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Fu-Te Ni

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Fu-Te Ni

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[edit] Biographical Information

Fu-Te Ni debuted in the CPBL and for the Taiwan national team in 2007; two years later, he was in the major leagues.

In the 2001 World Port Tournament, Ni had 4 hits, one walk and one run in one inning for Taiwan.

[edit] 2007: CPBL

Ni began his professional career with the 2007 China Trust Whales, going 7-12 with a 3.53 ERA and 125 strikeouts in 112 1/3 IP. He was third in the CPBL in strikeouts behind Joey Dawley and Lorenzo Barcelo and 5th in WHIP (1.20). He was 8th in ERA, 0.01 behind former major leaguer Gary Rath. He was considered a good Rookie of the Year candidate but did not win the award.

[edit] 2007: World Cup and Asian Championship

He joined the Taiwanese national team shortly before the 2007 Baseball World Cup. In that event, he was the team's most-used pitcher, appearing in five games. His statistical performance was full of both good and bad news. He was 0-1 with a 2.84 ERA but a 7.11 RA. He struck out 10 in 6 1/3 IP but allowed 9 hits. Against Japan, the Bronze Medal winners, he struck out 4 in 2 1/3 IP, allowing no runs in a win. He walked 2 in 2/3 of an inning against the Mexican team, allowing one earned run and taking the loss in relief of Ming-Chieh Hsu. His defense let him down when LF Ying-Chieh Liao lost a fly ball in the sun. He helped preserve a win over Panama, with two scoreless frames of work.

He then came in during the quarterfinals against the Dutch national team in relief of Po-Hsuan Keng with one on and no outs in the 11th inning of a 2-2 game. Ni fielded a bunt from Bryan Engelhardt and threw poorly to second for an error. Dirk van 't Klooster bunted both runners over. Ni intentionally walked Vince Rooi to load the bases. He then struck out Roel Koolen. Ni's fortunes went sour as Greg Halman smashed a 2-run double and Hainley Statia followed with a 2-run single to give the Netherlands the game and eliminate the host Taiwan team from medal contention.

His last Cup appearance came against Mexico, striking out the final batter in a 6-4 loss that gave Taiwan a disappointing 8th-place finish. Had Ni come through against the Netherlands, they would have had a good shot at a Medal.

Ni was the worst Taiwanese pitcher in the 2007 Asian Championship, with a 54.00 ERA and allowing three of four baserunners to reach. Against South Korea, he walked one and struck out one in relief. Against Japan, he relieved Keng and allowed a single and walk (both runners came around to score) before being replaced by Chin-Hui Tsao in a 10-2 loss.

[edit] 2008: Olympic Qualifier and Olympics

Ni was with Taiwan for the 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament, allowing 9 hits and 4 runs (3 earned) in 7 2/3 innings. He got a no-decision in a 6-5 loss to Team Canada, the tournament champion. Taiwan earned a spot in the 2008 Olympics for their work.

In the Olympics, Ni was 1-2 with a 4.09 ERA, striking out 11 in 11 innings. He took the loss against Japan, replacing Wen-Hsiung Hsu with a 1-1 tie after 5 and promptly allowing a run on hits by Norichika Aoki and Atsunori Inaba. He also took the loss against South Korea. Ni got the win against Team Canada to give Taiwan 5th place; with the bases loaded and one out in the 11th, he struck out Matt Rogelstad and retired Scott Thorman on a fly. The next inning, he whiffed Emerson Frostad and Adam Stern before giving way to Chih-Chia Chang, who saved it.

[edit] 2008: Regular Season

In the 2008 CPBL season, Ni fell to 5-12 with a 3.34 ERA for a poor team but led the CPBL with 132 strikeouts, 22 more than runner-up Ryokan Kobayashi.

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[edit] Moving to the US

Ni was invited to spring training by the Seattle Mariners for 2009, but declined. He asked for a guaranteed Major League contract. In December, he was the second pick of the redistribution draft following the dissolution of the scandal-plagued Whales and dMedia T-Rex; the Brother Elephants chose him after Chia-Hsien Hsieh went first.

In January 2009, Ni became the first player from the CPBL to sign directly with a major league team, inking a deal with the Detroit Tigers. He was sent to the minor league camp in late March.

In the 2009 World Baseball Classic, Ni finished off the loss to China. Relieving Sung-Wei Tseng in the 7th, he gave up a Lingfeng Sun single but then fanned Fenglian Hou to end the inning. In the 8th, he surrendered a solo homer to Ray Chang then struck out Fei Feng. Chao Wang singled but Ni retired Guangbiao Liu and Fujia Chu to escape further damage.

Ni was assigned to the AAA Toledo Mud Hens. He debuted on April 9 against the Indianapolis Indians, allowing one run in two innings (a solo homer) and fanning two. He got the win. He started off 3-0 with a 2.60 ERA and was then called up to the majors. He was the sixth Taiwanese player to make it to the majors and the first to make it from the CPBL; he followed Chin-Feng Chen, Chin-Hui Tsao, Hong-Chih Kuo, Chien-Ming Wang and Chin-Lung Hu.

[edit] The major leagues

Ni debuted in The Show on June 29, 2009 relieving struggling Rick Porcello in the fifth inning against the A's, with Detroit down 4-0. Ni struck out Jason Giambi and got Kurt Suzuki on a fly. In the 6th, Ni gave up a home run to Ryan Sweeney but recovered to strike out Jack Cust, get Landon Powell on a fly and fan Mark Ellis. Freddy Dolsi replaced him in the 7th.

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