Washington Nationals reliever Will Harris to have surgery, could miss rest of 2021

Sep 18, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Will Harris (36) delivers a pitch in the 7th inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals reliever Will Harris is scheduled for surgery Friday to treat thoracic outlet syndrome.

Manager Dave Martinez said Sunday the 36-year-old could miss the rest of the season.

Thoracic outlet syndrome occurs when nerves or blood vessels in the space between the collarbone and first rib are compressed, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The right-hander, who is in his 10th MLB season, had a small blood clot removed from his pitching arm after feeling discomfort in spring training. At the time, a specialist in St. Louis ruled out the possibility of thoracic outlet syndrome, MLB.com reported.

He made his season debut on May 4 and pitched eight times in relief but was plagued by inflammation and discoloration of his hand after each game he pitched. Harris returned to the 10-day injured list on May 23, a day after he gave up three hits and two runs without recording an out in a 12-9 win over the Baltimore Orioles.

His 2021 record is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA, giving up six runs in six innings on seven hits and three walks. He struck out nine.

“It was frustrating because he wants to help us win, and he was going out there doing the best he can,” Martinez said. “His hand would swell up on him, and that was no fun for him after every game.”

He subsequently consulted with a specialist in Dallas, who diagnosed thoracic outlet syndrome diagnosis.

Harris spent time with the Colorado Rockies (2012), Arizona Diamondbacks (2013-14) and Houston Astros (2015-19) before signing a three-year, $24 million deal with the Nationals in January 2020. He was 0-1 with a 3.06 ERA in 20 relief appearances for Washington last season.

Harris was an All-Star for the Astros in 2016 and enjoyed his best all-around season in 2019 when he had a 1.50 ERA in 68 appearances. Ironically, he served up the go-ahead two-run homer to Washington’s Howie Kendrick in the seventh inning of Game 7 of the 2019 World Series and the Nationals went on to a 6-2 victory.

–Field Level Media