female pitcher eri yoshida signs with u.s minor league team

Wow! This is a first. 18-year-old Eri Yoshida, the female knuckleball pitcher who played pro ball in Japan last year, has signed with a minor league contract with the Chico Outlaws of the Gold Baseball league: Female knuckleballer joins men's minor league team.

The 10-team Golden Baseball League is an independent minor league with teams in California, Arizona and Canada. When Yoshida reports to spring training with the Outlaws next month, she'll be the first female to pitch for a pro team in the United States since Ila Borders retired more than ten years ago:
Yoshida learned how to throw a knuckleball by watching video of Tim Wakefield(notes). 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.
This ought to be a sight to see. Can Eri Yoshida hang with the big boys? The Outlaws open on the road May 21 in Tijuana and return for their home opener on May 26. More here: Female knuckler Yoshida to play in Minors.

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