Josh Booty, the winner of MLB Network’s series “The Next Knuckler” made his in-game debut this past Sunday for the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was an inning of work throwing to a squad of Minor Leaguers from the San Francisco Giants. He faced a total of six batters allowing a single, two walks and a wild pitch resulting in two runs being pushed across the plate. Booty ended up throwing more fastballs than knuckleballs and according to Jack Magruder of foxsportsarizona.com, scouts reported that his fastball topped out at 85 MPH with a majority of them registering at 83. Booty threw a total of 28 pitches and conceded that once he tried to aim the knuckler, that’s when his control issues began.
Right now, there are no plans to have the 37-year old righty to pitch in a Cactus League game. Pitching coach Charles Nagyattended the game and came away impressed with Booty’s performance:
“It knuckles. It’s just a matter of him commanding it,” Nagy said. “It’s huge for anybody who has never pitched on a mound in a game. It was a great opportunity in that environment, instead of sticking him on the mound in a stadium full of people. That’s progress. We’ll go from there.”
Ultimately, it will be up to Nagy and manager Kirk Gibson to determine if Booty will get another opportunity in a game setting, be it a regular exhibition contest or another “B” game. Now that Opening Day is less than three weeks away, the team could decide to see more from the pitchers that actually have a shot to make the club out of Spring Training, limiting the chances Booty could receive. At this point, the only scenarios that would have Booty enter a game is a blowout or a situation like March 24th when the D’backs have split squad contests against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Seattle Mariners. Also if Booty wants to play this year even in the Minors , the Miami Marlins hold his draft rights and would have the first opportunity to sign him. It is just another interesting storyline in a Spring full of upheaval in D’back land.
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