CHICAGO -- It wasn't just the football-like weather that had Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas throwing the pigskin around to teammates before Wednesday's game.
"I do it to keep my arm loose and keep throwing," Moustakas said. "Throwing a baseball every day works different muscles than throwing a football, so it helps me keep my arm strong."
So there he was, floating spirals before batting practice.
"It's a proven fact," Moustakas said. "Look up what Nolan Ryan and the old Texas Rangers used to do. They used to throw footballs all the time before they starting throwing their baseballs. Look it up. The Express -- I'm not saying I have anything close to what he's got, but if he was doing it, there's got to be something to it."
Royals manager Ned Yost recalled that when he coached for Atlanta, Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone used to have his pitchers toss footballs.
"Leo was a big proponent of pitchers' throwing footballs, especially when you were hurt, because he claimed it strengthened your arm," Yost said. "I tried it a couple times, and it always loosened me up quick. It does strengthen your arm."
Braves general manager John Schuerholz ended the practice, Yost said, because he thought it was inappropriate. Yost does not like his pitchers doing it because catching a football might injure the pitching hand.
"I don't want them to do it because there's the danger of stoving a finger and all that stuff," Yost said. "But I'm not going to stop the infield guys from doing it. They're doing it for a reason, because it does strengthen your arm in different ways."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.