NORTH PORT, Fla. — Bad news for the rest of the National League: The reigning Rookie of the Year doesn’t sound all that satisfied with his debut season.
Atlanta’s Michael Harris II – whose callup last year propelled the Braves to 101 wins and a division title – said Saturday he “had an all right season, I guess,” and then responded with more modesty when asked if that’s really how he feels about 2022.
“Some things I had to work on, but it was decent. I’ll try to do better,” Harris said. “Kind of like to hold myself to a higher standard.”
There’s no telling how good the 21-year-old center fielder can become. Harris hit .297 with 19 home runs, 64 RBIs and 20 stolen bases after jumping from Double-A to the majors. Atlanta was below .500 when Harris made his debut May 28. Shortly thereafter, the Braves went on a 14-game winning streak.
Harris and Atlanta teammate Spencer Strider finished 1-2 in the Rookie of the Year vote.
“It means a lot. I know you can only win it once,” Harris said. “I guess that made it mean so much more.”
Harris starts a $72 million, eight-year deal in 2023 that could be worth $102 million over 10 seasons. So the DeKalb, Georgia, native could be playing in Atlanta for a while.
“Me being a fan of the Braves growing up, and being able to put on that jersey and play in Atlanta for a team I grew up rooting for, I guess it just gave me that extra push,” Harris said. “Having my family and friends here to support me too, that also helped.”
Boston right-hander Brayan Bello has been shut down until Monday due to right forearm soreness.
“After his last bullpen, he felt soreness,” manager Alex Cora said. “He’s so important to the organization and what we’re trying to accomplish. He’ll be back on his throwing program Monday.”
The 23-year-old Bello is a candidate to make the club’s starting rotation this spring.
“It was last week, I was throwing. I didn’t feel any pain. I felt tight and I didn’t want to force it,” he said through a translator Saturday morning. “I feel much better right now. I’ve been working really hard to get ready.”
Last year, he was promoted from Triple-A and pitched in 13 games, making 11 starts and going 2-8 with a 4.71 ERA.
“I feel very anxious. I want Monday to come,” Bello said. “It’s the first time I’ve experienced something like this.”
In December, Bello worked out at the home of Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez in the Dominican Republic.
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