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Justin Maxwell heals thumb, Willie Harris back in lineup

Justin Maxwell will sit out tonight as his right thumb heals. It's doing much better today, evidenced by Maxwell participating in early batting practice while wearing a pad under his batting glove for protection. Harris could be used as a defensive replacement or even pinch-hit tonight, Manager Jim Riggleman said.

Willie Harris will start in Maxwell's place, a rare start for him this year. Harris, despite being on pace to receive the fewest at-bats since 2006 and his bleak .189/.293/.369 hitting line, has proven himself a useful bench player. He can play multiple positions competently, and he can come off the bench to draw a walk (one every 8.3 plate appearances) or hit a home run.

Harris drilled his ninth homer this year Sunday in Philadelphia, and has hit a home run once every 22.89 at-bats, 35th in the National League among players with at least 200 at-bats, right behind Jay Bruce and right in front of Lance Berkman and Scott Rolen.

Harris is a free agent this offseason. He may be a candidate for a minor league contract. But, despite his limited playing, he might be an attractive bench player for a team that could use his particular abilities.

"I feel good about my home runs and my RBIs," Harris said Sunday afternoon. "I don't want to hit .190, obviously. It's been one of those years, it's been a learning experience. It's also been good for me, being around Desmond, Bernadina, Espinosa, to share what I know about the game. I don't look at the negatives. I try to stay positive all the time and keep those guys going, even if I'm not."

By Adam Kilgore  | September 20, 2010; 4:55 PM ET
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Next: Ian Desmond gets some rest


Why not just start begging Stan not to cut you Willie.....have some pride...your time is up.....stop pretending you can still play this game at the MLB level.

Posted by: JayBeee | September 20, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

JayBee: FWIW, Harris is all but gone as a free agent. He, and at least six others will get their walking papers once the season is over, and the team has to cut back to 40 players. The others on the block, imo...
-Tyler Walker (RP): 34yo, coming back from another shoulder surgery.
-Wil Nieves (CA): Arbitration for a #3 catcher? More likely a non-tender.
-Scott Olsen (LHSP): Another arbitration-eligible player, headed for non-tender.
-Kevin Mench (PH/RF): 32yo, doesn't field or run well; Gone.
-Miguel Batista (RP): 40yo as camp opens, but would welcome him back on a minor-league deal.
-Matt Chico (LHSP), Ryan Mattheus (RP), Jesse English (LHRP) [Pick one]: All three are in various stages of injury rehab, all are 26-27yo.

Posted by: BinM | September 20, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

To continue the thought, Some other players either have 2011 options or are Arbitration eligible, are completely out of callup options (minor-league FA's), or are free agent eligible going into 2011, by my count...

Arb/contract options [3]: Flores (CA-Arb), Kennedy (2B-option), and Wang (SP-option).
No minor league options remaining [7]: Clippard (RP), Mock (SP), Martis (SP), Chico (LHSP), Maxwell (OF), Bernadina (OF), Gonzalez (IF).
Possible Free Agents [3]: Peralta (RP), Slaten (LHRP), Dunn (1B).

Posted by: BinM | September 20, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

I think you just named the whole they have any players that can actually play at a MLB level?

Posted by: jwing14 | September 20, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

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