Marred in a slump that has lasted for nearly two months, Harrison’s grip on the starting second basemen’s job for the Pittsburgh Pirates got a little looser this past week, with 24-year-old infield prospect Adam Frazier getting time at second. Harrison, who exited last Sunday’s game with a right leg injury, did not play in the first two games of the Pirates’ three-game series with the Atlanta Braves during the week.
Obviously, manager Clint Hurdle could have simply been attempting to protect Harrison’s health by sitting him for two games, but feeling a little heat from the bench may have sparked the former Bearcat back to life. In the three matchups since his two-game break, Harrison has gone 4-for-12 with two runs scored. He also batted leadoff in the past two games, which included his 2-for-4 effort in Saturday’s 5-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds. Harrison has 33 plate appearances in the leadoff spot this season and is batting .344 in such situations. It is a return to his most comfortable spot in the lineup. He has 734 career plate appearances at the top of the lineup, more than any other spot. In those chances he is batting .305 with 13 home runs and 52 RBI.
Perhaps the mix of healthy competition and a move back to leadoff will be just what Harrison needs to turn his slump upside down.
Happ’s third home run for the Tennessee Smokies was an important one. With the Smokies deadlocked at 5-5 in the top of the 10th inning, Happ launched a solo home run to right-center field, pushing the Smokies ahead 6-5. Teammate Victor Caratini followed up with a solo dinger himself and Tennessee went on to win 7-6.
Despite that clutch knock, Happ is still having some trouble getting into a rhythm in Double-A. He is batting .179 over the last 10 games and now has a slash line of .265/.301/.387 in 155 at-bats with the Smokies.
Hitting just .197 during 20 games with the Charlotte Knights and .215 for the season in Triple-A, Campana went 3-for-13 this past week and recorded his ninth stolen base of the season and fourth with the Knights.
In Walsh’s lone appearance of the week, he threw a perfect inning of relief to earn his fifth save in eight opportunities for the Winston-Salem Dash. Overall, Walsh is 1-2 with a 3.44 ERA in 23 games.
Atkinson was placed on the seven-day DL by the Missoula Osprey on July 25 and was assigned to the AZL D-Backs of the Arizona Rookie League the next day.