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Booty out to prove he's not a 'gimmick' pitcher

TEMPE, Ariz. -- From the moment he knew he won a spot in D-backs camp as part of MLB Network's "The Next Knuckler," Josh Booty has wanted to accomplish one thing.

"I want to show them it's not just a gimmick," Booty said.

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The right-hander appears to be close to appearing in a Cactus League game following an impressive bullpen session Friday morning.

"He gets it now," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He had a good fastball today, too. Threw the ball well."

Booty has dropped 12 pounds since the show stopped filming a month ago, and after being on a throwing program and working with the D-backs trainers, his arm is starting to bounce back as well.

"My arm is feeling so much better than it did two weeks ago," Booty said. "My arm feels live again. I'm just trying to get myself in shape, and when I go out there I'm just going to try and throw the knuckleball for strikes.

"It was good today. They said it was my best session yet. I know when I get out there in a game, the tempo and adrenaline is going to speed up. And knuckleballers have to slow everything down. It's the exact opposite of my personality. I'm just trying to relax and throw it."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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