Terry Francona Hitting Center will make a positive impact for current and future Arizona baseball players
The Arizona baseball team is ready to get the 2018 season underway as it settles into its new state-of-the-art facility at Hi Corbett Field. Just behind the right-field wall lies their newest gem, the Terry Francona Hitting Center.
Former UA alum, and two-time World Series champion in 2004 and 2007 while managing the Boston Red Sox, Terry Francona has made an invaluable contribution to his alma mater in providing the Wildcat baseball program with a tool to be used for many years to come.
Francona, who currently manages the Cleveland Indians, was named Most Outstanding Player in 1980 as he led Arizona to a College World Series championship, where he also received the Golden Spikes Award.
Francona pledged $1 million for the construction of the new facility back in January of 2017, and a year later is has been completed. The ‘Cats have been taking full advantage of their new toy as the season opener approaches the weekend of St. Valentines day.
“It speaks for itself. I literally couldn’t thank Terry enough if I wanted to,” skipper Jay Johnson said.
The nine-thousand-plus square-foot building houses four hitting lanes, as well as a full sized bunting area with two separate stations. Just outside the hitting center, near the first base foul line, sits three new bullpens as well as a turf catching area. Players have the luxury of video analysis with interactive TV’s to go along with graphics — not to mention still plenty of room for players to stretch and get a full team workout inside the fully air-conditioned facility.
“I think it’s awesome,” pitcher Robby Medel said. “The development that these guys can get in here… unreal, 24 hour access; Cal [Stevenson] comes in and hits in here at 10 o’clock at night. It’s the best thing ever.”
As excited as the current roster is about the new facility, the coaching staff is just as ecstatic. The hitting center along with the revamped clubhouse will be used as a tool for recruiting and luring top high school and junior college prospects to Tucson.
“I think it has the ability to bring more guys in,” Stevenson said. “They see these facilities, they want to come down here and be around something that’s newer and a little more special.”
Johnson concurs with Stevenson.
“You have to create every type of advantage that you can when you’re competing for the players we’re competing for.” Johnson said.
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