Auston Matthews’ throwing ability will be on display on Tuesday when the Toronto Maple Leafs’ star center tosses the ceremonial first pitch at Rogers Centre when the Toronto Blue Jays host the New York Yankees.
Matthews’ father Brian was a pitcher back in the day and Auston played both baseball and hockey in Scottsdale, Arizona before settling in on hockey.
“I wasn’t much of a pitcher. I had a pretty wild arm so I usually caught,” Matthews recalled. “I pitched a little bit, but not very good.”
The 25-year-old Matthews played some Little League and travel baseball before he ended up putting all of his focus on hockey. Although it’s been a long time since he has picked thrown a baseball, he’s confident in his ability to get the ball over the plate.
He intends to throw from the mound on the rubber.
“I think you have to throw from the rubber for sure. Which makes it a bit difficult because you see how high up they are and it definitely throws you off a bit,” Matthews said. “I think the right way to do it is to definitely throw from the rubber.”
Mitch Marner threw out the first pitch in a Blue Jays game five years ago. Initially, he said he was going to throw from in front of the mound before former Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman convinced him to move back to the mound.
Marner managed to get the ball across and within the range of not embarrassing himself.
Matthews’ teammates will be watching closely to see how he performs.
“There might be a little extra pressure,” Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly said. “He was talking about using some Spider Tack, we’ll get the umps out and make sure it’s legal.
“He’s a good athlete so I’m sure he’ll be fine. He might throw some offspeed stuff. We’ll see.”