MRI clean on Texas' Matt Harrison

Updated: February 24, 2014, 7:45 PM ET
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- There was some relief in the Texas Rangers' clubhouse and offices in Arizona after starting pitcher Matt Harrison's MRIs on his back came back clean.

Turns out Harrison just slept wrong after arriving in the desert and the back tightness he felt has dissipated. But the Rangers conceded on Monday that Harrison is "unlikely" to be one of the club's five starters when the break camp at the end of the month.

"We do feel this likely puts him behind coming into the season," assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "The nature of how far behind is yet to be determined based on how he gets through his throwing program. [But the club is] very optimistic about near-term recovery."

Harrison flew back to Dallas to see Dr. Drew Dossett, who handled both of Harrison's back surgeries in April and May of last year, and will return on Tuesday. He'll resume a throwing program on Thursday, but the details are still being worked out.

Harrison, 28, made just two starts in 2013 as he tried to pitch through back pain. It was discovered that he had a herniated disk and he had surgery in April and May to alleviate that and nerve inflammation. Harrison attempted to come back in the middle of the season, but had elbow issues likely from having to compensate for the back. He had Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery in September and arrived at spring training feeling healthy and ready.

But neck stiffness and then back tightness has put him behind schedule. He received a nerve-block injection in the right side of his neck on Monday to help with discomfort there.

Harrison said he slept on the floor one night and that helped his back and then found a firmer mattress, which improved things further.

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