"I kind of felt like I spent the first three weeks here trying to get to know everybody and get comfortable in the atmosphere and the clubhouse," Harris said. "It didn't really do me any good as far as getting myself ready at the plate. I kind of went back to the approach that I used to take, being worried about getting myself ready to play. And the last week or so, I feel a lot better hitting."While Punto hasn't had any troubles fielding, it's been an uphill battle for him to rediscover his stroke at the plate. He lost his starting job last season, when he struggled offensively, hitting just .210 in 472 at-bats. Punto acknowledged earlier this spring that his offense would have to improve for him to earn a starting job. That hasn't been the case as Punto has just five hits in 40 at-bats. He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in Tuesday's 7-3 loss to the Pirates. "My numbers in Spring Training don't tell you it, but I definitely feel a lot more comfortable," Punto said. "It's just a matter of getting at-bats." Although Punto won't be in a starting role, Gardenhire still stressed that he, like Tolbert and the rest of the infielders, will all get their fair share of playing time in 2008. Gardenhire said he definitely plans on using Punto as a defensive replacement late in games, and that in addition to some time at second base, Punto will also be shifted to other spots around the infield -- including third base and shortstop. "Believe me, he'll get used quite a bit," Gardenhire said. "I like to see him out on the field." The skipper has not officially informed the players of his decision on second base, so Harris didn't want to assume that the job was his. But he said that he came into camp with the feeling that the job was his to lose. "It's like going to the plate, you expect to get a hit, and I came in expecting to play every day," Harris said. "I just have to prepare the same way and get ready to go. And we'll see what Gardy has to say."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less