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Girl Power: Rays Face High School Knuckleballer in BP


Have you seen Chelsea lately?

Chelsea Baker, a 17-year-old highschool knuckleballer from Plant City, Fla., threw batting practice Monday night against the struggling Tampa Bay Rays... and she had some success against Evan Longoria, Jose Molina, and David Price.

Rays manager Joe Maddon met Baker recently at an awards ceremony and invited her to Tropicana Field. Maddon says the junior was outstanding and has a knuckleball that "moves nicely."

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Baker admitted that she was intimidated at first, but had a "great time" while pitching from about 10 feet in front of the mound and behind a protective screen. She displayed good control, but did hit Longoria in the back with a pitch.

Molina swung and missed a couple of times, and Price hit a hard line drive up the middle.

Baker says it was the late major league knuckleballer Joe Niekro -- not former Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield -- who taught her to throw the fluttering pitch about 10 years ago.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.