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11.30.2008

pittsburgh signs indian pitchers

Last week, the Pittsburgh Pirates signed free-agent contracts with pitchers Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel, who are believed to be the first athletes from India to sign professional baseball contracts outside their country: Pirates sign Indian - not Cleveland - pitchers.

We first heard about these guys a few weeks back when they tried out for major league scouts as part of their reward for winning an Indian reality TV show called The Million Dollar Arm. While neither pitcher threw hard enough to earn the $1 million prize, they did earn a trip to the United States.

Odds are, among a nation of 1 billion, there had to be some guys with major league-worthy throwing arms. After working extensively with a pitching coach, the pitchers staged a tryout in Arizona last month that was attended by 30 major league scouts.

Looks like the Pirates saw something they liked in these guys. Crazy, considering neither of these guys had ever played baseball or even been outside their home villages before all of this started. Raw, but some serious untapped talent in those arms. We'll see how far these guys make it.