Military vet amputee tries out for Detroit Tigers

Navy corpsman Petty Officer Daniel "Doc" Jacobs adjusts his handcycle before a training session. Since recovering from his combat injuries, Jacobs has competed in seven marathons using the handcycle. He placed fifth in his event in the Boston Marathon and ninth in the Los Angeles Marathon. He goes to Berlin, Germany, this month to compete. DoD photo by Fred W. Baker III

Former Navy corpsman Daniel Jacobs had a blast trying out for the Detroit Tigers this past week. Although he did not make the team, the 29-year-old veteran amputee is hopeful he may receive a callback.

U-T San Diego reported that Jacobs was one of over 100 minor league hopefuls at the Tiger’s spring training complex on Monday. The left-handed hitter impressed onlookers by fielding grounders, delivering strong first-to-third throws and hitting a line drive into right field before the event ended.

“I flew out, had a great experience and already inspired an 84-year-old amputee,” Jacobs said. “That alone is worth getting out here and playing some baseball.”

Jacobs’ life was forever changed when he was wounded in Iraq in 2006. A roadside bomb exploded, affecting the Marine’s short-term memory retention and causing severe damage to other areas of his body. His left leg had to be amputated below the knee, he lost three fingers on his left hand and two toes on his right foot, his jaw was fractured and he still has shrapnel lodged in his sinus cavity.

Now Jacobs has to write everything down on a to-do list to keep track of the many things he wants to accomplish or has committed to do.

“Once that first pitch is thrown, I don’t think anyone on the field looks at me any different,” Jacobs, who is fitted with a carbon fiber prosthetic, told reporters. “You’re just a second baseman or a first baseman and you’ve got a job to do. You’ve got to make a play or get in the box, get on base and bring that run in. Whatever it takes. Once the game starts, you’re one of them.”

Jacobs has never given up on his ambitions. According to U-T San Diego, whether or not the veteran amputee’s third MLB tryout leads to bigger things, Jacobs continues to accomplish his mission every time he plays on a baseball field.

Meanwhile, Jacobs said he will turn his attention toward a second tryout with the Chicago White Sox later this summer in Birmingham, Alabama. He attended a tryout there last year after Tommy Lasorda invited him to his first tryout with the Dodgers in 2013.

“It went pretty well,” Jacobs said of Monday’s tryout. “I have a good feeling about it.”

 

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