Phillies willing to be patient with Harrison
PHILADELPHIA -- For a team building toward a bright future, the Phillies acquired a player with a recent history that has been marred by injury.
Through trades over the past week, the Phillies acquired young players who now occupy Nos. 3, 4, 5, 13, 14, 15 and 24 in their prospect rankings in exchange for veterans like Cole Hamels, Jonathan Papelbon and Ben Revere who didn't factor into the future as the organization envisions it. But also included in the bounty was one player who doesn't quite fit in with the cohort of young, high-upside players headed to Philadelphia: Matt Harrison.
A 29-year-old right-handed pitcher the Phillies received from Texas as a part of the Hamels deal, Harrison has made just nine starts since the end of the 2012 season due to complications and surgeries relating to herniated discs in his back. His first action as a Phillie was to go back to the disabled list.
That being said, Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said he sees Harrison having a role in the future of the Phillies organization.
"I wouldn't bet on [him pitching this year]," Mackanin said. "But like I told him yesterday, I said 'I know you feel bad, but we're looking at you for what we're about to become rather than this year. We're not really playing for a whole lot this year.'"
Harrison said upon arriving in Philadelphia on Saturday that he feels "stiff," and doesn't feel that he should rush back onto the field given his injury history. Given that a doctor once told him that he had just a 20 percent chance of ever playing again because of the intensity of his spinal fusion surgery, Harrison knows that he can't take his health for granted.
With that in mind, Harrison was more optimistic than Mackanin, saying that he believes he could possibly return when he is eligible to come off the DL in 15 days.
"Not too concerned because there's no pain like there used to be, Harrison said. "I think it's gonna be a quick, easy turnaround and I'll be back as soon as possible."