Hometown: Fountain, Colo.
Born: May 9, 1984
Height/Weight: 6-2/220 lbs.
Wife – Casey
Son – Colt
University of the Pacific and
University of Tennessee
MLB Debut: June 15, 2007
• 2012 National League
• 2012 Gold Glove Award
• Led the National League with
115 RBIs in 2012
“For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” – 2 Timothy 1:7
Like every little leaguer, I had dreams of playing in the big leagues one day. And, just like every other kid, I also dreamed of going pro in every sport and competition imaginable. Whether it was baseball, football, basketball, soccer, skiing, hunting or fishing, my older brother and I were doing it and competing to be the best while growing up in Fountain, Colo.
Aside from family church attendance on Christmas and Easter, Christianity wasn’t really part of my childhood. During my freshman year of high school, one of my best friends invited me to an FCA meeting. God had a plan for me to be there that night. He worked on my heart during the message about salvation, and it was right there, at FCA, that I prayed to accept Christ into my life and begin a relationship with Him.
That decision forever changed the rest of my life. I continued to attend FCA meetings, and the relationships I formed with people—both friends and teachers who were believers—poured into my faith and were big contributors to my spiritual growth.
At the same time, I was excelling on the baseball field so much that I had the chance to play in college. I moved west to California for my first season of college ball at Pacific before transferring to Tennessee my sophomore year.
I endured a couple of injuries during my college career, which proved to be spiritual gut-checks for me because I’d never had baseball taken away from me. I really struggled with it, realizing that my identity was completely wrapped up in athletics. God used my injuries to shape me and teach me that there are a lot of things in life that are more important than what happens on the baseball field—first and foremost, developing my relationship with Him.
My injuries healed, and I was blessed to be selected in the second round of the 2005 MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres. I was so close to realizing my childhood dream of playing in the big leagues, but I first had to endure the grind of the minor leagues. Those years were tough—not making very much money and long bus trips at all hours of the night. I relied heavily on my faith and commitment to the Lord to help me make good decisions and be a light for Him to my teammates during my time in the minors.
All the hard work was worth it, though, when I made my Major League debut on June 15, 2007. My first stint with the Padres lasted only several days, but it made me even more driven to get back. After starting in the minors in 2008, I was called up several months into the season and have been playing in the big leagues ever since.
In 2012, I had the best season of my career and was extremely humbled and blessed to be able to win both a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award. I felt God’s favor upon me during the entire season, keeping me healthy and productive for the team.
Looking back on my life and career, I know that God is the only the reason I am where I am today. He has chosen to put me here to share His love with others. I understand I have a huge platform as a professional athlete, so I try to use it to share my faith through my actions, how I handle adversity on the field, and in the words I speak to the media and fans.
I have also come to understand how important it is to be surrounded by men who can be trusted to hold one another accountable and be there for one another through the difficult times that will inevitably occur. We enjoy being able to gather together and challenge one another in God’s Word at Sunday chapels and Bible studies both at home and on the road.
I’m extremely blessed to be able to play this game. I enjoy every moment I’m on the field because I know it won’t last forever. When the day comes that I have to step away from the game, I hope people say I made an impact for the Lord by playing the game with passion and that I was bold in my witness for Him.
Originally Published: May 2013
Photos courtesy of San Diego Padres