Taiwanese high school infielder signs with Pittsburgh Pirates

07/10/2019 05:05 PM
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Taipei, July 10 (CNA) High school infielder Cheng Tsung-che (鄭宗哲) has signed a contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates that included a signing bonus of US$380,000 (NT$11.78 million).

Cheng, a 17-year-old who attends Pu Men Senior High School in Kaohsiung, is the first player from the school to pursue his baseball dream abroad and the 10th Taiwanese player to sign with the Pirates organization.

Accompanied by his parents, the 17-year-old Cheng signed the contract after he completed a physical.

Cheng thanked his parents, the team and its scouts, and his management company, along with the coaches and friends who have been with him as he has grown up.

"Thank you for helping me become who I am now. I won't stop working hard in the future," he said, expressing his hope to reach the Major Leagues in the U.S. one day and promote Taiwan to fans around the world.

Cheng, who was born in 2001 and is known for his speed, has played mostly shortstop in high school, and his defensive skills have been highly praised.

He has been named as the best shortstop in Taiwan at the junior amateur level, received the Best Battler Award at the 2018 Nike All Taiwan Baseball Camp, and was named as the shortstop on the best nine-man team at the Fubon U-18 Future Star Game (U-18).

He has also been selected to Taiwan's team playing in this year's 2019 WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup, and he will train with the team in Matsuyama, Japan, from July 25 to Aug. 1.

"After coming back to Taiwan, I will return to the team as quickly as possible to win the World Cup with my teammates," Cheng said of the tournament, which will be played in South Korea from Aug. 30 to Sept. 8.

Cheng will be hoping to make more of a mark than the other Taiwanese signed by the Pirates in the past. Only one of them -- Wei-Chung Wang (王維中) -- has played at the Major League level, and he did it with a team other than the Pirates.

(by Yang Chi-Fan and Intern Hsieh Mend-Jun)Enditem/ls

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