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02/13/2007 2:20 PM ET
Padres agree to terms with Marine Corporal Cooper Brannan on Minor League contract
Right-hander who served two tours in Iraq will be in San Diego's Minor League Camp
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SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego Padres today agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher Cooper Brannan on a minor league contract. Padres Vice President for Scouting & Player Development Grady Fuson made the announcement at a press conference earlier today at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.

"This is a great opportunity for both parties," said Fuson. "He's a young and athletic Marine with a solid build, a promising arm and a great breaking ball. The Padres love taking chances on athletic players and we're excited to have Cooper in the organization."

Brannan is a Corporal in the United States Marine Corps and his service includes two tours of duty in Iraq. He sustained wounds to his left hand from a flash bang grenade during his second deployment, which resulted in his being sent to San Diego Navy Medical Center for treatment and rehabilitation. Brannan has been in the Marine Corps for nearly four years and will officially sign a professional baseball contract once his discharge paperwork is finalized.

The 22-year-old pitcher was recommended by Padres Amateur Scout Brendan Hause, who covers the San Diego area.

Brannan was born in Houston and raised in Gilbert, Arizona, where he attended Highland High School. He was a pitcher and second baseman as well as a defensive end on the football team and was a three-year letterman in each sport.

Brannan has played for the All-Marine Team and the USA Military All-Star team.

Corporal Nels Cooper Brannan
(Information Courtesy of United States Marine Corps)

• Full name is Nels Cooper Brannan; he goes by Cooper
• Born: 11-07-1984, Houston, Texas
• From: Gilbert, Arizona
• Graduated: May 2003, Highland H.S.(Gilbert, AZ)
• Three-year letterman football and baseball
• Enlisted USMC July 2003
• Graduated boot camp October 2003 '03 (platoon honor-man)
• Completed School of Infantry December 2003
• 1st duty station 29 Palms, CA January 2004 (1st MarDiv, 2nd Bn, 7th Marines, Echo Co.)
• Deployed Hitt, Iraq February 2004, infantry team leader
• Returned to 29 Palms October 2004
• Redeployed to Fallujah, Iraq September 2005 infantry squad leader
• Injured November 2005 by flash bang grenade; sustained multiple injuries to left hand resulting in amputation of left little finger and medial hand.
• Medically evacuated to Naval Medical Center San Diego (Balboa Hospital) for follow-up surgeries (3) and rehabilitative therapy/occupational therapy.
• Married Jan. 20, 2006 (Lindsay Marie WAGENER)
• Participated with All Marine Corps Baseball Team and USA Military All Star Baseball Team while assigned to H&S Bn, MCRD San Diego.
• Awards: Combat Action ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary medal, Global War on Terrorism service medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct medal, Iraq Campaign medal, Sea Service deployment ribbon (2), National Defense Service medal, Certificate of Commendation (individual award).

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