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BASEBALL/Taiwan's Yu Chang signed by Tampa Bay Rays to minor league contract

02/21/2024 12:31 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, Feb. 21 (CNA) Taiwanese infielder Yu Chang (張育成) has been signed to a minor league contract by the Tampa Bay Rays and invited to the team's spring training camp, the team announced Tuesday.

The 28-year-old, who reported to the club's spring training facility on Tuesday, told MLB.com he had received minor league offers from 10 teams, but signed with the Rays because of the positive experience he had on the team in 2022.

"I feel like people make me comfortable here -- not only like coaches, [but the] teammates and everyone here," he told the site.

Chang, who made his MLB debut in 2019, played with the Cleveland Guardians until 2022, when he was traded to Pittsburgh and later to Tampa Bay, where he batted .260 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in 36 games.

He was the star of Taiwan's team in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, going 7-16 in four games with two doubles, two homers (including a grand slam) and eight RBIs.

Soon after the WBC, he made the Boston Red Sox regular season roster, but injured his hand in April and was later sent down to the team's Triple-A affiliate. He became a free agent following the 2023 season.

Chang had previously raised the possibility of returning to Taiwan to play, and had been in contact with the Xinzhuang-based Fubon Guardians, which congratulated Chang after news of his new contract broke on Tuesday.

Under the terms of Chang's minor league contract, he will earn US$36,000 per month, and will receive a US$1 million bonus if he makes the team's major league roster.

(By Hsieh Ching-wen and Matthew Mazzetta)

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