Reality hits for ‘Next Knuckler’ Booty

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The “Next Knuckler” experiment is officially over.

The Diamondbacks on Wednesday released pitcher Josh Booty, the former Marlins infield prospect, LSU quarterback and winner of the MLB Network reality show “The Next Knuckler.”

“We thoroughly enjoyed being a part of ‘The Next Knuckler’ and having Josh in camp,” D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall said. “We gave him an opportunity to make the team, but it unfortunately did not work out for him. He’s a terrific guy and was a display of class his entire stay.”

Booty, 37, won an invitation to D-backs camp by beating fellow ex-quarterbacks Doug Flutie, Ryan Perrilloux, David Greene and his brother John David Booty on the MLB Network show, which featured former big league knuckleballers Tim Wakefield and Charlie Hough teaching the contestants to throw a knuckleball.

Booty spent the early parts of D-backs camp getting adjusted to the physical rigors of a major league spring training, losing 10-15 pounds in the process. He worked regularly with D-backs pitching coach Charles Nagy and even got to break down video of one of his bullpen sessions with 2012 NL Cy Young winner and baseball’s only knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who was at Salt River Fields with Team USA for the World Baseball Classic.

The most action Booty saw was in a “B” game against San Francisco Giants minor leaguers. He struggled with command in the outing, allowing two runs on a hit and two walks. The D-backs reassigned him to minor-league camp March 13 without an appearance in a Cactus League game.