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AJ Hinch recalls working out with Phil Mickelson with Toledo Mud Hens

Legendary golfer Phil Mickelson became the oldest person to win a major with his PGA Championship title on Sunday in a historic performance.

He also once worked out with the Detroit Tigers Triple-A affiliate Toledo Mud Hens in 2003 shortly after a PGA Tour event in 2003 in the hope of pitching one of their final games of their schedule.

Current Tigers manager A.J. Hinch, who was a catcher with the team at the time, recalled that interesting experience.

“I was down in Toledo, actually, on rehab,” Hinch explained. “I pulled my groin, so I was on the DL. … I was down in Triple-A with those guys. Larry Parrish, our manager, wouldn’t let the position players take batting practice against him, so he made the pitchers do it.”

Mickelson, who was accustomed to throwing baseballs as part of his training regimen in order to keep his rotator cuff healthy, displayed a healthy competitiveness while working out with the Mud Hens.

“Pretty soft,” Hinch said of Mickelson’s pitching arsenal. “Pretty soft, a little light. Intent was really good, competitiveness was really good, but a little below the hitting speed of what we were used to. …

“I don’t think you could really tell the difference between his primary and secondary pitches. He gave a valiant effort, though. I’ll give him that.”

“He kind of lived a childhood dream of being a pseudo-professional baseball player,” Hinch said. “Well, we all had a million golf questions. I didn’t like golfing. I didn’t golf as much as I do now. I wish I could go back in time and revisit that time. But he was fun to be around for that day in Toledo.”

Though the Tigers didn’t sign Mickelson to a minor-league deal, they did invite him to hang out in the Tigers dugout at Comerica Park.

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Written by Michael Whitaker

Always at the front lines of Detroit Sports.

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