Notes: Harris has diverse repertoire
Right-hander trying to earn a spot in the Tribe's bullpen
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- Jeff Harris throws a little bit of everything."Fastball, sinker, curveball, slider, changeup," he said of his repertoire. "Everything but the kitchen sink." But if the Indians asked him to heave the sink over home plate for a spot on their big-league roster, he'd probably rip it right out of the wall and haul it out to the mound. As it stands, the Indians just want Harris to throw strikes and prove he's healthy. Brought into the organization on a Minor League contract this winter, the 32-year-old Harris is attempting to bounce back from a frustrating 2006 with the Mariners. He was a member of Seattle's Opening Day roster but was sent packing for Triple-A Tacoma after just three relief appearances in which he gave up two runs in 3 1/3 innings. Less than a month later, Harris found himself on the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis. "It started with my back," he said. "I had pain in my back and I tried to pitch through it and ended up hurting my shoulder. It took a little longer [to recover] than I expected." After rehabbing in Arizona, Harris didn't make it back to Tacoma until early August. With just 40 innings of work to his credit because of the injury, he pitched in the Venezuelan Winter League this offseason to build his arm back up and went 4-3 with a 2.51 ERA in 11 outings. "I needed the innings," he said. "I got about 60 innings under my belt down there, and it was a great experience. It was a chance to prove to teams, as well as myself, that I'm healthy." Where Harris, who has given up two runs on three hits in five Grapefruit League innings, fits into the Indians' plans is open for conjecture. It's possible he could find himself in the Triple-A rotation, though a bullpen role is not out of the question. Whatever the role, Harris doesn't mind. "I just want the ball," he said. "I've done both [starting and relieving], and I've had success with both. All I ask for is an opportunity." Learning curve: Jake Westbrook looked and felt pretty good Saturday. Heck, even his fourth-best pitch looked and felt good.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.