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From aces to duffers: how the Nats play golf

Washington Nationals relief pitcher Craig Stammen (35) throws in the seventh inning of Game 1 of baseball's NL Division Series against the San Francisco Giants, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014, at Nationals Park in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

VIERA, Fla. — Being a pro in one sport doesn’t guarantee aptitude in another.

During their down time, some of the Nationals like hitting nearby golf courses.

Their abilities are far from equal.

Pitcher Craig Stammen is the undisputed top golfer in the clubhouse, having fired a one-under 71 this spring.

Teammates have come begging for mercy.

“I’m giving out way too many strokes, that’s for sure!” Stammen says, with a laugh.

“They keep asking for more and more and more, but we try to make it a fair game so we have a little bit of competition.”

While several Nats have very respectable handicaps in the single digits, others battle swings that range from interesting to ones you just can’t watchable.

“We can laugh about it because we know it’s not what we’re trying to do — we’re trying to have fun — but we have some bad swings,” says pitcher Matt Thornton.

He calls Jordan Zimmermann’s swing one of the worst he’s seen, although the starting pitcher does manage to hit the ball straight.

“Max Scherzer has his hands so far in front of the club face when he addresses the ball, I don’t know how anybody can contort their body that way, but everyone makes it work,” he says.

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