A spokesperson for President Bush's office tells PEOPLE that while he "isn't one to make excuses," it's true that he had lower back surgery earlier this year
On Thursday's episode of Today with Hoda & Jenna, Bush Hager, 41, celebrated the Texas Rangers' first-ever World Series victory, explaining the excitement her family felt watching their favorite team prevail over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
During the conversation, co-host Hoda Kotb mentioned that the former president — who co-owned the Rangers for a handful of years before running for public office — had the honor of throwing the first pitch in Arlington, Texas, on Friday, and asked Bush Hager if the ball went past home plate.
"It did not, it curved," Bush Hager responded, before adding: "And he just had back surgery, so unfortunately he probably injured himself."
A spokesperson for President Bush confirms to PEOPLE that he did undergo back surgery this year, as his daughter said on air — but whether his recovery played a role in the quality of the pitch is up for debate.
"President Bush isn't one to make excuses, but that's true — he did have fusion surgery on his lower back early this year," the spokesperson says. "He continues to recover well and in fact is looking forward to riding mountain bikes with wounded warriors at his ranch on Veterans Day weekend."
Friday was not the first time that President Bush, now 77, has been asked to throw the ceremonial first pitch at a World Series game — though it was the first time that a ball he threw hit the dirt before reaching home plate.
One month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks — while he was president — Bush famously threw the ceremonial first pitch for a perfect strike at game three of the World Series, hosted at the Yankees Stadium in New York City.
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