"After the draft, I was disappointed," said Harman, who ranks among the top pitchers in Terp history in career strikeouts, second; wins, fifth; and innings pitched, fifth. "I knew that I wasn't going to be taken in the high rounds, but I expected that after performing in the ACC that would be enough to warrant a later-round pick. I was offered to sign as a free agent (by the Royals), but I wasn't completely all in. The draft experience kind of drained me."
His college coach couldn't believe that Harman was overlooked.
"If I was a major-league organization, I'd want Brett Harman on the mound," said Eric Bakich, who coached Harman for three seasons at Maryland and now heads the baseball program at the University of Michigan. "He's got all the intangibles and the ability. Brett is a true four-pitch guy, with not only a fastball but also a devastating slider, a good curveball and an effective change-up. He can make the ball move in different directions, and I'd rather have a guy that throws 88 miles an hour with movement than throw 94, straight as a string. It's not all about velocity."
With the draft disappointment behind him, Harman decided to go back to school. Having majored in kinesiology at Maryland, he is taking several classes at Carroll Community College that he wasn't able to take during his undergraduate days due to the frequent travel and uneven schedule of the baseball season.
"I started off as an accounting major," said Harman, who graduated summa cum laude from Maryland with a 3.85 grade point average. "But I didn't enjoy any of my business classes, and I just couldn't see myself doing it.
"I really liked kinesiology, because it was more about the movements of the human body," he said "One of my research projects was on the biomechanics of the throwing motion, which enabled me to figure out how to reduce stress on the ulnar collateral ligament. That's what I had fixed."
This spring, Harman is preparing for his next baseball season. His six-day-a-week regimen includes one day of rehabilitative exercises, and five days of weightlifting and running.
"I'm thrilled that Brett is continuing to play," Bakich said. "I've never seen a pitcher battle with as much tenacity and aggressiveness as Brett did. He's a relentless competitor."
When Harman returns from St. Louis, he will work directly with patients and doctors at the Carroll Hospital Center.
He expects to receive his formal acceptance to a physician assistant program later this year and begin his formal training in May 2014, preferably at the Medical University of South Carolina, in Charleston, or at one of the Nova University schools in Florida.
After completing the program in 24 to 30 months, Harman will be fully certified and hopes to work in his chosen area of orthopedics.
"Once I had my surgery, I decided to go the physician's assistant route," Harman said. "It's a two-year track to become a P.A., as opposed to six or seven years to become a doctor."
He hopes to get a head start this summer by working with the River City Rascals' orthopedic specialist.
"My career is in medicine," Harman said. "The most exciting part is, hopefully, being able to work with athletes. I would like to get in with a sports team somewhere and help athletes get back on the field. I want to help people recover and give them a second chance."