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article imageFaith in God, family's battle with cancer inspire Arizona pitcher Special

By Kim Hartman     May 27, 2013 in Sports
Tucson - There hasn’t been a day.
There hasn’t been a day in his baseball career that James Farris hasn’t pitched for his teammates, coaches, school and fans.
There hasn’t been a day when losing was an option for the 21-year-old, as he hurled from the hill. There hasn’t been a day when the Arizona starter hasn’t trained diligently to stay in peak condition for every game.
And there hasn’t been a day when Farris has forgotten about his many family members whom have battled with cancer, including his grandmother who died from the disease.
This reminds the junior right-hander that as hard as he works as a baseball player, there are more serious matters in life.
“Watching my family members go through what they have with cancer really puts things into perspective,” he said. “It reminds me to be humble and to not get emotional about things. That pitching is not as hard as fighting for your life.”
In honor of his grandmother and the cancer survivors in his family, Farris drew the cancer ribbon in black ink underneath the rim of his baseball cap, and he wears it every time he takes the mound.
“(My family members with cancer) have shown an amazing amount of courage with everything they have faced,” Farris said. “It’s been really inspiring for me, as a player and a person.”
Farris, who calls Gilbert, Ariz. his hometown, also holds religion close to his heart. Raised by his parents Jim and Linda, the Saturday starter has always kept Christ as his foundation.
“Christianity is everything to me,” Farris said. “I try to base everything in my life off of it. I try to keep a level head, come out and work hard and never take anything for granted.”
As a tribute to his faith, Farris scripted a religious phrase on his rim, in addition to the cancer symbol.
It says: “Life is a journey, God is my guide; together we travel safely side by side.”
Farris, who has a younger sister Jordan, first discovered the quote in his girlfriend’s car, where it was printed on her visor clip. As a Christian, he related strongly with the words, so he started writing it on his hat.
“I read it before I go out (to pitch) to calm myself and my nerves,” Farris said. “Knowing that He’s here makes me ready to go.”
In addition to those, the Ohio-born righty also has the word, “Breathe,” scribed in all capital letters underneath his rim.
“It’s something that Coach (Andy) Lopez always tells us to do,” Farris said. “So I wrote it on my hat to remind myself to breathe when I’m on the mound.”
From the hill this season, Farris posted a 5-5 record and a 4.18 ERA in 15 appearances. The second slot starter had more strikeouts per inning this year, and hitters batted an improved .241 against him, compared to .262 in 2012.
Outside of the numbers, Arizona head coach Andy Lopez is impressed with Farris’s consistency during the last two seasons and with the intangibles he possesses.
“Farris has good work ethic,” Lopez said. “He’s very studious, in terms of the opposing hitters. He does a good job at learning the scouting report and the information in it. He has very good work ethic.”
In his final start of the season, Farris pitched a complete game on Saturday, his first of the year. He pitched his first and only complete game shutout against North Dakota State last season.
In his spare time, Farris enjoys golf, ping pong, mountain biking, music and watching “Workaholics.” The junior year player currently majors in regional development with a minor in environmental studies. His favorite professional sports team is the St. Louis Cardinals.
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