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Eri Yoshida

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Eri Yoshida
(Princess Knuckle, Knuckleball Girl)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 1", Weight 114 lb.

BR Minors page


[edit] Biographical information

Eri Yoshida, Japan's first female professional ballplayer, made her debut with the Kobe 9 Cruise of the Kansai Independent League on March 27, 2009 at the Osaka Dome.

She signed with the Kobe club in December 2008 amid speculation that she was nothing more than a publicity stunt designed to attract interest to the new independent league.

During her debut, she walked the first batter she faced on four pitches and allowed a stolen base before striking out the next batter in the 9th inning. She was then replaced after facing only two batters. She did not pitch again until May 28th, when she fanned her only opponent. She finished the year with 4 walks, 4 hit batsmen, 3 strikeouts and one run allowed in 3 2/3 IP, going 0-1 in 7 games.

It was announced in October 2009 that she would not be returning to the club in 2010, and would go to university instead. She said she intended to still be involved with baseball in some fashion, perhaps as an instructor in the future. Some speculated that the financial difficulty of the independent league had influenced her decision; according to one report: "Yoshida and her teammates went long stretches without pay and the league barely made it through its first season when many sponsors pulled out." [1]

Yoshida started playing baseball in the second grade. She was the first woman to play against men in Japan and hoped to emulate Tim Wakefield with her side-arm knuckleball, which she taught herself by throwing in her parents' backyard. She pitched for the Yuma Scorpions of the Arizona Winter League in 2009-10, then visited the Boston Red Sox's training camp on March 2nd, where she met her idol Wakefield. On April 9, 2010, it was announced she had signed a contract to play with the Chico Outlaws of the Golden Baseball League.

In her US debut on May 29, 2010, she threw a scoreless 1st inning before allowing four runs in the next two innings. She also singled home a run as her club went on to beat the Tijuana Cimarrones, 8-6. [2] She went 0-4, 12.27 in 8 starts for Chico, and 1 for 8 with a walk as a hitter. In 2011, she played one game for Chico, now in the North American League, giving up 3 runs in 2 innings, and also pitched for the Maui Na Koa Ikaika in the same circuit, where she earned he first win in the U.S.-based minor leagues in her only start. In 2012, she made 10 starts in 11 appearances for Maui, with a record of 4-6, 5.56. She stills truggled with her control, with 28 walks issued in 45 1/3 innings, against only 12 Ks.

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