Back for more: Farris eyes CWS return trip
After returning for a senior year, a rare occurrence for a star college baseball player, James Farris may be Arizona’s presumed ace, but he isn’t taking anything for granted.
“I want to be the Friday night guy. I’m not entitled to it,” the right-hander said. “I just want to go out there and give my team a chance to win every single game.”
The senior decided to return to Tucson after being drafted by the Houston Astros last season.
Farris said one of the reasons he decided to stay at Arizona was to improve his numbers. However, that wasn’t the main reason.
Arizona senior pitcher James Farris returns to Tucson after being drafted in 2012. Farris is expected to be the Friday night pitcher for the Wildcats.
“I have a really good loyalty to UA. I really enjoy [head] coach [Andy] Lopez and what he’s done for me,” Farris said.
Farris was a sophomore when he pitched during the College World Series and when Arizona defeated South Carolina to earn its fourth NCAA baseball title.
He pitched eight innings during that game and had current junior Mathew Troupe go in for relief.
Last season, Arizona didn’t make it to Omaha. Another reason why Farris decided to come back was to try and get to Omaha in his final season as a Wildcat.
“The best option for me was to come back here and compete for another National Championship,” Farris said.
Sophomore infielder Kevin Newman said Farris not only shows his dedication when he’s on the mound and on the field, but also while preparing himself when it comes to the weight room and staying in shape.
“He’s always in the weight room; he’s a weight room warrior,” Newman said. “He’s always doing his best, always getting work in, and he’s better every day.”
Since Farris is a leading pitcher, his teammates were glad he decided to continue at the UA.
“I was really excited because right now, he’s probably the core of our pitching staff, so it’s really nice to have him,” Newman said. “He can lead all the guys, and I know they’re working hard everyday. So, it’s really good to have him back.”
Normally, college baseball juniors leave after getting drafted. However, Lopez said to the Arizona Summer Wildcat that players staying for four years is becoming more common and there is less of a stigma attached to it.
Farris said he focused on consistency during the fall, adding that he felt his curveball has improved and his fastball now sits at 88-92 mph.
Although it didn’t take him long to decide to finish his career at Arizona, Farris said this year’s draft is on his mind.
“That’s something everyone strives for. It’s definitely on my mind, but I try to keep it in the back of it,” Farris said. “I just worry about right now.”
Farris said he was pleased with the fall performances overall.
“The fall went pretty well, and it prepared us for the spring even with coach Lopez being out,” he said. “That [was] obviously pretty tough, but I think the assistant coaches did a pretty good job preparing us.”
Farris said it’s important for him to be someone younger players look up to, along with going out on the field and working hard every day.
The season begins on Feb. 14, and Farris said he hopes to be the guy on the mound for Arizona that Friday night
—Follow Rose Aly Valenzuela @RoseAlyVal