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."
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