Former Cincinnati Reds catcher to join Army Reserve in offseason

Brayan Pena was born in Cuba but became U.S. Citizen

Pena is in his first season with the St. Louis Cardinals after two seasons with the Reds. He suffered a knee injury in April and returned to the Cardinals last week.

Pena, 34, defected from Cuba when he was 16 and became a United States citizen in 2008. On Independence Day, he wrote on Twitter, “I find myself happy with the simple things: FAMILY, FREEDOM, DEMOCRACY. With blessings from God & all that is possible, thanks to USA. … We lost a tough game today but in my (heart) there (are) no losers today. There is only one real winner: USA for (being) the GREATEST COUNTRY ON EARTH.”

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