Harrison gets second injection for back injury

SEATTLE -- Opening night starter Matt Harrison had a second injection this weekend to combat inflammation in his back, putting the date of his return to the Texas Rangers’ rotation in doubt.

The left-hander, who was 18-11 with a 3.29 ERA for Texas last season -- his second full one in the major leagues -- went on the 15-day disabled list Thursday. He had been hoping to miss just two starts. This second, unanticipated injection to treat an inflamed nerve in his lower back was administered in Texas while his team was finishing a four-game series in Seattle against the Mariners.

The first epidural was last weekend during a visit to Dr. Drew Dossett, a spine consultant in Dallas to the Texas Rangers, Dallas Cowboys and Dallas Stars.

Harrison (0-2, 8.44 ERA) allowed eight hits and five runs in five innings on April 6 in a loss to the Los Angeles Angels. That was after he surrendered five earned runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings in the opener March 31 against the Houston Astros.

He said last week, “I really didn’t say much about (the lower-back pain) because we were hoping it would take care of itself and work out where I was able to throw again, but it just didn’t take like we thought it would.”

Apparently, it still hasn’t taken.

The Rangers recalled right-hander Justin Grimm from Triple-A Round Rock to start in place of Harrison Thursday against the Mariners. Grimm struggled at times but got key outs with men on base over four innings and 92 pitches against Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, keeping the Rangers in a game they eventually won, 4-3.

Texas has an off day Monday to prepare for a three-game series at the Chicago Cubs. The Rangers had already announced Grimm will start again Wednesday against the Cubs.

The team doesn’t want to pitch Yu Darvish at what is expected to be a cold and potentially wet Wrigley Field this week, so it has pushed his next start back to Friday at home against the Mariners.

Texas’ pitchers for the Cubs series will be Derek Holland (0-1, 2.40 ERA) Tuesday, Grimm on Wednesday and Alexi Ogando (2-0, 1.08) Thursday afternoon. Ogando allowed five hits and one run in five innings of a no-decision Saturday that ended in a 3-1 Rangers win.