MARYVALE, Ariz. -- Chris Stratton was busy warming up for his second start of the spring when Twitter blew up with the news that Bryce Harper had chosen the Phillies. He found out about the deal when he returned to the clubhouse after three shutout innings and saw a text from his wife.
"I guess you get to keep your number," Martha Kate Stratton had written.
Chris wears No. 34, and for weeks he has smiled when asked about giving it up. He had a quick answer when a reporter asked if he was getting ready to negotiate with Harper.
"Oh yeah, oh yeah," he said, "No doubt, no doubt."
Harper will instead take his bat to Philadelphia, and Stratton will continue with his biggest goal of the spring. He is out of minor league options and is fighting for a job, either in the rotation or as the long man. Thursday's performance was a good one, and Stratton was happy about it. But he admitted his shoulders dipped just a bit when he saw the Harper news.
The Giants were all hoping to add Harper to their lineup, and baseball tradition dictates that it would have been a nice boost for the young pitcher who was already wearing the superstar's number.
"I'm not going to lie, I'm a little disappointed," Stratton said, laughing. "I maybe could have gotten a Rolex or something like that. But no, good for him. That's great for the game for him to be able to sign a contract like that."