St. Louis Cardinals Promoting RHP Mitch Harris to Major Leagues


Depending on how things shake out over the next few days, the St. Louis Cardinals could be in line to make some history during the early weeks of the season. That’s because the team plans to promote righthanded pitcher Mitch Harris, who could be the first graduate of the United States Naval Academy to pitch in the major leagues in over 100 years, to the major leagues for Tuesday’s game against the Washington Nationals. Harris will take the spot of outfielder Peter Bourjos, who will leave the team for several days to attend to the birth of a child.

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The 29-year-old Harris was an active member of the Naval force from 2008 to 2013 and served tours of duty in Russia and the Persian Gulf. Since finishing up his service prior to spring training of 2013, he has skyrocketed through the Cardinals’ system, going from short-season A-ball to the majors within just a little bit more than two seasons. Harris, who had been serving as the Memphis Redbirds’ closer at Triple-A so far this year, had allowed one earned run on three hits, two walks, and two strikeouts with two saves in 3.2 innings spanning four appearances. That followed a spring training with the big-league club in which he allowed two earned runs on three hits, five walks, and six strikeouts in 9.2 innings spanning eight appearances. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Harris throws a low-90s fastball which is complimented by a cutter, a slider, and a splitter.

Harris is the second player this season whom the Cardinals have been able to temporarily add to their big-league roster with MLB’s recently-instituted paternity list. The roster exemption also allowed the Cards to call up catcher Ed Easley last weekend when backup catcher Tony Cruz left the team to be with his newborn child, though Easley did not see any action during the course of his three days in the majors.

Since they’ve added pitcher Carlos Villanueva and outfielder Gary Brown over the past few weeks, the Cardinals will need to clear a spot on the 40-man roster to accommodate Harris. That could conceivably be done by transferring lefthanded pitcher Jaime Garcia to the 60-day DL, as he’s been out since the beginning of the season and is not expected to be ready for a minimum of six more weeks.

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