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Saturday, March 24, 2012
Reaction: Matt Harrison pitches 6 scoreless

By Richard Durrett



SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Maybe the most important pitching line of Saturday wasn't even in the Rangers' 3-2 loss to the Angels.

While that game was going on, Matt Harrison was on Field 3 pitching against Triple-A players for the Kansas City Royals. The 26-year-old threw 71 pitches in six innings, allowing no runs on two hits with four strikeouts and no walks. Harrison then threw another 15 pitches or so in the bullpen to get his pitch count up.

"I did what I wanted to do out there," Harrison said. "I got my innings in and worked on some things. I was happy with my changeup."

Harrison said he talked with bullpen coach Andy Hawkins about putting the ball back a little in his hand on his circle change to slow it down and help him mask it with hitters.

"I can throw it with the same arm speed as my fastball and it's dropped in velocity," Harrison said.

In fact, Harrison threw his fastball 91 to 93 mph and the changeup was pretty consistently at 82. The 10-mph gap is about where Harrison would like it.

He'll get up to 100 pitches his next time out.

Nathan's line: The Rangers' closer gave up two runs on three hits with a strikeout to the five batters he faced Saturday, getting the loss. He now has a 14.40 ERA in Cactus League play.

Manager Ron Washington isn't concerned about Nathan's struggling stats.

"I want him to get it all out this spring," Washington said. "He got some pitches up."

Nathan said one thing he was pleased about was getting a chance to throw pitches with speedy runners on base. Mike Napoli threw a runner out and Nathan felt he did a good job of holding him close to the bag. Still, it wasn't a clean inning for Nathan and he hasn't had great results so far. He'll has more spring training innings left.

Reynolds pitches well: Greg Reynolds, pitching in the Cactus League game because Matt Harrison threw in a minor league game, put forth a solid effort. The Angels had a few regulars in the lineup, including Peter Bourjos, Alberto Callaspo, Kendrys Morales and Mark Trumbo. Reynolds held those four to 1-for-8 with Trumbo's leadoff double in the fifth as the only hit.

"It was fun, " Reynolds said. "I was able to execute and throw all my pitches. I was sticking mainly with my two-seamer and cutter. That's my game."

Reynolds recorded 11 of his outs via ground balls or strikeouts in five innings of work. He didn't walk anybody and had four strikeouts.

Hawpe homers: Brad Hawpe, who has battled mild hamstring strains this spring, hit his first homer. The left-handed hitter was batting .200 coming into the game (3-for-15) and manager Ron Washington said he plans on getting him (and Conor Jackson) as much time as he can after taking care of his regulars.

Hamilton's approach: With a 2-0 count against Ervin Santana, Hamilton went the other way, driving a ball to left. He doubled in the third for a productive afternoon. Hamilton said Friday night that he was getting his timing and that's showing up now. He played left field on Saturday.

More Moreland: Mitch Moreland had a walk and a single Saturday and was steady at first base. Moreland is quietly improving and the wrist is not bothering him.