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Crazy Baseball Signings

Hal Johnson

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TOKYO (AP) -- A 16-year-old schoolgirl is making a unique pitch to become the first woman to play professional baseball in Japan.

High school student Eri Yoshida was drafted by the Kobe 9 Cruise, a professional team in a new independent Japanese league that will start its first season in April.

"I always dreamed of becoming a professional," Yoshida, who is 5-feet (152-centimeters) tall and weighs 114 pounds (52 kilograms), told a news conference Monday. "I have only just been picked by the team and haven't achieved anything yet."

Yoshida throws a side-arm knuckleball and says she wants to follow in the footsteps of Boston Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield, who has built a successful major league career throwing a knuckleball.

Yoshida took part in a tryout held earlier this month and passed with flying colors. The right-hander held male batters hitless for one inning in the tryout and her successful outing helped her become one of the 33 players picked in the draft.

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

::dips out of work early, purchases box of baseballs, draws square on basement wall, files finger nails::

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  • 2 weeks later...

you know, thats a good point - from a marketing standpoint, and ultimately $$'s, they could have just bought a billion fans... the type of cash injection a small-mid market team would need to compete without a salary cap in place.

but this was my first thought: the pirates have been worse than even the reds since, like, the early 70's, and every other team passed on 'em at the tryout. i mean, you're not tellin' me the pirates had the most money.... so, i dunno, we'll see. they're as raw as raw gets having never pitched before the competition. it'll be one hell of a story if they make it.

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