Mitch Harris, the first Naval Academy graduate to take the field for a major league baseball team in nearly a century, was released Tuesday by the St. Louis Cardinals after two minor-league outings this season.
Harris announced the move on his Instagram page, thanking the organization for giving him a chance to play pro baseball after fulfilling his active-duty service commitment, including time in the Persian Gulf. The pitcher told multiple St. Louis media outlets that he hopes to continue his baseball career with a different team.
Harris went 2-1 with a 3.67 earned-run average in 26 relief appearances for the Cardinals in 2015 after spending more than two years in the organization's farm system. Arm trouble led to elbow ligament surgery the following June.
The 2008 Naval Academy graduate became the first Annapolis grad to play in the majors since Nemo Gaines made four relief appearances with the Washington Senators in 1921.
This year, Harris gave up two earned runs in two innings spread over two April appearances with Memphis, the Cardinals' Triple-A affiliate, before going on the disabled list.
The Cardinals selected Harris in the 13th round of the 2008 MLB draft. He requested a service waiver shortly after reporting to his first ship, he told Navy Times in 2015, but was denied.
In 2012, the service granted a waiver request that allowed him to shave the last few months off his service commitment and report to spring training. He went 4-1 with a 0.83 ERA for the Single-A State College (Pennsylvania) Spikes and began his rise up the Cardinals' organization, eventually making his MLB debut on April 25, 2015, against the Milwaukee Brewers.