Pete Mackanin met Matt Harrison on Friday, shortly before the Phillies placed the starting pitcher on the disabled list with lower back inflammation.
The Phillies interim manager told Harrison, whom the Phillies acquired from Texas as part of the Cole Hamels trade, to look to next season. Mackanin is doubtful Harrison will pitch for the Phillies this year. He would not bet on it, Mackanin said.
"I said, 'I know you feel bad, but we're looking at you for what we're about to become rather than this year,' " Mackanin said. "Because, we're really not playing for a whole lot this year."
Harrison returned to the majors in July after undergoing spinal fusion surgery in June 2014 in hopes of salvaging his career. His doctor gave the pitcher a 20 percent chance of playing again in the majors. Harrison said he took that 20-percent chance and ran with it.
The 29-year-old became the first known pitcher to return to the majors after undergoing the surgery.
"The biggest thing I told myself was that I didn't want to go home and say, 'What if?' If I hadn't tried, I wouldn't know," Harrison said. "There's been a lot of ups and downs in the process. A lot of rough days."
Harrison was an 18-game winner and an all-star in 2012. He underwent back surgery in April 2013. A second back surgery came a month later. The 29-year-old has made just nine starts since 2012.
"I don't know if he can or he can't," Mackanin said. "But we're hoping that he can, because if he gets close to what he used to be, then he's a pretty good pitcher."
Harrison said he felt fine after his first two starts last month. His back began to feel stiff the day before his third start. It did not loosen up until the fifth inning. Harrison said the next day was the worst his back felt since he returned.
"It's frustrating to come over here and go right on the DL," Harrison said. "I've been through a lot the last couple of years. I don't think it's worth it to me or the team to go out there and not be right."
Danks joins squad
Jordan Danks said he was shocked to get a call on Friday from triple-A Lehigh Valley manager Dave Brundage, who told Danks he was headed to the big leagues. The Phillies promoted Danks after shipping Ben Revere to Toronto.
Danks, 28, played all three outfield positions this season with Lehigh Valley. He batted .245 in 94 games.
"I'm just just laying and waiting and ready for any role," Danks said. "I'm just ready to be here."