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Harris impressing in relief for D-backs

Harris impressing in relief for D-backs

Harris impressing in relief for D-backs

SAN FRANCISCO -- Since the D-backs claimed Will Harris off waivers from Colorado in April, the 28-year-old right-hander has become a key component out of manager Kirk Gibson's bullpen.

Harris' 1.82 ERA and 11.68 strikeouts per nine innings are tops among D-backs pitchers, and it hasn't gone unnoticed.

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"He's doing a great job for us," Gibson said. "He throws sliders, has a cutter and has a good mentality [for late-inning situations]."

One area in which Harris can improve is his walk rate. He's issuing free passes at a clip of 2.92 per nine innings and has struggled with command of his offspeed pitches at times.

"There's been a lot of three-ball counts," Gibson said. "We'd like to see him cut down on his pitches."

Gibson pointed to a moment in Friday's game when Harris threw consecutive breaking balls a few feet short of home plate.

"It was pretty obvious the next pitch would be a heater," Gibson said. It was, and Jeff Francoeur -- a noted fastball hitter -- doubled to lead off the inning.

Harris induced three consecutive groundouts to escape the eighth inning.

"We're moving him into higher situations [recently]," Gibson said. "He's done a good job."

Andrew Owens is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @OwensAndrew. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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