SAN LUIS OBISPO — Former San Luis Obispo and Arizona State baseball player Cooper Benson's dreams came true in July when he was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 17th round of the MLB Draft. After undergoing Tommy John surgery in March, the lefty is motivated to come back stronger than ever this upcoming season.
"It's about a year recovery, then you start playing catch at month five or six... Getting my arm back to what it was, hopefully even better because its kind of like a new elbow in there, its been a long road so far but I'm excited," Benson said.
Benson has trained with Mike Murphy since he was young, and Murphy sees this setback as an opportunity to get stronger as a player.
"I think the injury has been a benefit, a lot of people don't see it at first, but you get mentally tough, he's rethought his mechanics, body, I think its a blessing... All pitchers go through it, I think he will get better from it," Murphy added.
The central coast has begun to produce better ball players over the past few years, Cooper Benson is a big reason for that.
"It really starts with Cooper, he was the first guy in the area to blow up, Brooks Lee, Dylan, they've set the tone for everyone, they know its possible... They showed kids its possible, they're setting it, they are the trailblazers, cooper is kind of our first pro guy", Murphy said.
"It's cool to be a role model for them," Benson added. Benson hopes to be back in full swing by March or April in time for baseball season.
"My freshman year at ASU was canceled because of COVID-19. This year I made two starts then had surgery in March. I haven't played a full season since my senior year of high school... I'm grateful to get drafted even with the injury, it has been a blessing, and really excited to get back into playing."