- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 5, 2016

ST. LOUIS (AP) - St. Louis Cardinals backup catcher Brayan Pena is going to undergo training in the U.S. Army Reserve in the offseason.

The 34-year-old Pena defected to the United States from Cuba as a teenager and made the majors in 2005. He made the announcement on Twitter , saying he was “very proud” to get involved.

Among other things, Pena said he’d be doing baseball clinics and talking to the troops. He made the decision after getting the go-ahead from the Army earlier Tuesday.

“It’s just something I’ve been feeling for a long time,” Pena said. “It’s time for me to give something back to this great country. I talked with my family and they support me 100 percent.”

He won’t enlist because it could interfere with his major league career but said when he’s done playing, “I can make it official.”

Pena has missed much of the season with a knee injury and was in the lineup for his second start of the year Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pena played for the Cincinnati Reds in 2014 and 2015 and said he’d had several discussions on the topic with outfielder Jay Bruce.

“If they call me and they say ‘Hey, Pena, can you go?’ I would go,” Pena said. “You have to follow your heart.”

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