Record-Eagle/Keith King The Traverse City Beach Bums' Shaun Cooper (30) swings during a Blue/Gold intrasquad scrimmage at Wuerfel Park.

TRAVERSE CITY — Shaun Cooper may not be a very familiar name to Beach Bums fans, but he's been around more than most current Beach Bums players.

Maybe not around Traverse City. But on the roster, nonetheless.

Cooper tore his left ACL in spring training last season. The team thought enough of him to keep him on the disabled list all year in order to keep him for this season, something that hasn't been done any other time in franchise history.

Today will marks the one-year anniversary to the day of Cooper's ACL reconstruction surgery.

"It feels great," Cooper said of his knee. "May 15 was my surgery last year. Then I was cleared to go in November, at about the six-month mark. I slowly started hitting and throwing. That long break, my body needed it. But I was definitely anxious during all that recovery time during rehab."

Cooper said he heard a "pop" when he tried to avoid a tag and caught his cleat in the turf.

"I had a pretty good spring going," Cooper said. "I was here about a week or a week and a half before it happened. I hit a home run and made some nice catches in center field."

Prior to coming to the Beach Bums, Cooper put up video game-like numbers in the 2011 Northwoods League. He hit .335 in 63 games, racking up 20 homers, 61 RBIs, 55 runs, 14 doubles, four triples, 22 walks, 15 steals and a .458 on-base percentage.

His resume also includes hitting .300 for Arizona in the Pac-10 as a freshman with 18 RBIs in 27 games. After transferring to Utah, he hit .332 with eight homers in 43 RBIs in 50 games in 2011. His average declined as a senior, but the power was still there, belting eight more homers.

The Arizona Diamondbacks signed him, and let him go after 67 games of hitting .213 with six homers and 29 RBIs.

"I was shocked the Diamondbacks released him so quickly," Beach Bums director of player personnel Jason Wuerfel said. "He has power, he draws walks, and he plays the game hard. He might have been the best player in camp last year when he tore his ACL in a freak play avoiding a tag. The question was whether he could pick up where he left off after the injury and it looks like the answer is yes. He's one of the reasons I'm really excited to see what this squad can do."

Cooper completed his rehab back at home in Arizona, but followed the team online.

"Having surgery, it's never going to quite feel the same," Cooper said. "But it's definitely ready to go.

"They're going for a lot more speedsters in the outfield this year. Which is good. I'm a speedster and did a lot of speed work in my recovery."

Cooper joins an outfield that looks like it could be loaded. Two of last year's starters — Scott Woodward and Sean Gusrang — are back. Newcomers Jeff DeBlieux and George Barber have drawn raves from coaches.

"He adds a lot of speed," TC manager Dan Rohn said of Cooper. "We've got Coop, (Rob) Benedict, Woody, DeBlieux, (Taylor) Wrenn, (Jose) Vargas, (Drew) Rossi — they all can run. It adds a big component to this ballclub with the speed we haven't had in the past. It's going to be fun to set the game in motion like that."

Trending Video

Recommended for you