J.J. Watt impresses during batting practice session with Houston Astros (video)

Mark Townsend

There’s little doubt Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt is an athletic freak of nature. The 6-foot-5, 295-pound Watt does things on a football field that few people his size or at his position can do now, or have been able to do in the past.

Last season, he absolutely terrorized NFL offensive lines and made a habit of driving opposing quarterbacks into the ground. Watt collected a league-high 20.5 sacks. He also swatted 16 passes down at the line of scrimmage, which nearly doubled the next closest defensive lineman, on his way to NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors.

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But if all of that success in his chosen profession wasn't impressive enough, it also turns out he can do a few things in another sport he played up until his sophomore year of high school. That sport, of course, would be baseball, and he put some of those old skills on display Friday night while taking batting practice with the Houston Astros prior to their exhibition game with the Chicago Cubs.

Now, granted, Watt was a bit rusty early on during his session with Astros bullpen coach Javier Bracamonte. He was off-balance and actually whiffed on six of his first seven swings. But it wasn't long before he made some adjustments in the cage and the ball started exploding off his bat. In fact, according to MLB.com's Gene Duffey, one ball ended up traveling well into the Crawford Boxes in left field.

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By all accounts, it ended up being an entertaining display, but it won't prepare Watt for his next assignment on that very same baseball field prior to Houston's season opener against the Texas Rangers on Sunday night. Watt is actually scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. However, as he mentioned in the video, the 45-pitch bullpen session he threw on Wednesday should have him covered there.

Yes, he claims he really threw a bullpen session. And yes, we absolutely believe him, because J.J. Watt is an entirely different animal than the rest of us.

And we admire him for it.

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