Just The Facts

As a freshman Tim Ferguson was thrust into the role of starting shortstop when Evan Button was injured. The Beaumont, Texas, native started 34 games in 2008.

After an up and down rookie year, Ferguson is looking forward to an improved sophomore season.

"I'm a ton more comfortable," he said. "I've gotten bigger. I'm not as intimidated. Last year I was kind of indecisive. This year I know more where I fit in."

Ferguson batted .289 in his first collegiate season with nine doubles, two triples, three home runs and 23 RBI. One of the main areas he focused on in the fall was power, and it worked.

"This fall I hit more for power," he said. "Coach Rob (Reinstetle) and I have been working on going opposite field. The main thing I worked on was going to center and right field gaps. It almost got to a point where I felt more comfortable hitting to right field. Hopefully I still have the pull-side power that I did."

Button is back and juco transfer Kevin Mort has joined the program, so either could be at shortstop. Ferguson, along with Zach Miller, is a strong candidate for second base. Ferguson also mentioned third base as a possibility, although Logan Williams is the likely frontrunner there.

Ferguson, at 6-foot-2, said he's gotten much stronger in the past year and a half.

"I (recently) weighed 202 for the first time without shoes on. I got here last year at like 183. I've been able to keep my speed, which is important. I have to do that, but I'm trying to get as much weight on as I can."

Ferguson struggled defensively last season. There were few routine plays. He's open to discussion but doesn't necessarily feel comfortable talking about the reasons, fearing they might come off as excuses.

"And I'm not the kind of guy to make excuses," he said. "Last year mentally I felt fine. My glove was fine. My footwork was fine. It's just that my arm went dead. I've been throwing every day and rehabbing (this fall and preseason). It feels a lot better. Last year I had quote-unquote dead arm. The pain came from a cyst in the back side of my shoulder that's non-removable because it's going to grow back. There was a slight tear in my rotater cuff. Not too major but enough to be considered kind of serious.

"There was pain and it was hard to get through that. I know there was a lack of mental toughness. But I'm just being honest. I should have used my legs more, and I blame myself for that. But my arm was definitely hurting. I went to summer league for only two weeks, because I wanted to come back. I went home and went to the doctors. Then I came here and three weeks before school started, I threw every day."

As for now, he says he's fine and ready for preseason practice.

"It's like a complete 180," he said of his health and current situation. "I believe that's all past me now."

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