The Arizona Diamondbacks currently have a plethora of pitchers recovering from Tommy John surgery, with relief pitcher David Hernandez the latest player to go under the knife.
The D-backs are currently searching for a replacement for Hernandez’s 8th inning duties, and relief pitcher Will Harris got a crack at the job Tuesday, pitching a scoreless inning and earning a hold against the San Francisco Giants.
A guest of the Burns and Gambo Show on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday, Harris recalled his own experience of having the same surgery.
“Dave and I are good friends, so when I found out about his injury, I basically told him, ‘Look man, it’s a one way street, there’s no other way you can go with your career. This is the only path that you have to take,'” Harris said. “If you realize the only way you can get back to playing is getting the surgery, you can kind of get at peace with it, and it took me a little time to figure that out.”
The Harris bounced back from the operation, making his major league debut in 2012 with the Colorado Rockies and later being claimed off waivers by the D-backs.
Through three innings this year, the 29-year-old Harris has faced 10 batters in two appearances, striking out five and not giving up a run. His role in the bullpen should grow without Hernandez, and Harris is hoping to be put in the game in crucial situations more often.
“Whether I’m pitching the 6th, 8th or 9th inning, the runs still count all the same,” Harris said. “It doesn’t really matter to me. I enjoy pitching in games that are close and that matter. That’s what every reliever wants. You want that extra adrenaline and you want that confidence your coaching staff has in you because that just creates more confidence for yourself.”
Though not his usual role, but Harris suspected his number would be called Tuesday night.
“I had a good feeling I’d be in last night’s game, regardless of the score and the situation, it’s just I haven’t thrown in a while,” Harris said. “I was happy to get in there and I did it a few times last year. I had a couple opportunities last year for us in the 8th inning, so it wasn’t like a foreign thing to me at all.”