Cornerback Patrick Peterson takes batting practice before the Diamondbacks game on Tuesday
Patrick Peterson prides himself on being a well-rounded athlete, but even he needed a little bit of a warm-up on Tuesday afternoon.
Clad in a Diamondbacks shirt, hat and shorts, the Cardinals' star cornerback took to the batting cage at Chase Field with the major league team's pitchers – a group which, if he had any hope of fitting in at the plate, this was it.
But as Peterson settled into the batter's box, the pitches came a little faster than anticipated. He took the first one, and then swung and missed at the second.
"Oh, man," Peterson said, before turning to the assembled media contingent documenting his swings. "Don't get that on tape now."
It wasn't long before Peterson gave the cameras plenty of usable footage. He smacked a line drive down the line, then had his best contact of the round, blasting a ball to left-center which landed near the warning track. With a wood bat and an expansive field, there would be no homers for him on this day, but Peterson held his own in the cage.
Later, he went to the outfield to track down fly balls – making a nice running catch on one – and then threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Diamondbacks' game against the Nationals. Some celebrities show up for the first pitch and that's it, but Peterson enjoys the competition and got there four hours early to go through the entire pregame routine.
"I love reaching out to, not my colleagues, but guys that are in the professional world as well because I've always felt that I can do everything," Peterson said. "Coming out here, catching grounders, catching fly balls, coming out to the batting cage to hit with these guys, it was definitely a no-brainer just to see where I'm at on their level. Obviously I know I'm not on their level, but just to come out here and interact with these guys was definitely a fun day."
Peterson isn't just the Cardinals' top cornerback, but one of their best golfers. He ranks basketball third on the list of the sports at which he excels, followed by baseball.
Peterson manned center field in his one year of high school baseball, but the sport wasn't for him. He never liked to hit, afraid of a beanball from an erratic pitch.
"I don't think I can stand that pain," Peterson said. "I haven't gotten hit by one yet, but seeing it on TV, it looked like it hurt. I don't think I'd want to endure that pain at all."
Peterson will stick with football full-time – he laughed when it was pointed out he is afraid of a baseball but collides with NFL players for a living – but will still have a hard time passing up any opportunity to test his mettle at other sports, even if it takes a few swings to get in the flow.
"I'm an athlete," Peterson said, "so I can adjust."
Images of Patrick Peterson, D.J. Humphries and Jared Veldheer with the D-Backs