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Milwaukee Brewers prospect David Denson walks away from baseball

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The first openly gay active player in affiliated baseball says he’s retiring from baseball, but it’s not related to his coming out.

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Milwaukee Brewers prospect David Denson announced earlier this week he's retiring at the age of 22, choosing instead to pursue a career as a personal trainer.

Denson made the unexpected announcement on his Facebook page on Monday afternoon (h/t Miller Park Prospects):

Hello Facebook Family, Friends & Fans! I wanted to share something with you that I know some of you may not have seen coming or understand. I want to thank all of you for the amazing love and support over the years. But my baseball journey has come to an end. Even though my baseball journey has ended, a new door is opening and I will continue to push forward!I am now pursuing a career as a personal/athletic trainer. I will be taking all that I have learned and I would love to give back and teach others! I will be training out of a facility called Fit For Life, located in Ontario, CA. If you may know anyone who would like to push there skills to the next level, get stronger and faster, or want to get into the best shape they have ever been in, please contact me or refer them to me as well. I hope you all can Please continue to support me and I would love all of you to come along for my new journey in life! Now let's make 2017 your year, and let's get this work! I also offer online training as well for anyone who is interested who doesn't live in the LA area! If you have any questions, please send me a message or contact me via email:@ densonfitcamps@gmail.com

Denson was drafted in the 15th round out of high school in 2013, with plenty of scouting types enamored with his power potential. Unfortunately, he struggled to translate that power into games -- 2016 was his fourth year in the system and the first year he hit double digit home runs, hitting 10 for Low-A Wisconsin.

The big first baseman/left fielder gained national attention in late 2015, after he became the first active player affiliated with a major league organization to come out as gay.

According to Tom Haudricourt, Denson says his decision to leave the game a little more than a year later isn't related to that announcement:

"Leaving the game has nothing to do with my coming out," Denson said. "That wasn’t a factor at all. This was a decision I made purely from a baseball standpoint."

League executive Billy Bean (not the one running the Oakland A’s), who came out after his playing days were done and has become a bit of a mentor for Denson, backed up that sentiment to Adam McCalvy:

"A lot of people just don't know how hard it is to make it to the big leagues out of high school," Bean said. "David was focused and he was fit and he gave it all he had, but there is that moment where you know in your heart that you're done with that challenge. I think David has so many great things in front of him. He made an example to the sports world that was brave. He went about this in a respectful way and was an example to baseball."

Denson isn’t the first person to decide at 22 that they wanted to do something different than what they wanted to do at 18, and he won’t be the last. The vast majority of guys who play minor league baseball make a similar realization 4 or 5 years into their career when they’re still in A-ball. For that, he deserves credit for realizing his heart wasn't into playing anymore and not wanting to take a spot from another player who did want it.

Also, if we're being totally frank, as a 15th round pick who didn't get a life-changing signing bonus, switching careers is probably a smart financial move, too. He's likely to earn much more as a trainer in southern California than he is as a minor league baseball player riding buses in North Carolina.

Best wishes to David as he moves on to the next chapter in his life.