Sports

Cockroft pitches way back into starting rotation with crucial wins

Head Coach Jim Morris found himself more than just a pitcher when J.D. Cockroft came to a pitcher/catcher camp a few years back. Cockroft has become Miami’s most consistent pitcher, whether it is out of the bullpen or in the starting rotation.

From Foster City, Calif., Cockroft attended Bellarmine College Prep, the same high school that produced former Hurricane great Pat Burrell.

Although Cockroft, a graduated senior, has won the Ron Fraser Award the past two seasons for being the ‘Canes’ top pitcher, he was demoted from the No. 1 starting job at the beginning of the season. After a tough 3-0 loss to Florida on opening night, things went downhill in a hurry and Morris put him in the bullpen. Cockroft took the switch hard.

“It really hurt,” Cockroft said. “Being the number one [starter]had been my goal ever since I got here and it seemed like everything I worked for was going down the drain.”

After five appearances out of the bullpen, a spot in the rotation opened up when Morris felt that starter Dan Touchet needed a couple weeks of rest due to a dead arm. Cockroft took full advantage of his opportunity.

“I think I pitched my way back into the role,” Cockroft said. “I’m pitching the best I’ve really pitched in a really long time. It really feels great to be back out there to set the tone for the series.”

His first start back in the rotation was against Florida State, where he went seven innings and only allowed three hits, as Miami shutout the Seminoles 10-0.

When watching Cockroft out on the mound, one immediately realizes that he isn’t a typical lefty pitcher. He doesn’t come after hitters with overpowering fastballs. Instead, he throws slow curveballs that drop out of the zone and changeups that are able to baffle even the best hitters in the country. Cockroft had always heard that he didn’t have what it takes to be a great pitcher, but he has proved skeptics wrong time and time again.

“I’ve been hearing that I wasn’t going to make it ever since I was a little kid,” Cockroft said. “But I took everything they said and made it fuel my desire to prove them wrong.”

Cockroft feels that there are benefits to not throwing as hard as some other pitchers. These help him when he’s out there on the mound starting, where he prefers to be.

“I’m the kind of pitcher that has good endurance,” Cockroft said. “I don’t throw as hard as the other guys do, but I feel it is an asset to me because I can go longer in games.”

Morris feels that Cockroft has been a special part of his ball club during the past four years.

“He’s done a great job for us. No matter what role we’ve asked him to do, he has gotten it done,” Morris said. “He’s a captain for us, which makes him a leader on the field and off the field. He’s really a great kid.”

After four years of hard work and endless practices, J.D. Cockroft will be hanging up his University of Miami baseball cap and putting on his Texas Rangers uniform. On the second day of the MLB draft, the Rangers drafted Cockroft in the 26th round.

Michael Johnston contributed to this article.

July 28, 2004

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

One day after the University of Miami announced that starting cornerback Malek Young would undergo “ ...

It’s one thing for a player who’s projected to go in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft to turn p ...

Miami coach Jim Larranaga and his staff spent recent practices pushing his players to whip the ball ...

The University of Miami confirmed in a written release Sunday that starting cornerback Malek Young s ...

In 2016, the Miami Hurricanes had tight end David Njoku, who went in the first round of the 2017 NFL ...

Presidents at three higher education institutions in Miami "lend our unified voices” to the cal ...

Thirty high school English teachers from Brazil are spending six weeks at UM in a new skill-building ...

Global and local efforts needed to respond to biological threats, UM President Julio Frenk warned at ...

As artificial Intelligence takes hold, tech visionary David Kenny stresses keeping human values in t ...

UM’s First Black Graduates Project committee visits an iconic D.C. museum for inspiration to create ...

The No. 25/23 Miami men's basketball team shot a sizzling 57.6 percent from the field in pullin ...

The University of Miami women's basketball team picked up its third straight win in eight days ...

The University of Miami men's tennis team (1-2) closed out its opening weekend with a 5-2 loss ...

With the help of dominating victories and dramatic comebacks, the No. 19 Miami women's tennis t ...

The University of Miami men's tennis team (1-1) returns to action on Sunday, as it travels to N ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.