SBD/Issue 51/Franchises

Pirates Sign Two Indian-Born Pitchers With Eye On Expanding Market

The Pirates yesterday signed free-agent Ps Dinesh Kumar Patel and Rinku Singh, who are "believed to be the first Indian-born athletes to sign pro contracts outside of their country," according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW. Patel and Singh "have no baseball experience, other than a stint on 'Million Dollar Arm,' a television reality show in India." The show "rewarded anyone who could throw strikes at 85 mph or faster." Neither Patel nor Singh won the million dollars, but they did "get the chance to come to America, train with a pitching coach and work out" for MLB scouts. Pirates GM Neal Huntington said of the signings, "There are a billion-plus people in India. It's like China, which is a hot market for teams because it has a billion people. This was an opportunity for us to sign two players whom we like, and also to put our foot in the door in what potentially is a tremendous market of future players" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 11/25). Huntington: "We're trying to be creative internationally" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 11/25).

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