It didn’t take long for Josh Harrison’s phone to ring once the Philadelphia Phillies cut him coming out of training camp. The veteran utility man has appeared in just 133 games over the last two years but versatility and depth are key in a 60-game season played in the midst of a pandemic and Harrison is capable of providing both.
While he made the long drive home to Cincinnati with his family, Harrison’s agent reached a deal with a team for him to report to after his family got settled. He gave over his direct deposit information and needed only to sign a letter of agreement to make the handshake agreement official.
That’s when the Nationals called.
“My agent calls me 20 minutes from home and was like, ‘Uh, change of plans. Washington wants you in the big leagues right now,’” Harrison said in a Zoom press conference Thursday after being cleared to report to Nationals Park. “I said, ‘You know what? Let’s do it.’ I wish they would’ve called me eight hours prior, but at the same time I’m thankful for the opportunity.
“I got up the next morning at 5, drove here Friday, took my physical and I was taking every precautionary step to being able to be activated as soon as possible.”
Washington made the deal official Monday, announcing that catcher Raudy Read was being optioned to the team’s alternate training site in Fredericksburg as a corresponding move. Adding Harrison gives the Nationals an additional option at second base, third base, shortstop and both corner outfield spots while they wait for Juan Soto (COVID-19) and Carter Kieboom (groin) to return to the field.
Harrison, 33, has played nine seasons in the majors leagues including eight years with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The two-time All-Star was not listed in the Nationals’ starting lineup for Monday night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays in D.C.
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