SAVANNAH -- Brian Harrison leans back in his seat on the Sand Gnats bench at Grayson Stadium, reflecting on this year's season of constant change.
The former Hilton Head Island High standout hasn't had much of a chance to get comfortable in his first full season with the Mets' Class-A affiliate. He's spent time at a pair of positions on the infield -- one of which he had little experience with -- and continues to move throughout the batting order.
Not that Harrison is complaining.
"It's been awesome," he said. " ... I feel like it's been a real growing process as a player -- getting to play every day, getting to put together a lot of at-bats at a time and going through all the ups and the downs."
Whatever the Sand Gnats throw at Harrison doesn't seem to faze the former Furman Paladin much. He's just glad to be doing it at full strength.
The 23-year-old said he has finally overcome the right shoulder problems that plagued him during his final season of college and first year in New York's organization back in 2010. After starting the year in the Gulf Coast League, Harrison played in 35 games for Low-A Brooklyn before making it to Savannah, but the Mets shut him down after just five games after the shoulder became bothersome.
"It wasn't ideal, but they were being very cautious with it," he said. "They didn't want any long-term damage. They said, 'It's not worth it. You're in your first year.' "
After spending all of last season with Brooklyn, Harrison is back with the Sand Gnats -- just a short drive from his hometown of Hilton Head. And his statistics certainly suggest him being up with the Class-A club.
Harrison is batting .258 this season -- up 21 percentage points from a year ago -- and has raised his slugging percentage up 50 points to .368. His on-base percentage sits at .328 while he's tallied 53 RBIs to date -- 23 more than he had all of last season.
"In the time I've seen him, he's always swung the bat well," Sand Gnats manager Luis Rojas said. "He's got some occasional power but he's got more gap power. He's a guy who can hit doubles and bring runs in.
"He's a clutch hitter, too. He's delivered clutch hits for us so many times this year. He's shown a lot of maturity this year."
That clutch prowess Harrison developed is partly why he's been shifted around the lineup so frequently. Rojas said Harrison started the year in the three-hole before moving down to the sixth and seventh spots during the latter part of the first half. He's since hit cleanup for Savannah since the break.
"He's been handling that very well," Rojas said. "He's been laying off bad pitches when they want to pitch around him. He's been driving the pitches that he gets to hit. ... We think he's matured to hit in the middle of the lineup."
But his ever-changing position in the order isn't the only thing Harrison has had to adjust to. For most of this season, the 13th-round draft selection took on the role of full-time first baseman, a position he played only sparingly during his college days.
It was a surprise to Harrison, who was told in the final days leading up to the season that he may man the position. He called his agent -- Landon Williams -- who overnighted a first baseman's glove, which Harrison received two days before Opening Day.
He's since moved back to third, his natural position, in recent weeks after the Sand Gnats' every day third baseman was called up to High-A.
"I'm getting the opportunity to show off some versatility," Harrison said. "Give the Mets an opportunity to see me play other positions so they can say, 'OK, he's not limited to just playing first base.' "
Harrison's dreams are just like all the others at his level in that he hopes to make it to the major leagues one day. His best chance to accomplish that feat will come at the plate, Rojas said.
"To me, his hitting abilities give him a chance to make it," he said. "Let's just hope he maintains it that way, keeps getting stronger and sticks to the development plan that we have for him."
Harrison says he's on board with whatever the Mets ask of him. After all, it's going to take a lot more than constant change to get him off track after the nuisance his shoulder provided.
"I think a big part of it is just being healthy and being able to go out there every day knowing my body feels good," he said. "It allows you to focus on your approach and your swing ... I'm starting to really find my groove after the shoulder injury and some of the other injuries I've had."