Friday, June 29, 2012
Matt Harrison ready to make All-Star case
By Richard Durrett
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers starter Matt Harrison gets one more chance to pitch before the All-Star rosters are set Saturday and announced Sunday. Manager Ron Washington, the skipper of the AL squad, has already said Harrison is on his list of pitchers to be considered, should the players not pick him. So tonight against Oakland is Harrison's final chance to show what he can do before everything is finalized.
"It would mean a lot to make it," Harrison said. "That's especially because of the way 2009 and 2010 went for me with the mental struggles and injuries and not really having any idea what I was doing as a pitcher on the field and finally learning how to pitch deep into ballgames and learn from mistakes. It would be a very humbling experience and I'd be very honored to go."
Harrison comes in tied for the AL-lead in wins with 10 and sports a 3.24 ERA, which is tops among Rangers starters and top-10 in the league. He has a six-game winning streak. And for now, Harrison's only focus is keeping that going.
"I have to make the next two starts before the All-Star break and be the best I can to help us go into the break with some momentum," Harrison said.
Harrison said he felt like a different, better pitcher when he arrived in Surprise, Ariz., for spring training in 2011.
"Reading the books about the mental game helped, but I showed up with a different mentality," Harrison said. "I knew what my goals were when the season started and that full season of starting and staying in the rotation and pitching in the playoffs really made me a better pitcher going into this year. Last year was big. I'm glad they gave me another opportunity to win a starting spot and I need to continue to go out and give them good games."
Part of Harrison's thinking is that he doesn't tell himself he's got a locked-in spot, despite his solid performance so far.
"I think once you assume that, you're taking things for granted," Harrison said. "I don't want to get complacement and ever think I've figured things out. I try to treat each game like my last one here and as long as I do that, I think I'll be a more consistent pitcher."