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Keisuke Ueno of Japan Samurai Bears acquired by Texas Rangers

December 21, 2005 - Golden Baseball League (GBL) - Japan Samurai Bears News Release

The Golden Baseball League announced that Japan Samurai Bear's pitcher Keisuke Ueno has been acquired by the Texas Rangers and signed to a contract for the 2006 season. He will attend spring training at the Rangers' complex in Surprise, Arizona and will be assigned to the Arizona Rookie League team in Surprise.

"Ueno will be an impact player in the Texas organization," said Kash Beauchamp, Director of Player Development for the Golden Baseball League. "We knew when we converted him from shortstop to pitcher that he had a strong arm, but we were most impressed by how quickly he improved and learned to pitch."

Ueno, 19, is a 6'4", 210 pound right handed pitcher from Funabashi, Japan in the Chiba prefecture just east of Tokyo. After an outstanding high school career, he was not drafted by the Japan Professional leagues and opted to attend a pro baseball tryout camp, as a shortstop, in Florida in early 2005. There he caught the attention of Kash Beauchamp, GBL Director of Player Development. Beauchamp was in the process of selecting players for the Japan Samurai Bears, the first Japanese team to play as a regular member of a U.S. professional sports league. Due to Ueno's arm strength and size, Beauchamp signed him as a pitcher. Under the tutoring of Japan Samurai Bears Pitching Coach Tsuneo Horii, a former professional pitcher in Japan for the Taiyo Whales and most recently the minor league pitching coach for the Yokohama Bay Stars, Ueno developed rapidly. Throwing a 94 mph fastball, a curveball, and a forkball, he appeared in 18 games for the Samurai Bears, pitching 78 innings while striking out 64 this past season. His best outing was a complete game one-hitter while fanning four and walking none on July 6th against the Chico Outlaws.

Ueno was scouted during the season by a number of major league teams. At a post-season showcase tryout arranged by his agent Jay Shindo and attended by seven big league clubs, he was acquired by the Texas Rangers.

"Keisuke Ueno is a great example of independent baseball providing value to major league organizations," said Kevin Outcalt, Commissioner of the GBL. "Although it is our 16th player signed by a major league club in 2005, it's our first non-U.S. born player. Converting a non-drafted infielder into a pitcher, coaching and developing him over four months of playing time, marketing him to major league organizations, and getting him signed is strong evidence of how effective Indy leagues have become as a source of talent and a valuable route for players to advance their careers."

About the Golden Baseball League

The Golden Baseball League, Presented by Safeway Inc./VONS, is a professional baseball league operating under a single-entity ownership model, with the League owning all the individual teams. Charter Golden Baseball League teams include the Chico Outlaws in Chico; CA, the Fullerton Flyers in Fullerton; CA, the Long Beach Armada in Long Beach; CA, the San Diego Surf Dawgs in San Diego; CA, the Yuma Scorpions in Yuma; AZ, and the Reno Silver Sox in Reno; NV. The season consists of 80 games per team and will begins the first of June and ends in early September. Each team will have a 23-player roster.

For general information, please visit our League web site at www.goldenbaseball.com.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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