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Canberra pitcher Brodie Cooper-Vassalakis to get taste of MLB at spring training

At just 15 years of age, Canberra pitcher Brodie Cooper-Vassalakis has the chance to rub shoulders with his Major League Baseball dream when he heads over for spring training with the Australian under-19 side on Tuesday.

Cooper-Vassalakis is part of a squad of 26 that will play games against the European academy, Canada and several rookie-ball teams during the 12-day trip to Florida in the US.

Canberra pitcher Brodie Cooper-Vassalakis will get a taste of MLB spring training.
Canberra pitcher Brodie Cooper-Vassalakis will get a taste of MLB spring training. Photo: Graham Tidy

They'll be based close to the world's best players, who are getting ready for the season ahead, and the young Weston Creek pitcher will have the chance to impress MLB scouts.

It could have been an even more exciting trip for Cooper-Vassalakis, with his brother, Kai, an outfielder, also shortlisted for the trip, but unfortunately Kai missed out.

"I'm very excited, I'm probably one of the youngest ones going and the only one from the ACT, it's really exciting," Cooper-Vassalakis said.

"I'm not sure what's going to happen over there, not sure what to expect … [but it's a chance to] get my name on the radar."

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It's Cooper-Vassalakis's first Australian squad.

The Melrose High student is normally a starting pitcher, but he's expecting to be in the bullpen – although he plans to change that.

"I'm a starter, but I think for this trip I might be relieving, I'm not sure yet," he said.

"I'm might go as a reliever, but I've always got that opportunity to show them that I am a starter and take that job.

"I'll just show them what I can do and if that's not as good as the other guys then that's what it is."

While the MLB is the ultimate goal, Cooper-Vassalakis has also set his sights on playing for the Canberra Cavalry in the Australian Baseball League in the future.

He's been working with Cavs infielder and Canberra Baseball manager of player pathway Jeremy Barnes, pitching coach Hayden Beard, as well starting pitcher Brian Grening, who is in Canberra doing a pre-season before returning to the US.

"[Grening has] really helped me out with my pitches, like my slider and my changeup," Cooper-Vassalakis said.

"It's just good to have those type of guys around because they're not jealous to show me anything and they don't hold anything back.

"I'm up-and-coming and they want to develop me as much as they want to develop themselves.

"Of course, the ultimate goal is to the play in the major leagues, but I'd happily play for the Canberra Cavalry if the opportunity arises."