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The Padres have signed a wheelchair-bound ex-pitcher for 20 straight years


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lachappa08_c__302811.jpg?w=1000&h=779

Matt LaChappa during his playing days.

The San Diego Padres made a series of stunning offseason acquisitions, including trades for Matt Kemp, Craig Kimbrel, Wil Myers and Justin Upton and the free-agent signing of starter James Shields. But one under-the-radar minor-league contract might be the team’s best move of all.

 

At the O.C. RegisterSteve Bisheff shares the sad story of Matt LaChappa, a former Padres prospect from the Barona Indian Reservation, just east of San Diego. LaChappa suffered a heart attack while warming up in the bullpen for a start in Class A Rancho Cucumonga in 1996 and is now confined to a wheelchair, but the Padres have renewed his basic minor league contract every season, in part so he can have access to health insurance.

 

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