Nationals assistant general manager and VP of player personnel Doug Harris is back home and recovering after a recurrence of leukemia, the Washington Post’s Barry Svrluga writes. This is the fourth separate time Harris has fought the disease, with this latest incident resulting in a blood transplant, further rounds of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and a 26-day stint in hospital. This all came as the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on the medical system and put patients like Harris at an even more elevated risk. “It was the lowest point in my life, without a doubt,” Harris said, as he had to endure this battle while his family was prohibited from visiting due to COVID-19 restrictions. “I’m a very faithful person, but it’s tough to understand,” Harris said. “And there’s people out there far worse off than me. I never lose sight of that. But, my goodness, four times? Come on, man. It tests your mettle.”
Thankfully, the transplant was a success (all three of Harris’ daughters volunteered blood, with doctors opting for the donation from his middle daughter Sydney) and Harris is now resting at home. While his daily activities are understandably limited, Harris has been able to join other Nationals staffers in conference calls about how to approach and prepare for a potential 2020 season. “This has been part of my life. I’m proud of what I’ve been able to overcome,” Harris said. “And there’s a great story that is not finished yet. Not even close.” We at MLBTR are all looking forward to the next chapters of Harris’ story, and we join the rest of the baseball world in wishing him the best in his recovery.
- Athletics president Dave Kaval provided the latest on the team’s efforts towards a new Oakland ballpark, telling Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that the A’s are still “moving forward with” the plan at the Howard Terminal site. “Right now, we’re just focused on taking it quarter by quarter and seeing how much progress we can make. We are not at the top of the list [for the city of Oakland] because there are more pressing issues, and we want to be respectful of that as we garner the necessary approvals to move forward,” Kaval said. It isn’t yet known if the pandemic could result in the project being pushed back from the original target date of the 2023 season, as “the timing of those things aren’t known right now because everything is still in flux,” Kaval said.
- As for the Athletics’ current ballpark, Kaval told Slusser that the team is in discussions with local officials about how to safely open and operate the Oakland Coliseum under advanced health guidelines. The A’s already submitted a 67-page document outlining what health and safety procedures will be in place, and approval from Alameda County could come as early as Monday. When or if this approval is granted, A’s players will be able to begin workouts at the ballpark.
- The Cardinals have five selections within the first 93 picks of Wednesday’s amateur draft, and seven picks overall during the five-round event. As Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch describes the situation, “it’s a cluster of picks that allows for some gamesmanship. The Cardinals could use it as a reason to shuffle around bonus money and reach for a pick, to gamble on signability — or play it safe, target predictable picks, and try to get sure things from an unsure draft.” Whether the club pursues any sort of overarching strategy at all might not be realistic, as assistant GM Randy Flores notes that “in reality, each pick is made in the context of that moment.” The shortened nature of the draft will also be a big factor in the team’s decision-making, as Goold points out that the Cardinals have traditionally been very successful at finding future gems later in the draft. On the current St. Louis roster alone, Matt Carpenter (13th round, 2009) and Tommy Edman (sixth round, 2016) were two homegrown products drafted after the fifth round.