04/10/2013 3:54 PM ET
Stiff back sending Harrison to 15-day DL
By Jim Reeves / Special to MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Opening Day starting starter Matt Harrison will be placed on the 15-day disabled list, the Rangers announced Wednesday, the day before he was scheduled to make his next start in Seattle. The move will be retroactive to Harrison's last start, on Saturday vs. the Angels.
Harrison revealed Monday that he had been trying to pitch through a stiff lower back for at least the last two weeks, which might explain his 0-2 start and 8.44 ERA. He was diagnosed with an inflamed nerve in his lower back and underwent an epidural injection Sunday.
"We're just trying to get [Harrison] right," manager Ron Washington said of the announcement that his No. 1 starting pitcher was headed to the DL. "When he comes back, we'll have him for the rest of the year."
Harrison has been throwing on flat ground but was unable to make a scheduled bullpen session Tuesday, and the Rangers decided to take no chances. Rookie Justin Grimm will be recalled from Triple-A Round Rock to take Harrison's spot in the rotation. Harrison won't make the team's seven-game road trip to Seattle and Chicago.
"That's the hardest part," Harrison said. "As a player you're just so competitive, and you want to be out on the field, helping your team in any way you can.
"You want to at least be in the dugout, but it's better to stay here and get some rehab done instead of being in the way."
Grimm had been scheduled to start Wednesday's game for Round Rock. The Rangers also considered using veteran swingman Derek Lowe to start Thursday but elected to leave the bullpen intact.
"We would have had to bring up a pitcher either way," Washington said.
Berkman's hot bat takes a seat to stay fresh
ARLINGTON -- Manager Ron Washington used Wednesday's rain-delay as a chance to give some of his regulars a little rest, and that included DH Lance Berkman, the team's hottest hitter.
After his 3-for-4, two-RBI performance Tuesday night, Berkman ranked third in the American League in hitting at .480 and first in on-base-percentage at .594.
"I'm not surprised; I've seen it before," Washington said. "He worked awfully hard to get prepared in Spring Training. He's a pro. He certainly shows what our lineup can be with him in there."
There's no question about his value in the three-hole for the Rangers, and that's why Washington wants to be careful with the 37-year-old, who had offseason knee surgery and was ready to retire before the Rangers called.
"We'll just move everybody up," Washington said of Berkman resting.
That meant pushing Adrian Beltre from cleanup to No. 3 in the batting order, starting Nelson Cruz at DH and hitting fourth, followed by left fielder David Murphy and right fielder Jeff Baker.
Geovany Soto also started at catcher for A.J. Pierzynski and batted eighth.
Washington, who was criticized for not giving his regulars enough rest late last season, admitted later the critics might have been right. He seems intent on avoiding such a mistake this year.
Finger 'doing well,' Darvish ready for start
ARLINGTON -- Having placed Matt Harrison on the disabled list early in the day Wednesday, the Rangers needed some good news regarding their pitching rotation, and Yu Darvish delivered it with a smile.
Darvish expects to be able to make his Friday start in Seattle without any problems from the blister/skin abrasion on the ring finger of his pitching hand. He left his previous start against the Angels after just five innings because of the ailment.
"It's doing well," Darvish said through an interpreter.
He said he didn't expect to have to make any adjustments for Friday's game, but also said that "even if I did, I wouldn't tell you guys."
Manager Ron Washington, who will watch a rookie (Justin Grimm) start for his team for the second time in three games Thursday night, isn't concerned either.
"I looked at [Darvish's] hand, and he was smiling," Washington said. "It's amazing how skin heals."
Andrus has secret weapon to battle cold
ARLINGTON -- Most Rangers' fans know by now how much shortstop Elvis Andrus dreads playing in cold weather. He was shivering in front of his locker three hours before game time Wednesday as the temperate hovered in the upper 30s outside.
What fans may not know is Elvis' secret weapon -- besides his earflap cap -- to fight the cold.
"It's a trick I learned from [Adrian] Beltre a couple of years ago in the World Series," Andrus said. "I put it on all over and it helps keep you warm and your body temperature up.
"We tried it in the World Series [in San Francisco] a couple of years ago and it actually works."
The baby oil, Andrus said, will be part of how he plans to counter the cold expected in Chicago on the second stop of the road trip that begins Thursday.
It might not be much colder, if any, than it was for Wednesday's game, the start of which was delayed by rain for an hour and 29 minutes. It was 39 degrees at game time, making it the second-coldest game at The Ballpark in Arlington and the coldest day game. The coldest was a 37-degree start for a night game against Boston on April 7, 2007.
Andrus said he's packing extra clothing for the trip.
"All my clothes, my hat with the ear warmers and a lot of baby oil," he said. "I hate the cold. It makes my allergies bad and everything outside is dark and sad.
"It's just not baseball weather. You want to sweat and feel good when you're playing baseball."
Chris McGuiness, the Minor League first baseman who was returned to the club from Cleveland this spring after the Indians selected him in the Rule 5 Draft last winter, snapped out of his early-season 2-for-15 funk in Triple-A with a pair of home runs, including a grand slam, in Tuesday's 13-4 Round Rock victory over Iowa. McGuiness finished 3-for-6 with six RBIs. Top shortstop prospect Jurickson Profar was 1-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and also reached base on a walk.
• If fast starts mean anything -- and they generally do -- the Rangers are on the right track again. Since 2011, the Rangers are the Majors' winningest team in April at 39-18 (.684) through Tuesday's games. St. Louis is second at 34-22 (.607). This is the third straight year the Rangers have won at least six of their first eight games. They opened 9-1 in 2011 and 12-2 in 2012.
• The upcoming 7-game, 8-day road trip concludes with three games at Wrigley Field, just the second time the Rangers have played there. It also marks their earliest Interleague games.
• The Rangers sent Minor League catcher Juan Apodaca, who was on the disabled list at Round Rock, to Tampa Bay for cash considerations.
Jim Reeves is a contributor to MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.