WASHINGTON - The Yankees have become the first Major League Baseball (MLB)
team to sign players from the Chinese Baseball Association.
According to the announcement delivered Monday by the Yankees, the two
Chinese teenagers are left-handed pitcher Liu Kai and catcher Zhang Zhenwang.
"We believe that this is the start of something we can develop further as we
work toward our commitment to help grow the game of baseball in China," said
Yankees' general manager Brian Cashman.
Liu Kai, 19, from Guangdong Province, was chosen to participate as a national
member while Zhang Zhenwang, aged 19 from Tianjin, helped lead Tianjin Lions to
the CBL championship series in three of the past five seasons and was selected
to represent his country to participate in the 2006 World Baseball Classic in
The Yankees visited Beijing in January, announcing a working relationship
with the Chinese Baseball Association that will attempt to grow the game
At the time, it was suggested that the effort might someday yield baseball's
answer to basketball superstar Yao Ming. The Yankees agreed to allow Chinese
teams and officials to use their training facilities in New York and at Legends
Field in Tampa, Fla., while swapping coaches and trainers to help the CBA's
Both players will be introduced at a formal press conference at Yankee
Stadium on July 6. Following their introduction, the players will report to the
Yankees' player development complex in Tampa.