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Female knuckler Eri Yoshida gets a win

Japan Schoolgirl Pro

High school student Eri Yoshida, 16, strikes a pose with a ball after being drafted by an independent league’s professional team during a press conference in Osaka, western Japan, Sunday, Nov. 16, 2008. Yoshida, who throws a side-arm knuckleball, was drafted by the Kobe 9 Cruise in a new independent Japanese league that will start its first season in April. Yoshida says she wants to follow in the footsteps of Boston Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) ** JAPAN OUT MANDATORY CREDIT FOR COMMERCIAL USE ONLY IN NORTH AMERICA ** Original Filename: Japan_Schoolgirl_Pro_TOK805.jpg


The Arizona Winter League is not exactly the highest level of baseball imaginable -- if the guys playing there were such great shakes they’d be on their way to an actual spring training camp right now -- but they’re better than you and I are. That’s where the famous Japanese female knuckleballer Eri Yoshida is plying her fluttery trade this winter, and it’s not going too bad so far. After one disastrous start and then some decent bullpen work, she got a second start:

Her second start was against Team Canada. At 5'1" and 114 pounds she is not the most intimidating presence on the mound, but Team Canada was flustered by her mixture of a sidearm knuckleball, curve ball and fastball that she shut them out for four innings, only giving up four hits. She struck out one without walking a hitter to pick up her first win.

There’s probably no chance this translates to affiliated ball -- and maybe she’s no Toni Stone -- but I would not be at all surprised to see her pitching in the Northern League or something this winter. For entertainment value she’d certainly beats another appearance by Jose Canseco or some other washed up former Major Leaguer.

(thanks to Ron Rollins for the link)