The Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to terms with 31-year-old left-handed pitcher Yao-Hsun Yang from Taiwan. The Pirates were one of at least five teams that attended a tryout for the veteran lefty in January. It is a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training. Yang is currently in camp at Pirate City, according to Tim Williams, although the deal has not yet been announced by the team.
Yang competed in the World Baseball Classic in both 2006 and 2013 for Chinese Taipei. He pitched four times during the 2013 WBC, giving up five runs on five hits(two homers) and three walks, with three strikeouts in 4.1 innings. One of the homers came off the bat of Stefan Welch, who spent part of 2013 with the Altoona Curve. The other damage came during Cuba’s 14-0 route of the Taipei team. He faced a team of Major League All-Stars in late 2011, but that did not go so grand.
Yang pitched well for the Softbank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League in 2012, going 2-3, 1.48 in 42.2 innings, with 45 strikeouts and an 0.98 WHIP. He missed most of last year with an injury to his pitching arm and a thigh strain that occurred in late July. He pitched in the WBC in March, then returned to Japan and allowed three runs in 1.1 innings during his first pre-season game back. Yang was released by his team in October, allowing him to hold tryouts and sign to play in the United States.
He has thrown as hard as 96 MPH in the past, but now hits low-90’s, mixing it with a slider, curve and change-up according to his 2012 pitch charts. Imokemp at U Gotta Believe was the first to report the possibility of him signing with the Pirates last week. A video of him from the 2012 season can be seen below.