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Harrison developing friendship with Webb at Giants camp

NBC Sports

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When he checked his phone after a start last season, Logan Webb occasionally would find a message from Kyle Harrison, congratulating him on a good night on the mound. Webb tried to return the favor as often as he could, following along as Harrison dominated in Eugene and then Richmond. 

"Every game it seemed like he was striking out 12 people," Webb said, smiling and shaking his head. "He had a lot of 'good game' texts sent his way."

On Friday, the congratulatory messages were able to be delivered in person. Webb threw the first live batting practice session of the spring for the Giants and was followed on the main field at Scottsdale Stadium by Harrison, the organization's top pitching prospect in a decade

Perhaps it was a coincidence. Perhaps it was just the way it all worked out when the staff tried to line things up for Webb, the five veterans behind him, and the young options trying to break through. Or perhaps it was a subtle message of what's to come for the entire organization.

The Giants won three titles behind homegrown pitching and their hope is that the path is repeatable, with the added benefit this time of both pitchers being Northern California natives. 

As Webb has taken his place atop the rotation, he has watched co-aces Kevin Gausman and Carlos Rodón find their nine-figure deals elsewhere. He is close to the veterans still with him in the rotation and excited about the potential of the entire group, but teaming with Harrison someday soon would certainly represent something different.

 

Assuming Harrison stays on this path and assuming Webb and the Giants at some point build on their early discussions about an extension, the franchise could for years line up behind two homegrown pitchers. That had to cross a few minds on Friday as Farhan Zaidi, Pete Putila, Gabe Kapler and many others gathered to watch Webb and Harrison face hitters for the first time.

After the session, Webb sought out Harrison to relay some positive thoughts. That’s become a trend for two young pitchers with similar backgrounds as high school picks out of Northern California. When the Giants selected Harrison in the third round in 2020, Webb — a fourth-rounder in 2014 — reached out on Instagram. They met later that year at the club’s facility in Scottsdale and the bond continued to grow this offseason as they both worked out at the new Papago Park complex.

"I try and talk to him a ton," Webb said. "I told him today before he went out, 'Don't try to be a hero today.' I think I probably tried harder than he did, so I need to tell myself to not be a hero. He's all calm and cool, that's who he is. He doesn't show nerves. That's what's going to make him so special. You guys saw it today."

Harrison admitted there were nerves on Friday, and his command wasn’t quite what he wanted. But he showed off the swing-and-miss stuff that should have him in the big leagues this season.

While it certainly stood out that he immediately followed Webb, Harrison said he didn't think much about the significance. It was another day of getting work in with a friend he said he "can't say enough great things about."

"I'm going to stick as close as possible to him," Harrison said of Webb. "And try to learn from him."

For Webb, that's a two-way street.

"I was watching his bullpen the other day and I just kind of asked him about stuff that he does with his slider and what he's thinking about with it," Webb said.

Webb noted how advanced Harrison is behind the scenes, a rarity for a 21-year-old pitcher. That maturity is one reason the Giants have no concerns about the expectations that have been and will be placed on Harrison, who said he's not worried about all the hype that surrounds him.

"At the end of the day I try to block it out," he said. "It's baseball, it's something I've been doing ever since I can remember."

On Friday, Harrison took the next important step in that lifelong journey. And after a disappointing offseason for the organization, the second day of camp provided an opportunity for everyone to dream a bit. 

 
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It shouldn’t be long before Webb and Harrison line up together in the rotation, and that won’t be all they share. Originally a Scott Boras client, Harrison recently switched to Webb’s representatives.

Conveniently, the agency is called ACES.

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