Posted at 5:30 PM on April 30, 2009
by David Zingler
With Alexi Casilla (.174) and Nick Punto (.228) struggling, Brendan Harris looks to have an opening. The 28-year-old infielder is hitting .350 in 40 at-bats, making him one of only five players (Morneau, Span, Kubel and Morales) to provide any meaningful offensive production in April.
Harris, a .272 career hitter, has a chance to become a mainstay in the Twins line-up at second base and/or shortstop. I sat down with the Albany, NY native before Tuesday's game.
DZ: You've gotten off to a good start this year. Being a guy who has moved around a lot, how was the vibe different this year coming into your second season (with the Twins)?
HARRIS: It's pretty much the same crew of guys. It was a little easier, a little more continuity even though the role is a little different where I am bouncing around (to different positions). It's always easier the second time in the system.
DZ: You mentioned your role. Did you know coming into the season what your role was going to be?
HARRIS: It had changed since the first day we signed Joe (Crede). I kind of expect that going in. After spring training got going, I knew I'd be bouncing around a little bit.
DZ: Did they talk to you about playing firstbase; is that something you might do?
HARRIS: I did in spring training, days when a lefty was going and they were going to DH Morny. I played over there a few times in spring training.
DZ: What's it like playing all the different positions (2B, 3B, SS), it's hard enough to play one position well...
HARRIS: You get used to it. You've got to get your work in; get out there and take balls (at different positions in practice), be consistent and get familiar with it. The approach I always take is that if I am playing defense and I keep my feet moving, I'll be all right.
DZ: You probably wear the same glove at second and short, do you switch it up for thirdbase?
HARRIS: No, I like to keep the same one.
DZ: What is your favorite position?
HARRIS: Shortstop, second; I've always like to play in the middle.
DZ: How much different is it playing third (versus 2B and SS)?
HARRIS: Your range is cut down a little bit, just being closer...Your set-up during the pre-pitch motion has got to be lower because you don't have much time to react.
DZ: Being on team like the Twins, even when you're on the bench, you know you're going to get in there - you won't be sitting for a week or two straight. Does that kind of help keep your spirits up?
HARRIS: Yeah. Gardy says everybody is going to get a chance and he likes to use his whole roster. It gives you incentive to stay ready and keep working hard.
DZ: You know if you get hits, you are going to stay in (the line-up).
HARRIS: Yeah. If you put it together, he'll ride you for a little bit.
(Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)