Nationals Hire Doug Harris As Farm Director

WASHINGTON — New Nationals farm director Doug Harris believes he took the right job in the right place.

"I like the way (general manager Mike Rizzo) presented the job, the way he wants it structured with a scouting background," Harris said. "And I like the people, there is a really strong staff here and the geography."

Harris, who grew up in Carlisle, Pa., and played his college baseball at James Madison, was an Indians major league scout/advance scout for a year after working for the Rangers for 12 years as an area scout and crosschecker. He already knew Washington's prospects well, having scouted all the clubs from high Class A and above. Before getting pulled away to scout possible trade targets, he also saw low Class A Hagerstown twice last summer.

"I think this is an undervalued system," said Harris, who is particularly impressed by the pitching at all levels. "There is a broad group of players in this system that is better than advertised."

As a player, Harris went in the fourth round of the 1990 draft to the Royals, who did not have a first- or second-rounder that year. He pitched sparingly as a freshman and sophomore for JMU before a breakout junior season.

"I went from sitting on the bench as a sophomore outfielder to being Kansas City's second pick as a pitcher in one year," Harris said.

Harris was on the Royals' 40-man roster for two years and reached Triple-A with the Orioles and the Marlins in 1996. But he never made it back to the mound after reconstructive shoulder surgery, the second surgery of his career.

"I started scouting with my arm in a sling," he likes to say, as his second career began under then-Rangers scouting director Chuck McMichael, who worked for the Royals when Harris was still pitching.

"Now it's a struggle for me to play catch with my daughter," Harris said. "I have strength, just not range of motion. I could probably throw BP, but luckily that's not a job requirement."


Bobby Williams, who was farm director the past three years, will manage the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Nationals.

Phil Rizzo, a member of the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame, was hired as senior adviser to the GM, his son Mike. The two worked together previously when Mike was the Diamondbacks' scouting director from 2000-06 and Phil worked for Arizona as a special assignment scout.