Former NBA great Tracy McGrady passed another milestone in his efforts to pitch professionally.
McGrady threw to hitters for the first time during a 20-minute bullpen session on Monday at Constellation Field, the home of the Sugar Land Skeeters.
The hitters did not swing, but they got a good look at what McGrady can bring.
"He's so tall and his arms are so long. His downward slope, you're not going to see that too often," said Barrett Barnes, a minor league outfielder in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, in an interview with FOX 26 Sports.
"When you have a presence like that on the mound, it's really hard to settle in and be comfortable hitting.
Barnes was chosen in the 1st round of the 2012 MLB Draft by the Pirates when they used a supplemental pick.
"Say his velo is 87, but with his arms and his body, it feels like it's 90-91 (MPH)," Barnes said.
"His velo might by lower, but it feels like it gets on you way faster."
Kansas City Royals minor league outfielder Daniel Rockett said it felt like McGrady could almost reach out and touch him from the mound.
"With a dude that big it's like he's in the box with you," Rockett said.
McGrady, who is hoping to land a spot with the Skeeters, an Atlantic League franchise, is working with Arizona Diamondbacks pro scout Scipio Spinks, and seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens.
"(Spinks) taught me a lot, mechanics, and just a lot of things I didn't know about pitching, and I'm using that to my advantage," McGrady said.
"I also have Roger Clemens out here. What better person to have teaching you some things about pitching than Roger Clemens."
Spinks said it was important for McGrady to face hitters, even if they were not swinging their bats.
"It gives him a gauge to see where he's at," Spinks said. "Just to let us know if he's going to back off if there are hitters at the plate, which he didn't. As a matter of fact he said that 'I want them to know I'm a little wild.' "
Spinks said next week McGrady will "face live hitters, giving him the opportunity to see how he reacts off of balls coming back to him."