SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Yes, it's only spring training. Yes, it was only Matt Harrison's second start, and there is still a month until the games count. However, no pitcher likes getting lit up and allowing four runs in just one inning.
That line score from Feb. 24 stuck with the Texas Rangers’ big left-hander, who was anxious to atone for himself in Saturday's matchup against the Arizona Diamondbacks, no matter what the calendar says.
"Anytime you come out and start your first game like that it is a little concerning. But I know I can be better than that," Harrison said. "There were a couple of things I needed to fix, and I got back on track."
Harrison cited better mechanics and command of his sinker as reasons he tossed three scoreless innings in the Rangers’ 7-1 victory.
As much as Harrison labored after reaching his pitch limit after only one inning on Sunday, he enjoyed that easy of an outing on Saturday.
"It was a good outing -- especially coming off my last start, when I was getting beat up in the zone," Harrison said. "I was focusing on getting the ball down, trying to get the ball on the ground, which I was able to do today more consistently."
Rookie shortstop Jurickson Profar was the busiest defender on the field as the scorecard filled up with 6-3 groundball putouts.
After throwing 40 pitches in just one inning during his first spring start, Harrison actually threw too few pitches during his second outing and needed extra work. After throwing just 39 pitches in three scoreless frames on Saturday, Harrison went to the bullpen and threw another 16 pitches so he could reach his intended count of 55 for the day.
"He was much better," manager Ron Washington said. "He had a good sinker working and got a lot of ground balls. He took control."