Senior catcher Jimmie Pharr is the new starting catcher for the baseball team, and has the task of replacing an All-American.
Last season’s starter, Bryan Holaday, won the Johnny Bench Award for the nation’s best catcher in 2010 before being drafted by the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball.
Holaday hit .355 with 17 home runs to help lead the Frogs to their first College World Series appearance in the program’s history. He also committed just seven errors in 68 games.
Pharr said he is ready to step up to the plate for the Frogs this season.
“I got to sit behind Bryan, he was the best catcher in the country last year,” Pharr said. “He taught me a lot so, I mean, he’s probably the reason I’m doing what I’m doing today.”
Pharr is hitting .333 through seven games this season. He is also doing well defensively as he has yet to make an error in the field.
The pitchers throwing to him don’t seem to mind Pharr behind the plate, either.
“Ya know they both learned from (assistant coach Ryan Shotzberger), so they pretty much do the same thing,” junior pitcher Kyle Winkler said. “It’s a little bit different obviously without Bryan back there, but Jimmie’s doing a great job.”
Senior pitcher Steven Maxwell said he was never really worried about pitching to Pharr.
“I’ve always had a lot of confidence in Jimmie,” Maxwell said. “I mean, I guess the biggest concern is holding on runners, but he seems to have been doing a great job with commanding that back there behind the plate. I think he’s doing really well defensively back there.”
Pharr hit .363 last season with seven home runs in 2010, mostly as a pinch hitter. Maxwell said his hitting has always been good.
“He’s always had a good bat, and everybody’s coming along right now, and he’s one of those guys,” Maxwell said. “He’s going to be big for us this year.”
Winkler said Holaday was more of a vocal leader last season, and Pharr said he agrees that he leads more by example.
“I’m not a big talker, so I just try and play the game hard and show them the right way to play it, and hopefully the younger guys will follow in line,” Pharr said.
Pharr spent three years behind Holaday. He said he learned a lot from the All-American, but was glad to get the starting job.
“I felt like I put in my time, and I’ve been ready for it for a while, so it’s that much better,” Pharr said.
Pharr and No. 8 TCU continue their nonconference slate this weekend with a three-game series in Lubbock against Texas Tech.