Going Deep: Cooper Brannan
Cooper Brannan's career as an infantry rifleman in the Marines ended two years ago, when on his second tour of duty in Iraq, a grenade blew several fingers off his left hand. Yet that horrific moment ultimately led to a second career beginning right now: Padres minor league pitcher. Brannan, 22, still has only four fingers on his left hand but will carry 40 times the normal life experience inside his new uniform. I spoke with the righthander about getting signed by the Padres, his experience in Iraq, and playing Wiffle ball in the desert with buddies who never came home.