues to reach this point. Earlier in his career, Harrison pitched at the back end of the rotation before climbing his way up to the front. One of his career low points came in 2010 when he was left off the postseason roster. The long road traveled leads to the mound at Minute Maid Park when Texas gets its 2013 season underway.

"From two years to the way things are working out now, I think trusting myself was the biggest thing I needed to start doing," Harrison said. "Then the confidence grew within myself and the coaching staff that I could get the job done. It's something I'm not going to take lightly.

"Now my mental preparation is for that first start and getting ready for it," Harrison said. "You strive to be the best pitcher you can be, and it is a great honor to start Opening Day for your club. It is something that may only happen once, so I am going to enjoy it."