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Dodgers confirm signing Taiwanese pitcher Chin-hui Tsao

2014/12/31 11:25:06

Los Angeles, Dec. 30 (CNA) The Los Angeles Dodgers confirmed Tuesday that they have signed veteran Taiwanese pitcher Chin-hui Tsao, who was implicated in a game-fixing scandal in Taiwan five years ago, to a minor league contract.

"He (Chin-hui Tsao) has been signed to a minor league deal," Joe Jareck, Dodgers' public relations director, confirmed in response to an e-mail query from CNA.

Jareck did not answer questions, however, on whether Tsao has been invited to join the Dodgers for spring training in 2015 or whether the team is aware that Tsao was expelled from Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) in 2010 over the game-fixing case.

The 33-year-old right-hander became the first Taiwanese pitcher to play in the U.S. major leagues when he took the mound for the Colorado Rockies in 2003.

In 2007, he went to the Dodgers and appeared in 21 games as a reliever.

He then returned to Taiwan to play for the Brother Elephants in the CPBL in 2009, but was banned the next year after he was implicated in game-fixing.

In November, Tsao signed with the Adelaide Bite of the Australian Baseball League and traveled to Australia to get ready for the season, but after consultations with the CPBL and Major League Baseball (MLB), the club refused to allow him to play.

According to a source familiar with the operations of the MLB, the Dodgers likely had contacted the CPBL before signing Tsao.

The Dodgers probably considered a deal with Tsao to be acceptable because Tsao was not indicted in the game-fixing case, the source said.

If the CPBL provides more information to the Dodgers that shows Tsao's role in the scandal, the Dodgers will likely terminate his contract, the source said.

Observers said the Dodgers were hoping to strengthen their bullpen by signing Tsao, but if he does not perform well during spring training, he will have little chance of making the major league roster and sticking with the organization.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times published a commentary which questioned the Dodgers' decision to sign a pitcher who has not pitched in five years since being banned for promising to throw games.

"It's just difficult to fathom that Friedman's (the Dodgers' president) desire to improve the bullpen would extend so low as to offer a minor league contract to Tsao," Steve Dilbeck wrote.

Dilbeck pointed out that game-fixing and gambling are great no-no's of the MLB and the reasons why eight players were banned from the game in the 1919 Black Sox scandal and Pete Rose has not been voted into the Hall of Fame.

Just like Tsao, the Black Sox were found not guilty in court, he said, but "it goes back to the integrity of the game, which remains crucial."

(By Oscar Wu and Y.F. Low)