Signing as a minor league free agent isn't usually a milestone worth celebrating for a player.
However, right-handed pitcher Sean O'Sullivan was happier than most minor league free agents after accepting a contract from the San Diego Padres that included an invitation to spring training.
O'Sullivan is a native of San Diego. He was a fan of the Padres long before he was an all-section player at Valhalla High and a third-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Angels out of Grossmont College in 2005.
"I've wanted to be a Padre since I was 4 or 5," said O'Sullivan, who is now 25. "But this was the first time I hadn't been controlled by a team, and (it) gave me a chance to sign with the Padres. When I became a free agent after the end of last season, I told my agent the Padres were my first choice. It didn't take long for a deal to be worked out.
"I told the Padres I'm not looking for a handout. I wanted the Padres to sign me so I could fight for a shot in my hometown. The Padres are an ideal situation for me. I've got a shot."
O'Sullivan spent all of last season in the Pacific Coast League with the Class AAA affiliates of the Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays. He was a combined 14-7 with a 4.23 ERA in 31 games (19 starts). He went 9-3 with a 2.73 ERA in the second half of the season with Toronto's Las Vegas affiliate.
O'Sullivan has a 10-14 record with a 6.13 ERA in 43 major league games (34 starts) over parts of four seasons. He made his major league debut with the Angels in 2009.
He said he heard from six other major league teams in addition to the Padres.