While the baseball world waits on the Pittsburgh Pirates to finally call up top prospect Gregory Polanco to fill out what will be a dynamic outfield along with Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte, manager Clint Hurdle has been forced to make due with several other options. Over the past few weeks, those options have even included first time outfielders like Gaby Sanchez and Jordy Mercer, but the one guy who seems to be sticking is Josh Harrison, a middle infielder by trade.
Harrison is athletic and has terrific speed, which is ideal for the outfield. But as we've seen over the past seven days, he also has a nose for the baseball and a knack for making spectacular catches.
That trend continued on Friday night when Harrison made a terrific leaping catch at the Clemente Wall at PNC Park to take away extra bases from Washington's Ian Desmond and secure Pittsburgh's 4-3 victory.
Off the bat, Desmond's shot off returning closer Jason Grilli seemed destined to bounce off the wall, which would have tied the game with Anthony Rendon on the bases. But Harrison measured the ball and timed his leap perfectly to grab it and give starting pitcher Charlie Morton his first victory in 15 starts.
It also gave an appreciative Jason Grilli a save in his first appearance after spending four weeks on the disabled list.
"I was, just like everybody else, hoping that ball was coming down," Grilli said. "But it was going to The Man -- J-Hay's the man right now. It felt good to get back on the horse. The adrenaline was definitely pumping."
Harrison has definitely been the man this week. It all started last Sunday at Yankee Stadium when he hit the go-ahead home run and made a full extension grab to save extra bases in their victory over the Yankees. Then he did it again to the Nationals on Thursday, extending to rob Wilson Ramos. The latter was overshadowed a little bit by Yasiel Puig's Catch of the Year candidate, but it's certainly a worthy addition to an ever-growing Harrison highlight reel.
It's difficult to say how much more time Harrison will receive as a regular outfielder. Polanco's call up may not be immediate, but it's imminent. But Harrison has at least carved out a role as a super utility player that Hurdle will feel comfortable using in numerous positions. His .296/.342/.493 slash line is solid as well, so the Pirates will be happy to find him playing time and continue riding him while he's hot.
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