Padres to sign injured Marine as minor league pitcher

SAN DIEGO -- A Marine who lost a finger on his left hand
while serving in Iraq has agreed to terms with the San Diego Padres, the team said Monday.

Right-hander Cooper Brannan will report to minor league spring
training March 1. The 22-year-old injured his left hand during a
second tour of duty in Iraq. Team spokesman George Stieren said
Brannan lost his left pinky.

The team planned to announce the signing at a news conference
Tuesday at Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego.

Brannan was born in Houston and attended high school in Gilbert,

Stieren said Padres general manager Kevin Towers "was adamant
that we were doing this because of his potential, not because it
was a great story.

"This was a legitimate baseball decision."