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September 26, 2017

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Young Taiwan baseball players dream of making it in the MLB

Professional baseball leagues around the globe recently kicked off their 2012-13 seasons, including Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States, in which many young Taiwanese players are waiting for their chance to shine.

For this season, however, only one Taiwan native has made it to this year's MLB opening-day roster: the Baltimore Orioles lefty Chen Wei-yin (陳偉殷). Most of the other dozens of Taiwanese players now competing in pro baseball in the U.S. are still making their way in the minor leagues.

This will be the first MLB season for newcomer Chen, who previously played in Japan's professional league, after he reached a three-year deal to join the Orioles during the offseason.

The most widely known Taiwanese MLB player, former New York Yankees ace and now-Nationals pitcher Chien-Ming Wang, has been put on the disabled list for a strained left hamstring and won't return to the mound until May.

Another Taiwan native, reliever Hong-Chih Kuo (郭泓志), was released by the Seattle Mariners last month. The injury-plagued former Dodger is still waiting for a chance to continue his professional career in the U.S.

These examples of Taiwanese players in the U.S. reveal just how highly competitive the MLB really is.

Wang, Kuo and other familiar names have all received high praise for their excellent performances on the mound, but now injuries have forced them out of the media spotlight.

This reminds us of yet another sad truth about how many Taiwanese baseball players have spent their youth in the U.S., dreaming big about that day when they would shine in the MLB, but have failed to do so.

According to statistics recently complied by a local baseball magazine, a total of 54 local players have taken their shot at making the American pro league since 1999. Many of these hopefuls were following in the footsteps of Chen Chin-feng (陳金鋒), who in 2002 became the first Taiwanese player to play in the MLB.

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