Mizzou Catcher Plays With Big League Ambition

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COLUMBIA -- The Missouri baseball team had a rough weekend, losing two of three games at Texas Tech. But one Tiger is still leading the team at the plate, and behind it.

Missouri coaches are letting senior catcher, Ben Turner, call some pitches this season.

Rob Zystryzny says he won't shake off Turner because he knows he'll hear about it later. This year, the entire Big 12 is hearing about Ben Turner.

Ben Turner is one of few Missouri baseball players who has ever been able to say they've seen their little brother play in the big league.

Ben's brother, Jacob, made his big league debut for the Detroit Tigers last season.

"Being able to grow up with him I learned a lot about pitching and catching, but I think I was able to help him a little bit in his evolution as a pitcher," Turner said.

Ben's evolved into a Tiger captain.

"The respect that he gets from the pitching staff. The way that he deals with the game. He's a baseball player and that's a real compliment because there's not a lot of those guys out there anymore. Guys that know how to play the game," head coach Tim Jamieson said.

"He'll come out and yell at me if I'm doing something wrong," Zastryzny said. "He's not going to be like Rob settle down. He's going to be like Rob, throw a strike rigt here. Ok, Ben, whatever you want."

What Turner wants is to play every game, and so far this season he has received his wish in all but one.

"I got a day off and then I sit on the bench and I'm like I really want to be out there," Turner said.

"You try pulling Ben Turner. He's going to want to play until the game's over until no matter how many games in a row it is," Zastryzny said.

"You're talking to a guy that caught 65 games in college. I caught all but four innings my senior year. I can tell you that it does wear on you after awhile," Jamieson said.

Ben's turned into one of the bats on the team. Coming into this weekend he led the team with a .320 average.

"I think the reason he's gained so much respect from his teammates is they see that he has to do it the right way all the time to have a great day or season and he does," Jamieson said.

Turner's always stood out, but it might have something to do with him standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 220 pounds.

"It's a lot different being tall. Going back there and talking to the umpire and they're like you're the tallest dude we've ever had. I'm like I can't really do anything thing about that, but I'll do the best I can to help you out," Turner explained.

And this summer, Ben has a good chance of following his brother's path to professional ball.

"Good catchers are hard to find. Especially ones that handle the game as well as Ben does. So, I think he'll be given an opportunity," Jamieson said.

"It'd be a lot of fun to play with him, but it'd be more fun to play against him because I never really got to do that," Turner said.

Ben says his brother, Jacob, is currently dealing with shoulder tendenitis, but hopes to make it back to the big leagues later this season.

Turner is currently batting .289 with one home run and 20 runs batted in.