May 30, 2010

Yoshida Makes US Debut

Eri Yoshida started and pitched three innings last night for the Chico Outlaws of the Golden Baseball League, becoming the first woman to play professional baseball in the United States in 10 years.

Ivan Ochoa, an infielder with the Giants in 2008, led off the game by bunting for a single -- earning a round of boos from the crowd. Yoshida, 18, was unfazed, needing only five pitches to get a pop-up and a double play grounder. (You can watch the first inning here; the entire game might be available.)

Yoshida got two quick outs in the second, before hitting a batter and allowing a home run (on a fastball). With two outs in the third, she gave up three hits and two runs. She rated her performance -- 3-5-4-1-0, 47 -- as a 2 on a scale from 1-10.

In her only at-bat, she knocked a 1-1 pitch into right field for an RBI single.

Former Dodgers outfielder Mike Marshall managed Yoshida in the Arizona Winter League and is the current president and general manager of the Outlaws.
There's going to be a draft here in a couple weeks and there's probably only a handful of 18-year-old high school kids who are going to get drafted who could come here and play. Men. Look at the rosters. You have Double-A, Triple-A, big-league guys. This isn't affiliated rookie ball; this isn't affiliated A-ball. This is way up there. These are 25- to 35-year-old men she's playing against.
It will be interesting to see how Yoshida progresses against former major leaguers and other professionals, or players in the low minors if a team takes a chance on her. At this point, every game will be a significant challenge. If she's pitching in 2015, she'll still be only 23.


laura k said...

VERY exciting.

Patrick said...

The knuckleball is truly a magical thing.

Unknown said...

yeah this is really good. Could be a gimmick, but it is a good one, and entertaining one.

buffwarrior said...

watched the video of this.. the field itself is so bush league with terrible shadows from the very tall trees at the park and then a train goes by 5 feet from the outfield wall and the whistles blowing. She appears so tiny and usually even men don't make it far without the prototypical large stature. Her control wasn't very good with a curve ball way off the plate. She doesn't just throw screwballs, but had a fastball that wasn't very fast. I can see her being there to help the ticket sales, but hey. The pros had Jose Canseco so whatever works.

laura k said...

Could be a gimmick, but it is a good one, and entertaining one.

In what way do you think this is a gimmick?