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In a surprise twist, the Marlins still own Josh’s Booty

Feb 26, 2013, 6:15 PM EDT

Jeffrey Loria AP

If you watched the MLB Network’s recent reality show, you know that former LSU quarterback Josh Booty is in Diamondbacks camp, having become “The Next Knuckler.”

However, it turns out that should Booty stun the baseball world and actually impress enough with his knuckleball to continue his career, he’ll do so as a Marlin.’s Ken Rosenthal reports that Booty remains Marlins property since he retired, instead of getting released, when he left baseball to go play football 14 years ago.

Before spending two years at LSU and getting drafted by the Seahawks, Booty was a first-round pick of the Marlins in 1994, going fifth overall. Despite poor minor league results — he was a lifetime .198/.256/.356 hitter in five seasons — he appeared in the majors with the Marlins each year from 1996-98, going 7-for-26 with four RBI. He retired in Jan. 1999 to go play football.

Since Booty was on the retired list, the Marlins retained his rights for the duration of his absence from baseball. Now that he’s back, they’ll have the right to reclaim him at the end of spring training, should they wish to. Rosenthal reports that the Diamondbacks, the Marlins and MLB reached a resolution last week to let Booty carry on in Diamondbacks camp for now. It’s not expected that the 37-year-old right-hander will become a serious threat to return to the majors, but one never can tell with knuckleballers.

  1. dondada10 - Feb 26, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    Another poster said this in the comments section: Why don’t more washed up pitchers/hitters give the knuckle ball a try?

  2. tracyhudsonateyourbaby - Feb 26, 2013 at 6:42 PM

    Because the knuckleball is actually very hard to throw, and in order to do so, an established pitcher would have to alter their entire delivery. Easy to do when your 19-20 years old, but at 30? 40? Not so much.

    • tuberippin - Feb 26, 2013 at 7:02 PM

      Did R.A. Dickey prove nothing last season?

      • tracyhudsonateyourbaby - Feb 26, 2013 at 7:13 PM

        Dickey has thrown a knuckler since college.

      • tuberippin - Feb 27, 2013 at 12:54 AM

        He didn’t intend it to be a knuckler. He also didn’t throw it in the bigs until ’06 and didn’t really nail it down until ’09-’10.

    • bigleagues - Feb 26, 2013 at 8:17 PM

      That’s not entirely true. Steven wright just became a knuckleballer a couple of years ago. Wakefield was a washed up 22-year-old 1B in the Pirates system before he became a knuckler.

      Furthermore, it’s extremely rare that a knuckleballer is drafted out of college let alone High School because it’s typically a career preservation move, rather than a career objective.

      • tracyhudsonateyourbaby - Feb 26, 2013 at 8:24 PM

        In both Wright and Wakefield’s cases, they were still relatively young when they went to the knuckler (Wakey at 22, and Wright at 26). And even Wakefield says that in high school he’d throw the knuckler when he’d pitch if his team was already well ahead.

      • tracyhudsonateyourbaby - Feb 26, 2013 at 8:29 PM

        BTW, my source for both my point about Wakey and Dickey comes from their own mouths in Knuckleball: The Movie. Excellent film.

  3. tuberippin - Feb 26, 2013 at 7:02 PM

    Loria strikes again.

    *shakes fist violently* CURSE YOU, LORIA!

  4. tfbuckfutter - Feb 26, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    First, I actually think I have a Josh Booty autographed minor league card from Best or some such company somewhere.

    Second, that show sounded interesting and I intended to watch it.

    Third, I don’t really care that I didn’t.

    Fourth, I think Loria just tried to trade him to Alabama.

    • historiophiliac - Feb 26, 2013 at 8:27 PM

      You have an actual Booty card?

      • tfbuckfutter - Feb 26, 2013 at 8:44 PM

        I believe I do.

        I also have a wonderfully terrific assortment of Wonderful Terrific Mounds cards.

        Not sure how that guy didn’t become a superstar.

    • indaburg - Feb 26, 2013 at 8:30 PM

      It was pretty interesting.

      • indaburg - Feb 26, 2013 at 8:32 PM

        Um, the show–not the Booty.

  5. esracerx46 - Feb 26, 2013 at 8:15 PM

    I have a feeling Loria will reclaim him just before the Dbacks try to bring him to the majors. Why? 1.Spite. 2. Its the freaking Marlins and Loria does some strange shit.

    • historiophiliac - Feb 26, 2013 at 8:26 PM

      Of course he will, because then he can make money off of him…by dangling him around to see who bites.

      • Old Gator - Feb 26, 2013 at 10:22 PM

        Knowing Scrooge McLoria, he’ll probably train him for Mandingo fighting.

      • historiophiliac - Feb 26, 2013 at 10:22 PM

        Or that.

  6. historiophiliac - Feb 26, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    Whoa, what do you think he has in that ring? Someone’s soul?

  7. shaggylocks - Feb 26, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    If he does make it, I hope he’s exclusively a relief pitcher. Because you know what that call to the bullpen is going to be called?

    • Old Gator - Feb 26, 2013 at 11:55 PM

      Sigh. Dirty work, but someone has to do it.

      Okay Shag, what will that call to the bullpen be called?

      • derklempner - Feb 27, 2013 at 6:05 AM

        “The Kuckle Call!”

      • derklempner - Feb 27, 2013 at 6:05 AM

        “The Knuckle Call!”

      • derklempner - Feb 27, 2013 at 6:06 AM

        Double-post before I could fix the typo. I thumbs-downed myself!

      • kopy - Feb 27, 2013 at 9:47 AM

        The right answer is Booty Call anyway.

      • Old Gator - Feb 27, 2013 at 2:03 PM

        Oh well gee thanks Inspector Kujan.

  8. danielisthor - Feb 27, 2013 at 12:29 AM

    Loria will claim him and then turn around and trade him,Billy the Marlin and exchange leagues to the Blue Jays so he can have more access to his seats at Yankee stadium and get at least 9 sell outs every year when the Yankees come to S. Florida.

  9. pasta09man - Feb 27, 2013 at 8:03 AM

    O brother.
    I find this story hard to swallow. Didn’t the Marlins get a compensation pick or something when Booty didn’t sign? Or isn’t there a statute of limitations on how long the Marlins can claim him?

    • jwbiii - Feb 27, 2013 at 10:17 AM

      Booty played for 5 seasons and then retired. Most teams release their retired players after a certain amount of time to allow them to become free agents should they choose to make a comeback. The Orioles, for example, released Dontrelle Willis at the end of last season. I guess the Marlins don’t do this.

  10. dontcallmepete - Feb 27, 2013 at 8:16 PM

    “but one never can tell with knuckleballers.”

    Josh Booty is hardly a “knuckleballer” He’s a 37 yr. old former player learning a pitch. There’s a difference.

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