Scalise back on baseball field a year after shooting

By Gina Cherelus

(Reuters) - U.S. Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana will play second base in a charity baseball game at Washington Nationals Park on Thursday, a year after being wounded by a gunman who opened fire on Republican lawmakers during baseball practice.

"It's been a long road to this day. I'm grateful for the support and prayers from my colleagues and friends," Scalise, No. 3 Republican in the House of Representatives, wrote on Twitter. "They were with me the entire way. Let's play some baseball!"

Members of Congress will take to the field in Washington for Thursday night's charity game, which is due to begin at around 7 p.m. ET (2300 GMT).

Scalise, 52, was critically injured early on the morning of June 14, 2017 when 66-year-old James Hodgkinson shot at Republican lawmakers as they practiced in Alexandria, Virginia for an annual charity baseball game between Republicans and Democrats.

Scalise was hit in his left hip, sustaining injuries to internal organs, broken bones and severe bleeding.

Hodgkinson, from the St. Louis suburb of Belleville, Illinois, had posted angry messages on social media criticizing U.S. President Donald Trump and other Republicans politicians before he launched the attack. He died after being wounded in a gunfight with Capitol Hill police.

Scalise underwent multiple operations and physical therapy following the shooting. On Thursday, he told CNN in an interview during an early morning baseball practice that he had been unable to fully recall the incident until just a few weeks ago.

"I've starting to be able to walk without crutches, but I don't quite have the balance to be able to move at a good pace," Scalise told CNN.

(Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Daniel Wallis and David Gregorio)

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