Josh Harrison embodies what it means to be a leader on and off the field.
The 11-year MLB veteran was acquired by the Athletics in a trade with the Washington Nationals at the July 30 trade deadline.
Slashing .296/.367/.444 with 8 hits, 1 HR and 2 RBI in 27 official at-bats, it's what Harrison has done on defense while playing four positions -- and his veteran leadership -- that provide the A's with one of their better all-around players.
After missing three games due to a quad strain sustained on Aug. 12, Harrison returned to the A's lineup Monday night. It was a minor strain, but having dealt with injuries in the past, Harrison chose to be cautious and allow himself time to fully recover before getting back on the field.
“I knew when I originally did it that it wasn’t as serious as what I've done in the past," Harrison told reporters after the A's 5-2 loss to the White Sox. "At the same time, things I've done in the past allowed me to assess the situation and sometimes know that it’s better to be smart instead of going out there and trying to be a hero.
"I’ve done that before and ended up missing some time. Being traded here I knew I was traded to be part of a playoff push and I can't help with a playoff push if I'm not on the field.”
The A's ended up losing the first game of a crucial four-game series against the White Sox on Monday night. Having rallied in the bottom of the eighth, bringing the tying run to the plate, it was Chicago's lethal combination of Craig Kimbrel and Liam Hendriks out of the bullpen that sealed Oakland's fate.
“To be honest, I don't really care who is on the other side," Harrison said. "It’s baseball, they’re human just like us. It’s no secret what they have over there or who anyone may have in their bullpen. That’s part of the game within the lines, I don't care who’s over there and neither do we.”
When facing Kimbrel and Hendriks, hitters can expect plenty of velocity from two of the game's elite arms. Harrison and the A's had no choice but to confront one of (if not the best) bullpen duo in the league head-on.
“Velocity, that’s part of the game," Harrison added. "It’s not a matter of trying to run from it or this-and-that. Everybody’s throwing hard. It’s a challenge, that’s what we’re all up for. They got lucky tonight, that’s what I call it. They got lucky.”
Always level-headed while offering a veteran perspective on every aspect of the game, it's Harrison's leadership that is the cherry on top of one of the all-around better players in the game of baseball.