It will be working Christmas for Texas Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison.

But he considers it a gift, nonetheless.

Harrison, whose 2013 season included more surgeries (three) than major league starts (two), will return to the pitching mound next week for the first time since he underwent a procedure to remove a rib at the end of the season.

Harrison, 28, will actually be pitching off a mound earlier this offseason than in offseason’s past. The reason: To gain his strength and command back so he can be on schedule with the rest of the members of the starting rotation when spring training begins in mid-February.

“I’m not doing this to see how quick I can get back on the mound,” Harrison said after a round of visits to area children’s hospitals. “I’m doing it so that I can gradually build up.”

Harrison still has plenty of work to do. He made just two starts in 2013 before back problems wrecked his season. He underwent surgery to repair a herniated disc on April 23, then had a second procedure a week later to further stabilize the area. He eventually got back on the mound for a rehab start, before it was determined that his back needed more time to recover and he was shut for the remainder of the season.