SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Diamondbacks on Wednesday sent Josh Booty, winner of the MLB Network competition “The Next Knuckler,” to minor-league camp without a Cactus League appearance. He was among 15 players who were reassigned.
Booty, a former LSU quarterback and Marlins infield prospect, won an spot in D-backs camp by beating fellow ex-quarterbacks Doug Flutie, Ryan Perrilloux, David Greene and his brother John David Booty in MLB Network show that featured former big league knuckleballers Tim Wakefield and Charlie Hough teaching the contestants to throw a knuckleball.
Booty, 37, worked with D-backs pitching coach Charles Nagy regularly but appeared only in a “B” game against Giants minor leaguers last Saturday. He gave up two runs on a hit and two walks. Booty, who had not pitched since high school, was the Marlins’ first-round draft pick in 1994. He spent four years in the team’s minor league system before leaving to play football at LSU.
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said Booty spent the early part of camp getting adjusted to workout routines and lost 10-15 pounds in the process. Booty had the chance to watch video of one of his bullpen sessions with 2012 NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, who was at the D-backs’ spring training facility with Team USA for the World Baseball Classic. He also got to watch Dickey, the only knuckleballer in the majors, warm up before his start against Team Mexico at Chase Field last Friday.
Booty will finish out spring training in minor league camp and could be assigned to a minor-league team when the season begins. His rights still technically belong to the Marlins, and the D-backs would have to return Booty to them or work out compensation.
The D-backs also sent the following players out of big league camp Wednesday: infielders Nick Ahmed, Matt Davidson and Chris Owings, outfielder Alfredo Marte, catcher Ed Easley, and pitchers Chase Anderson, Charles Brewer, Eury De La Rosa, Keon Broxton, Eric Smith, Zeke Spruill, David Holmberg, Garrett Mock and Bo Schultz.