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BASEBALL/Baseball star Yu Chang to play in Taiwan; declares for CPBL draft

06/18/2024 04:49 PM
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Taiwanese baseball star Yu Chang. CNA file photo
Taiwanese baseball star Yu Chang. CNA file photo

Taipei, June 18 (CNA) Taiwanese baseball star Yu Chang (張育成) has declared for the draft of Taiwan's professional baseball league, signaling his intent to play professionally in his homeland for the first time.

In a social media post Monday (U.S. time), Chang said it was time to come home after spending much of the past 10 years in the United States working toward establishing himself as a player in the Major Leagues, most recently with the Tampa Bay Rays organization.

"I miss home. I've decided to enter the 2024 CPBL draft!" Chang wrote.

If Chang enters the draft, scheduled for June 28, he will likely be chosen by the Fubon Guardians, who have the first pick after finishing last in the CPBL (Chinese Professional Baseball League) in 2023.

The Guardians said in a statement that they were very happy to receive a positive answer from Chang to enter the draft after being in contact with him for an extended period of time.

The club said it hoped Chang will be able to take the field for the Guardians in the second half of the CPBL season after he is drafted and has signed a contract.

According to local sports media TSNA, the Guardians offered Chang a contract worth roughly NT$2 million a month earlier this year.

Chang was signed by the Cleveland organization out of high school in 2013, and by 2016 was ranked as the Indians' sixth best prospect by Baseball America.

He got his first taste of the Major Leagues in 2019 with the Indians and had his best year of his career in 2021, when he had nine home runs and 39 RBIs in 89 games with an OPS of .693.

In 2022, he bounced around between the majors and minors, playing in a total of 69 games in the majors for Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and Boston.

With his career in the U.S. seemingly coming to an end, he broke out playing for Taiwan in the World Baseball Classic in 2023 with two home runs, eight RBIs, a .438 batting average, and several clutch hits in four games, becoming a bonafide celebrity in Taiwan.

He signed with the Red Sox after the tournament, but his momentum was quickly squashed by a left wrist fracture suffered in a game against the Baltimore Orioles on April 25.

Chang did not get back to the Red Sox until July 18 and played 22 games before getting designated for assignment.

He signed with the Rays ahead of the 2024 season and has played in 14 games for the team's Triple A franchise, the Durham Bulls, but he wrote his post from Florida, where he is playing in rehab games coming off another injury.

(By Luke Sabatier and Yang Chi-fang) enditem/

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