Braves' Harris says 'season just started' after 3-hit night, clutch HR
Atlanta Braves outfielder Michael Harris II is finally getting his season on track.
The slumping 2022 NL Rookie of the Year broke out Wednesday, hitting a go-ahead, two-run homer in the eight inning that proved to be the game-winner against the division-rival New York Mets. Harris credits a speech from teammate Marcell Ozuna with helping him turn the corner.
"Before my last at-bat (Tuesday) night, (Ozuna) told me (my) season was just starting, and ever since then, I'm hitting the ball hard and seeing it good," Harris said, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com. "So, I guess my season just started."
The clutch dinger capped off a three-hit night for Harris, helping the Braves win their fourth straight game and maintain a three-game lead in the NL East. He kicked it off with a bunt single and hit a game-tying double in the sixth before the towering game-winner to center. He also mixed in an impressive leaping catch on the warning track.
"I told him 'You're the best center fielder in MLB, so you've got to trust yourself,'" Ozuna said. "I told him he couldn't think about anything in the past and just start the season now. Today, he came in and did that with a good attitude. You can see it on his face."
Harris has struggled so far this year and missed some time with a back injury and knee ailment. Entering June, he was hitting a measly .174/.260/.266 with two homers and five steals over 34 games.
The 22-year-old earned downballot MVP consideration for his impressive rookie campaign, during which he hit .297/.339/.514 with 19 homers and 20 stolen bases over 114 games.