Mitch Harris had two dreams in life: serving his country and playing professional baseball. He just didn't realize that one might keep him from doing the other.
Harris was a legitimate prospect coming out of the Naval Academy after posting a 2.51 ERA with 291 strikeouts in 222 13 innings during his four-year career. And the Cardinals took a chance, drafting him in the 13th round of the 2008 draft.
The hard-throwing right-hander signed with St. Louis in 2009, but knew he had to fulfill his five-year commitment to the U.S. Navy first. Written in his contract with the club was a provision that would allow him to join the Cardinals once he had completed his required service time with the Navy.
Harris, now a Lieutenant Junior Grade, has completed four of the five years. And a recent break in his deployment schedule allowed him to begin realizing his dream. He joined the Cardinals' minor league camp in March and recently began pitching in extended spring training games.