US Representative Steve Scalise back on baseball field a year after shooting

June 14 (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.

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U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise speaks to reporters about the appointment of a Special Counsel in the Russia investigations on his way to a vote on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., May 17, 2017. REUTERS/Zach Gibson
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) speaks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol, hours before an expected vote to repeal Obamacare in Washington, D.C., U.S., May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) leaves the office of Speaker Paul Ryan ahead of a crucial vote on the Affordable Care Act at the Capitol Building in Washington, DC, U.S. March 23, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Jared Kushner, senior White House adviser, right, and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana, smile during a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump, not pictured, and House and Senate leadership in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, June 6, 2017. Trump is bringing lawmakers to the White House in hopes of kick-starting his legislative agenda while Washington focuses on the latest twists and turns in the Russia investigation. Photographer: Olivier Douliery/Pool via Bloomberg
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) speaks about the American Health Care Act, the Republican replacement to Obamacare, at the Republican National Committee in Washington, U.S., March 8, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 17: House Majority Whip. Steve Scalise (R-LA) speaks to the media on May 17, 2017 in Washington, DC. Today the Justice Department announced that former FBI director Robert Mueller will be a special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, Majority Whip and (R-La. 1st District),, speaks at President Trump's press conference with members of the GOP, on the passage of legislation to roll back the Affordable Care Act, in the Rose Garden of the White House, On Thursday, May 4, 2017. (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 4: House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., leads a group of Republican members of Congress to the House floor for the votes on repeal and replace of Obamacare on Thursday, May 4, 2017. The members met with White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus in Scalise's office before the vote. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) as they arrive for a conference meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) (L-R), U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA) speak to reporters during a joint news conference following a House Republican party conference meeting in Washington, U.S. September 13, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
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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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