MLB players tee it up at Disney event

MLB players A.J. Pierzynski, left, and Aaron Rowand during Round 1 of the Children's Miracle Network Classic.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – It’s been quite a month for Aaron Rowand.

The 33-year-old San Francisco Giants outfielder won his second World Series ring on Nov. 1, and Thursday had a chance to tee it up in a PGA Tour event, the season-ending Children’s Miracle Network Classic at Walt Disney World. Rowand, who also played at Disney in 2009, was one of a number of athletes to participate in the pro-am portion of the event, pairing with Brian Gay in Round 1 to shoot a handicapped best-ball 9-under 63. Rowand finished T-4 in last year’s pro-am competition.

“Being in the postseason, I didn’t get to prepare much for this week,” said Rowand, a 12-handicapper who also won a World Series with the Chicago White Sox in 2005. “But this event is great. It really makes you appreciate what these pros can do and the consistency they play with.”

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James Shields of the Tampa Bay Rays during Round 1 of the Children's Miracle Network Classic.

After Rowand putted out on the Palm Course’s 18th green, using a wide-legged stance more suited for a 3-and-2 count than a 10-foot putt, he was greeted by a pair of fellow big-leaguers, A.J. Pierzynski of the White Sox and James Shields of the Tampa Bay Rays, both of whom had admittedly rough days on the course.

“My strength is hitting it far,” Pierzynski said. “My weakness is everything else.”

When asked to name the best golfer in the major leagues, Rowand thought long and hard before offering Detroit Tigers utilityman Brandon Inge.

“For a little guy, he can hit the ball a mile,” Rowand said. “Get him out here and he will out-drive any pro here, I guarantee you.”

Rowand added that Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves also has a good game, possibly a result of spending so much time with pro-am specialist pitchers John Smoltz and Greg Maddux.

“All those Braves guys can play,” Rowand said. “They have a practice green in their stadium and I think they might have a full shot simulator, too, so maybe that’s why. They just get more practice than everyone else.”

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