Will Harris addresses the elephant in Nationals clubhouse

The Fan News Desk
January 07, 2020 - 7:56 am
The Nationals signed reliever Will Harris, who allowed a home run to Howie Kendrick in Game 7 of the 2019 World Series.

Tim Warner / Stringer / Getty Images

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The Washington Nationals signed pitcher Will Harris to a three-year deal to strengthen their bullpen last week, and the veteran reliever has already addressed the elephant in the team’s clubhouse months before Spring Training begins. 

Nationals fans likely know Harris as the Houston Astros pitcher who allowed Howie Kendrick’s home run in the eighth inning of Game 7 of the 2019 World Series. But he didn’t want to let his pride get in the way of joining the reigning World Series champions. 

“I did my homework on Washington,” Harris said in an interview with MLB Network. “Everybody I talked to said it’s an amazing place to play. It’s an amazing clubhouse. And I didn’t wanna miss out on that because maybe I wasn’t mentally tough enough for it.” 

The Nationals were on the 35-year-old right-hander’s short list of desirable teams, though it might be weird in the clubhouse for a few minutes, Harris said.

“Obviously, I knew it may be a little weird at first, but you know, as I was removed from last year’s World Series I was like ‘I think that’d be a great place for me and my family,’” Harris said. “Their interest stayed throughout the whole process. Once a few other teams got involved, you could pretty much tell the Nationals made me a priority and that was it.” 

When considering how to approach Kendrick’s eighth-inning at-bat, Harris said he wanted to throw a breaking ball on the first pitch because he had thrown cutters to Kendrick when the series was in D.C. 

Despite watching Kendrick deposit the pitch into the right-field seats, Harris maintains he made a good pitch and credits Kendrick’s approach for the result. 

“I executed my pitches and the results weren’t in my favor that day,” Harris told MLB Network. “I think it was more of a testament to Howie and what he did than it was to me. It took me a little while to get there mentally and think of it that way because obviously I took a lot of the blame for it but that’s kind of who I am as far as I just try to go out every day and make as many pitches as I can in a row.” 

His one pitch to Kendrick aside, Harris is coming off his best major league season. He posted a 1.50 ERA in 60 innings. 

With Harris and Daniel Hudson set to anchor the Nationals bullpen, the unit seems poised for a strong 2020. Still, the first time Harris enters the clubhouse, there might be an awkward silence.

Watch the full interview in the video below.

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