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Yuma Scorpions Sign Japanese Pitching Phenom Yosuke Kawaguchi

March 30, 2009 - Golden Baseball League (GBL) - Yuma Scorpions News Release

Yuma, AZ. March 30, 2009 - The Yuma Scorpions of the independent professional Golden Baseball League (GBL) have announced that they have agreed to terms with highly regarded Japanese pitcher Yosuke Kawaguchi. The young pitcher, 21, has opted for free agency from the Yomiuri Giants to sign with Yuma to showcase his abilities in the U.S. to better gain the attention of major league organizations.

"I'm excited to have this young man as part of the pitching staff for the Scorpions," said Yuma Manager Mike Marshall. "He has been considered one of the top young pitchers in Japan since high school and will be exciting for our fans to watch. Probably the best Japanese player we've had in Yuma since the Yakult Swallows discontinued their use of our facility for spring training."

Kawaguchi, 21, 6-2, 190, was the 96th player taken overall in the 2005 draft out of Yoshikan High School in Ohita, Japan. Selected in the 5th round by the Fukuoka Soft Bank Hawks, he developed in their system before going to the perennial powerhouse Yomiuri Giants in 2008. Unable to break into their veteran-laden pitching staff despite a 1.69 E.R.A. in the minor league just a level below, he opted for free agency to improve his opportunities. Represented by well known Japanese player agent Jay Shindo, he selected the Golden League for it's track record of having players signed by major league organizations and the Yuma Scorpions for their facilities and the community's longstanding support and affinity for Japanese players.

"From the Japan Samurai Bears in our first year, to signing former Japanese big league players such as Masashi Chikazawa and Michinao Yamamura and moving Japanese players to major league organizations such as Keisuke Ueno we continue to look to ways to partner with players, teams, and leagues from Japan," said GBL Commissioner Kevin Outcalt. "This is a good example of a continued strengthening of that relationship as Nippon Professional Baseball players are now specifically selecting the GBL to advance their careers."

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