MINNEAPOLIS -- Brendan Harris' home run on Monday night at Target Field carried some irony, simply because the last time he had gone deep was against the Angels while playing for the Twins, and this time it was reversed.
The fact that the home runs were nearly three years apart -- from April 8, 2010, to April 15, 2013 -- showed how fickle this game can be.
Harris, getting plenty of playing time now that shortstop Erick Aybar is on the disabled list, established himself as a full-time big leaguer with the Rays and Twins from 2007-09, posting a .272/.328/.400 slash line while appearing in 130 games per season. Then he got sent down in June 2010 by Minnesota, and it took him two and a half seasons before returning to the big leagues.
"You don't lose faith in yourself, even though maybe some other people do," said Harris, who made the Angels as a non-roster invitee to Spring Training and is one of two backup infielders, along with Andrew Romine.
"You keep believing in yourself and working hard and trying to put yourself in a position to be successful. A lot of times, it's one thing after another, where it's the right spot at the right time or the wrong spot at the wrong time. Sometimes, different guys aren't fits in certain places, and that was the case in the last two places I went."
Harris struggled with the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate in 2011, posting a .225/.282/.331 slash line, but played well with the Rockies in Colorado Springs, with a .317/.407/.507 line, and was surprised to not get a callup.
It was a period made up of "a lot of frustrations and tough times," according to Harris, but there was never a time when the 32-year-old doubted whether he'd ever make it back to the big leagues. Just, as he called it, "general malaise of being in the Minors."
"You can tear yourself up, keep fretting and worrying about it, but it's the type of thing where you just keep believing and don't lose faith, and you believe good things are going to happen and it's going to turn around," Harris said. "That's what brought me to this opportunity with the Angels."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less