This is an interesting San Diego Union-Tribune article about Brandon Cooper, a Marine who received a Purple Heart in Iraq and will try out for the Padres this spring:
The Padres' ongoing search for baseball talent recently found an unusual source: the United States Marine Corps. The Padres are enlisting Brandon Cooper, a Purple Heart recipient and Marine corporal whose service includes two tours of duty in Iraq.
A former high school pitcher, Cooper worked out for Padres scout Brendan Hause recently and will participate in spring training with fellow minor leaguers. The 22-year-old right-hander is to report to Peoria on March 2.
“He is a little raw, but he is very athletic and has a great body and a loose arm,” said Grady Fuson, the Padres' vice president of scouting and player development.
Cooper sustained wounds to his left hand during his second deployment, which resulted in his being sent to San Diego Navy Medical Center. “The (Marines) are going to let him out of his deal a year early to pursue this,” Fuson said. “We'll give it a shot for a year. There's nothing but good that can happen here.”
Fuson said a few Marines recommended Cooper to Padres CEO Sandy Alderson, who served four years as a Marine infantry officer with a tour of duty in Vietnam.
Posted by Ted Rossman at 2/13/2007 6:43:00 AM