Greetings from the JetBlue terminal at JFK. I just got this e-mail from the Yankees …
YANKEES SIGN TWO PLAYERS FROM PEOPLEâ€™S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
The New York Yankees announced today that they have signed left-handed pitcher Kai Liu and catcher Zhenwang Zhang to minor league contracts, becoming the first Major League team to sign a player from the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China with approval from the Chinese Baseball Association.
The 19-year old Liu began playing baseball in 2000 for the Guangdong Province team. In addition to his playing career in the six-team Chinese Baseball League with the Guangdong Leopards, he was chosen to participate as a member of the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China National Team.
Zhang, 19, began his playing career in 1998 in the Municipality of Tianjin. He helped lead his team, the Tianjin Lions, to the CBL championship series in three of the past five seasons (2002, 2005 and 2006) and was selected to represent his country as a member of the PRC National Team. Zhang also participated in the 2006 World Baseball Classic.
Both players will be introduced at a formal press conference at Yankee Stadium on Friday, July 6. Following the press conference, the players will report to the Yankees Player Development Complex in Tampa, Florida.
Brian Cashman, Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager, said, â€œThis is an exciting opportunity for us to integrate Chinese players into the organization. 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.â€?
The Yankees first announced their working agreement with the Chinese Baseball Association at a press conference in Beijing, China on January 29.