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JAPANESE KNUCKLER

JAPANESE KNUCKLER

Japanese female pitcher joins men’s team in U.S.

Posted on 15 April 2010   courtesy of www.nwasianweekly.com

TOKYO (AP) — A female knuckleball pitcher from Japan will be playing for a minor league team in the United States.

Eri Yoshida, an 18-year-old pitcher who played pro baseball in Japan last year, signed with the Chico Outlaws of the Golden Baseball League. The team said she will report to spring training next month.

The 10-team Golden Baseball League is an independent minor league with teams in California, Arizona, and Canada.

“I am grateful for this opportunity to pitch for the Chico Outlaws,” Yoshida said. “This is a dream come true for me, and I hope I can contribute to the team and help them win and also to continue to improve as a pro baseball player.”

Yoshida will be the first female to pitch for a pro team in the United States since Ila Borders retired more than 10 years ago, the team said.

“We are really looking forward to having Eri as a member of the Chico Outlaws this season,” team president Mike Marshall said.

Yoshida learned how to throw a knuckleball by watching a video of Tim Wakefield. Last month, she got a few tips from the Boston Red Sox pitcher at the team’s spring training facility in Fort Myers, Fla.

Yoshida, who throws her knuckleball with a sidearm motion, pitched in the independent Arizona Winter League.

She got her first win on Feb. 12, tossing four shutout innings for the Yuma Scorpions.

The 5-foot, 114-pound Yoshida became Japan’s first female pro baseball player last year when she pitched for the Kobe Cruise 9 in the Kansai Independent League. She was 0-2 in 11 appearances with a 4.03 ERA, giving up seven runs.

The Outlaws open on the road May 21 in Tijuana and return for their home opener on May 26. The team is making accommodations to provide separate locker room facilities and hotel rooms while traveling. ?

Female knuckleballer joins men’s minor league team

   FILE-This March 27,2009 file photo shows Kobe 9 Cruise's Eri Yoshida,  center, delivering a pitch in the ninth inning during a game against the  Osaka Gold Villicanes at Osaka Dome in Osaka, Japan. Japanese female  knuckleball pitcher Eri Yoshida has signed a contract with the Chico  Outlaws of the Golden Baseball League. The 18-year-old Yoshida will play  for Chico this summer, reporting to spring training in early May, the  team said on its Web site, Friday April 9, 2010.

FILE-This March 27,2009 file photo shows Kobe 9 Cruise’s Eri Yoshida, center, delivering a pitch in the ninth inning during a game against the Osaka Gold Villicanes at Osaka Dome in Osaka, Japan. Japanese female knuckleball pitcher Eri Yoshida has signed a contract with the Chico Outlaws of the Golden Baseball League. The 18-year-old Yoshida will play for Chico this summer, reporting to spring training in early May, the team said on its Web site, Friday April 9, 2010.

Kyodo News, Yohei Fukuyama,File / AP Photo
Courtesy of miamiherald.com
The Associated Press

TOKYO — A female knuckleball pitcher from Japan will be playing for a minor league team in the United States.

Eri Yoshida, an 18-year-old pitcher who played pro ball in Japan last year, signed with the Chico Outlaws of the Golden Baseball League. The team said she will report to spring training next month.

The 10-team Golden Baseball League is an independent minor league with teams in California, Arizona and Canada.

“I am grateful for this opportunity to pitch for the Chico Outlaws,” Yoshida said. “This is a dream come true for me, and I hope I can contribute to the team and help them win and also to continue to improve as a pro baseball player.”

Yoshida will be the first female to pitch for a pro team in the United States since Ila Borders retired more than 10 years ago, the team said.

“We are really looking forward to having Eri as a member of the Chico Outlaws this season,” team president Mike Marshall said.

Yoshida learned how to throw a knuckleball by watching video of Tim Wakefield. Last month, she got a few tips from the Boston Red Sox pitcher at the team’s spring training facility in Fort Myers, Fla.

Yoshida, who throws her knuckleball with a sidearm motion, pitched in the independent Arizona Winter League. She got her first win on Feb. 12, tossing four shutout innings for the Yuma Scorpions.

The 5-foot, 114-pound Yoshida became Japan’s first female pro baseball player last year when she pitched for the Kobe Cruise 9 in the Kansai Independent League. She was 0-2 in 11 appearances with a 4.03 ERA, giving up seven runs in 10 2-3 innings.

The Outlaws open on the road May 21 in Tijuana and return for their home opener on May 26. The team is making accommodations to provide separate locker room facilities and hotel rooms while traveling.

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Denise J. Saul is the Founder/President of WSEN-Women's Sports & Entertainment Network.

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