Harrison draws comparisons to All-Star Figgins

Harrison draws comparisons to All-Star Figgins

PITTSBURGH -- It was the nightcap of a May 18 doubleheader anyway and the Pirates were facing a Yankees left-hander, so Josh Harrison got a start at third base in Pedro Alvarez's place -- and, like the houseguest who won't leave, he's made himself at home in the Bucs' lineup.

Harrison made his 20th consecutive start Sunday and had hit .317, while driving in 10 runs and scoring 13 others, in the first 19.

It is beginning to sound like the typical "overnight" success story -- the 26-year-old Harrison is in his seventh pro season, much of the last four in the Majors -- and Clint Hurdle was asked if he had witnessed a previous, similar breakthrough.

The Pirates manager had no trouble coming up with a name: Chone Figgins, whom Hurdle had managed as a 1997-2001 Minor Leaguer in the Colorado organization. In July 2001, the Rockies dealt Figgins to the Angels.

"He went to the Angels as a super-utility guy, they plugged him into the lineup and he didn't come out for three years," Hurdle said.

Figgins roamed around Angel Stadium for a couple of years -- center and left field, shortstop, second -- then became a fixture at two positions, center field then third base.

"Guy's playing all over the place, gets put in the lineup -- good day, good day, good day. Same type of scenario," said Hurdle, connecting the dot to Harrison.

Figgins' reward was a four-year, $35 million contract as a free agent in 2010 from Seattle, where things did not work out for him. The Mariners released him during Spring Training in '13. Figgins recently returned to the Majors with the Dodgers.

Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.