Navy Baseball Alum Mitch Harris on the Cusp of MLB Spot
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- 2008 Naval Academy alum Mitch Harris is continuing his fight to break spring training camp with the St. Louis Cardinals. With just five days to go until the Major League Baseball season begins with Opening Day action between the Cardinals and Chicago Cubs on Sunday, April 5, Harris, a right-handed pitcher is still in consideration for one the final spots on the Cardinals' 25-man active roster. He's aiming to become only the second Midshipmen in program history to reach the majors and first since Nemo Gaines pitched in four games in 1921.
In the first full spring training of his career, Harris has appeared in seven games in relief and has thrown 8.2 innings with just two runs allowed on three hits and five walks. The 29-year old righty has struck out five batters during his action. In his most recent appearance on March 28 versus Detroit, he threw two innings and allowed one run on one hit. In his first inning against the Tigers on Saturday, Harris went three-up, three-down as he struck out Victor Martinez before retiring J.D. Martinez and Yoenis Cespedes in consecutive at bats.
"Pitching-wise, ... We're all excited about Mitch Harris and what he brings to the table and his whole story of being a former Navy grad," said St. Louis manager Mike Matheny in a recent interview for MLB.com. "We have quite a few options, because we know at some point we'll need some help."
During his time at Navy, Harris was a top two-way talent as he compiled a career record of 20-13 with a 2.51 ERA and 291 strikeouts over 222.1 innings pitched between 2005 and 2008. As a field player, he hit .295 with 105 runs scored, 16 home runs and 112 RBI. His strikeout total is second best all-time at Navy, while his win total is eighth. Offensively, his runs, home runs and RBI number all place him amongst the top-20. A two-time All-American, Harris was the a member of the All-American Third Team in 2006 before earning a spot on the honorable mention list in 2007.
After graduating the Academy in 2008, Harris was drafted by the Cardinals in the 13th round of that year's Major League Baseball draft, but his service to the United States called and he was commissioned into the United States Navy for the next five years. In 2013 with his active military obligations fulfilled, he rejoined the Cardinals organization, which had held out his playing rights for five years. In one-and-half seasons in the minor leagues, Harris has appeared in 62 games and posted a 2.78 ERA with a 6-3 record and 74 strikeouts over 90.2 innings pitched.
Below is an assortment of articles highlighting his journey to the cusp of Major League Baseball ...
MLB.com Profile / MiLB.com Profile
"Navy Grad Harris Finally Pursuing MLB Dream" by Spencer Fordin, MLB.com (Oct. 23, 2014)
"After Five Years in the Navy, Harris Chases his Big League Dream" by Jeff Bradley (Oct. 28, 2014)
"Harris is Step Closer to Making Big-League Dream a Reality" by Rob Rains, St. Louis Sports Page (Feb. 5, 2015)
"Meet the Man Trying to be First Navy Grad to Pitch in MLB in Almost 100 Years" by Jeff Passan, Yahoo Sports (March 4, 2015)
"Cardinals' Harris Looks to Become First Navy Grad to Pitch in the Big Leagues Since 1921" by Scott Allen, Washington Post (March 5, 2015)
"Navy Grad Harris Knocking on Big League Door" by Jenifer Langosch, MLB.com (March 23, 2015)
"Navy Grad Harris Gets First Callup to Bigs with Cardinals" by Jenifer Langosch, MLB.com (April 20, 2015)