<
>

No minor league deal for golf star

TOLEDO, Ohio -- Phil Mickelson won't be trading in his pitching wedge for the pitcher's mound this weekend.

The Detroit Tigers said Saturday that they will not offer a minor league baseball contract to the golfer.

Mickelson threw batting practice Friday to 18 Toledo Mud Hens players, most of them pitchers, hoping to earn a chance to pitch in a real game for Detroit's Triple-A affiliate. The Mud Hens close the regular season Monday.

"We appreciate his competitive efforts and also appreciate the first-class manner in which he has handled himself," Tigers assistant general manager Al Avila said in a statement Saturday.

Mickelson said he was disappointed but understood.

"If I can get my velocity up, we may revisit this," he said. "Golf is my No. 1 priority and always will be. Throwing a baseball is an important part of my workout program, so if I can get my speed to 85 mph or above consistently, I wouldn't rule out trying
this again."

Mickelson has 21 wins on the PGA Tour but never has won a major. He golfs left-handed but throws right-handed.

Michael Miller, president of the Mud Hens' board of directors, arranged the workout through Mickelson's swing coach, Rick Smith, who lives in nearby Sylvania.