Making Up For Lost Time: Eric Farris Looks to Return to Nashville in 2011
I know it was quite the busy day in Milwaukee today with the official announcement of the hiring of manager Ron Roenicke. I’m sorry to have missed the press conference at home, but from what I hear, everything went well and I’m excited to work with the new manager. Congratulations to Roenicke on his first Major League managerial job and to Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin on the hire.
The show continues here in Arizona today where the Surprise Rafters are again taking on the Scottsdale Scorpions at Scottsdale Stadium under sunny skies and a temperature of 85 degrees.
I talked to second baseman Eric Farris prior to today’s Rafters game. Farris had a solid Spring Training this past year and made the jump from finishing the 2009 season with Class-A Brevard County to starting the 2010 season with Triple-A Nashville.
“The season started out very promising for me,” said Farris–the Sounds Opening Day second baseman. “It was great to be in Nashville and I was playing well.”
Then, after only 21 games into the season, a home plate collision left him with an injured right knee. Farris would miss three months of the season. He is healthy now and making up for lost time this fall in Arizona.
“I’m very happy to be here,” Farris said. “I really need to get some at bats. For me, this is still a part of my season. I’m really not treating this like a fall league; I’m making up for lost time. I’m just working on playing and getting back what I lost this year. I’m healthy and I feel good and now it is just trying to stay that way. Everything is good to go.”
He ended up playing a total of 60 games with Nashville in 2010 and hit .274 (63-for-230) with two home runs and 15 RBI. He made 56 starts at second base for the Sounds.
Farris is playing on a regular basis here (“regular basis” in the Fall League means every other game, Farris has played in 11 of Surprise’s 20 games heading into today) and is hitting .380 (19-for-50) which is good for seventh in the AFL.
“It’s been a pretty good experience so far for me,” Farris said. “Being able to play here healthy and work on things is great. I really like the group of guys I am playing with, we all get along real well. We are winning, I happy with my performance and what I have been learning, which makes it a lot of fun as well.”
Farris played under Surprise manager Mike Guerrero in Brevard County in 2009, so there is a comfort level between the two.
“Eric had a frustrating regular season,” Guerrero said. “For him to make that jump was great and then to have that injury was a blow to the work he put in to move up in the organization. Luckily he is here, healthy and performing.”
Guerrero’s presence in the clubhouse has helped Farris adapt to the Fall League.
”Mike makes things comfortable for me,” Farris said. “I played for him a couple of seasons ago. He knows me and I know him which is great. He really pushes us to make the most out of this experience here. It has been a good thing having him here for me and the other Brewers guys on the team.”
Putting a focus on getting stronger is something Farris will work on following the Fall League. At 5-10 and 170 pounds, Farris’ speed is a plus tool. He has five stolen bases this fall (tied for 6th in the AFL) and in his four seasons in the Brewers organizations has tallied 138 stolen bases. This year in Nashville, he had 14 stolen bases in 16 attempts.
“As soon as this is done, I would really like to get stronger and work putting on a few pounds,” Farris said. “My speed is important to me, but at the same time, I just want to stay healthy and get myself strong for the whole season. I want to get in spring training healthy and get into the season healthy.”
Farris was the Brewers 4th round selection in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft out of Loyola Marymount (Calif.). For Brewers fans who don’t know much him, Farris describes himself as a hard worker, but one who likes to have fun.
“I take the game as serious as anyone, but I like to have fun while doing it because in the end, it is a game,” Farris said. “I don’t want to take it for granted what I’m doing right now. I’m very fortunate to be here, I want to win and I want to contribute to the organization.”