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Scary at first, but Keuchel glad to do Body Issue

MLB.com @brianmctaggart

HOUSTON -- Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel admitted he was a little hesitant when first ­­approached with the idea of doing a nude photoshoot for ESPN the Magazine's 2018 Body Issue, which was released on Monday. Keuchel eventually decided to step out of his comfort zone -- and his clothes.

Keuchel, the 2015 American League Cy Young Award winner and three-time AL Gold Glove Award winn­­er, was wearing nothing but a baseball glove when he posed recently for a series of photos in Austin, Texas. Among the images in the issue are Keuchel pitching on a dirt field, standing in a small tunnel and posing in front of a large pile of metal debris at night. The photos were shot by celebrity photographer Kurt Iswarienko.

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HOUSTON -- Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel admitted he was a little hesitant when first ­­approached with the idea of doing a nude photoshoot for ESPN the Magazine's 2018 Body Issue, which was released on Monday. Keuchel eventually decided to step out of his comfort zone -- and his clothes.

Keuchel, the 2015 American League Cy Young Award winner and three-time AL Gold Glove Award winn­­er, was wearing nothing but a baseball glove when he posed recently for a series of photos in Austin, Texas. Among the images in the issue are Keuchel pitching on a dirt field, standing in a small tunnel and posing in front of a large pile of metal debris at night. The photos were shot by celebrity photographer Kurt Iswarienko.

View Full Game Coverage

"It was a little nerve-wracking," Keuchel said on Monday. "Just overall when I thought about it, I thought about pushing myself and getting out of the comfort level of what I usually do, who I am as a person, and I thought [no] better way to represent myself in an imperfect situation than the Body Issue. Nobody's perfect in this world, and I think that was a good message as well. At the end of the day, it was fun. I got to meet some really cool people and it's something I'll never forget."

Keuchel, 30, said he hadn't yet had much reaction from his teammates concerning his photo shoot, though it was a hot topic among his family members for a while. He said some of the more outgoing members of the team have given him some grief, which he totally understands.

"Kurt, the photographer was great, and I got to meet him beforehand and a few of the people," he said. "I played catch on set. That was interesting. I never played catch without clothes on. Just the whole day was a really cool experience. I tried to get the whole pitching staff in the shoot, but none of our off-days lined up together."

After conquering his nerves -- and the Texas heat -- Keuchel said he settled in and enjoyed the shoot, which lasted about nine or 10 hours.

"When I'm on the mound, I don't really see anybody, I don't hear anything, but when you're standing by yourself with no clothes on and getting photographed, it's a little bit different because you hear everything," he said. "You hear the cricket noises, the hear the lenses going. Everything."

Keuchel said he had only seen a preview of a couple of the photos before they were released in full on Monday.

"I was really pleased with the product," he said. "That's something I'll always remember and I'll hopefully have a magazine on a mantle at some point and look back in 30, 40 years and say I was decent shape at one point."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, Dallas Keuchel