Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 3/5/13
The two veins that pop out on Matt Harrison's forehead when his blood pressure goes up haven't been that prevalent over the last year. Having a breakout season for the Texas Rangers and then getting rewarded with a new contract would make a lot of people rest easy. The success of the 2012 season allowed Harrison to keep his emotions in check. Most of the time. "I still can get mad when Wash (Texas manager Ron Washington) takes me out," Harrison said. There wasn't much cause for that last year as Harrison went 18-11 and earned his first-ever trip to the All-Star Game. Texas rewarded the left-hander with a five-year deal in the offseason for 55 million that also includes an option for 2018. The security last year provided Harrison was nice but it certainly didn't allow the 27-year-old much time to rest. He's still got too much work to do. "I want to get back to the All-Star Game," said Harrison, who has started twice for the Rangers this spring and was sharp in his last outing (three innings, zero runs). "I want to log more innings. I want to be a guy the rotation can count on. I feel like I've learned to pitch more but I'll still got a lot of work to do." The key to that is getting off to a better start, which is something that's plagued Harrison throughout his career. In 2011 he allowed 19 earned runs in the first inning, which was the most of any inning he pitched. He cut that number to 15 in 2012, but that's still too high in his eyes. First-inning struggles dig holes and shorten outings. That's not something Harrison's interested in. "I still have to find a way to stay away from the big inning early in games," he said. "It was a lot better last year. There were still times I threw 40 something pitches in the first two innings. It's being able to figure out in the first inning how to get through it without giving up walks and runs. I know starters get comfortable in the game as it goes on. I know I can't nibble because you get in trouble early in the game." So how has Harrison worked on improving his game in the offseason? Lots of studying. One of the first things he studied was himself. Watching videos of his outings last year helped. "There are teams that I face throughout the season that I should throw inside more too," he said. "Some teams are full of free swingers and swing earlier in the count when I'm trying to throw a strike. I definitely can pitch them differently. That comes with experience." Harrison didn't limit his studying to his own outings. He did some scouting of other left-handers as well. Harrison relies on his sinker more than other left-handers. Teams can sit on that pitch and he knows that. That led Harrison to work harder to refine his slider. "I've got to improve that," he said. "I watch other lefties and how they use their slider and when they use their slider. Trying to find someone who pitches is same way I do is kind of hard because I throw so many sinkers. A lot of times guys use a backdoor slider and pitch more inside than I do. It's about finding a happy medium."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Vlade Divac indicates DeMarcus Cousins’ agents killed other deal

Report: Julius Thomas traded to Dolphins

Joe Mixon likely to go undrafted in April?

Belichick officially updates boat’s name to ‘VII Rings’

Canseco warns humanity about robot takeover in Twitter rant

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rick Ankiel drank vodka before pitching in 2000 NLDS

Kings throw shade at Cousins in press release announcing trade

Report: Jets tampered with Revis through private phones, secret meetings

Calipari shoots down talk of him leaving Kentucky for Pelicans

Report: Carmelo prefers trade to Clippers or Lakers

Report: Kings blowing up roster, putting Darren Collison, Ben McLemore on block

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

We got our hands on the new Nintendo Switch, here are our first impressions

Top 10 second basemen in baseball for 2017

Teams and players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Too much to Process: Can Simmons match the Embiid hype?

There will never be another Dirk Nowitzki

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Is the NBA All-Star Game worth saving?

Movies you can stream now to get your football fix

The Rewind: Michael Jordan's last All-Star Game

Best of Yardbarker: NBA All-Star Games past, present and future

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

We got our hands on the new Nintendo Switch, here are our first impressions

Top 10 second basemen in baseball for 2017

Teams, players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher with 200 or more wins since 1961

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

There will never be another Dirk Nowitzki

Movies you can stream now to get your football fix

Is the NBA All-Star Game worth saving?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker