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Tsao Chin-hui returns to MLB after 8 year hiatus

2015/07/08 20:57:26

CNA file photo

Taipei, July 8 (CNA) Tsao Chin-hui (曹錦輝), the first Taiwanese pticher ever to play in the major leagues in the United States, has been called up by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Tsao, who last pitched in the major leagues in 2007, signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers in January and has made 21 appearances as a reliever for the Oklahoma City Dodgers, going 2-1 with an ERA of 3.86 and converting five of seven save opportunities.

It was not known if the move is a stopgap measure to provide temporary relief to a Dodger bullpen that has pitched a lot of innings recently or if the Dodgers see him as a longer-term option.

The 34-year-old Hualien native became the first Taiwanese pitcher to play in the major leagues when he took the mound for the Colorado Rockies in 2003.

His major league career was derailed by injuries, however, and he eventually returned to Taiwan to pitch professionally in 2009 for the Brother Elephants.

But he was banned for life from baseball by Taiwan's professional baseball league (the CPBL) the next year for being implicated in game-fixing during the 2009 season.

In November 2014, he signed with the Adelaide Bite of the Australian Baseball League, but he was not allowed to play after consultations with the CPBL and Major League Baseball.

When the Dodgers showed interest in Tsao, however, MLB blessed the deal over the objections of the CPBL, after finding no proof that he fixed games, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Though Taiwan's professional baseball league continues to ban Tsao, the chairman of the Chinese Taipei Baseball Association, Liao Cheng-Ching (廖正井), said he intends to recruit Tsao to play for Taiwan's national team in the inaugural 2015 WBSC Premier tournament scheduled for mid-November in Taiwan and Japan.

(By Oscar Wu and Bill Lin)