Cubs Prospect Interview: Brendan Harris

Having hit safely in 25 of his last 28 games, one could present a strong case for Brendan Harris being the hottest hitter in all of minor league baseball at the moment. We recently caught up with the Cub prospect about his 2004 season and more.

Q: First off, how is the knee doing now that you've had time to rehab and come back strong? We know that you had a minor setback just before the spring and had to undergo surgery.

A: For the most part, it feels pretty good. There are good and bad days, but in these last two weeks especially, I haven't had any problems.

Q: You're on a tear recently at the plate. What do you attribute to that success?

A: A bunch of things. Getting comfortable is one of them. I really had an abbreviated spring training, and I got here and tried to get out of the gate quickly, so things just kind of snowballed on me a little bit in the beginning. I have a really good hitting coach here in Pat Listach. There are also some veteran guys here like Trenidad Hubbard and Calvin Murray. It's a pretty good atmosphere here. I wasn't really getting too down and too frustrated early on. I try to take some things from those two guys' at-bats and incorporate them into my own approach.

Q: How important is it to have the Calvin Murray's and Trenidad Hubbard's on your side?

A: It's huge. This is really the first time I've ever played with veteran guys. One of the things is the confidence in them. They know the zone, and they know their swing. By the same token, they never throw away an at-bat. They never let go of their concentration. This is really my first time of having guys like that around, so it's been great.

Q: How has the transition from second base to shortstop gone recently?

A: It seems like there's so much more ground to cover at short. It hasn't gone too bad. I'm still playing second here and there, but we've had some injuries with guys going up and down so I've had to move around a little. But it hasn't gone too bad. I try to have the same approach and make all the routine plays. Then sometimes get to a ball I really shouldn't and take a hit away here or there. I try to stay fundamentally sound because if you aren't, that's when you get in trouble: whenever you change your mindset or approach.

Q: You've progressed nicely through the system each year since 2001. What are the differences in where you are now as opposed to where you were when you first started out in this organization?

A: I would say there are different atmospheres in the clubhouse within each team. As far as on the field, you get a lot more off-speed pitches. You get more curveballs and changeups. Pitchers are a little more polished here. The game also gets a little cleaner. Not as many balls are being booted and stuff like that. It just gets a little quicker and cleaner. Now that I said that, watch us go out and commit a whole bunch of errors.

Q: What are some of the things Pat Listach has helped you with in this your first season at the Triple-A level?

A: Basically, it's knowing what kind of a hitter you are. It's knowing if you're a high-ball hitter or a low-ball hitter; fastball hitter or breaking ball hitter. I'm more of a low-ball, gap hitter. One of the biggest things was pitch selection, and getting something good to hit. The other thing was just being a little more aggressive while being selective at the same time. A lot of times early on I was getting myself out.

Q: What do you do for fun?

A: I'm a fan of Seinfeld. I hate reality TV. I'm a Political Science major in college so I'm into shows like Law & Order.

Q: If you keep hitting at this current rate, do you see yourself earning a spot on the big league roster next year out of spring training?

A: Everyone wants to win a spot, but it's difficult to say yes or no one way or the other because you don't know how things are going to play out in front of you.

Q: What are some of your game day preparations?

A: I like to get here pretty early so I can get loose. I'm a big fan of hitting off the tee when I get here. Then I just go through batting practice and take a certain amount of ground balls: forehand, backhand, and so on. I don't do anything drastic or weird, but I do like to do the same thing every day.

Q: You don't need me to tell you how well you're hitting, but I know I speak for everyone when I say "keep up the great work!"

A: Thank you! You know, I remember when we talked back in February, back when they had set up the e-mail thing for me in the Arizona Fall League and I got tons of messages from people. There were over 140 e-mails in the first week! It was just phenomenal! From long letters to little notes just letting me know people were cheering for me. It's such a phenomenal fan base here!

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