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Boston Red Sox ink deal worth US$2 million with teenage shortstop: report

By Joseph Yeh--Lin Tzu-wei (林子偉), an 18-year-old Taiwanese shortstop, reached a US$2.05 million deal with the Boston Red Sox, according to a media report yesterday.

Lin's bonus is the second-largest ever given to a Taiwanese major league player, trailing only behind the US$2.2 million deal given to Taiwan-native pitcher Tsao Chin-hui (曹錦輝) by the Colorado Rockies in 1999.

It is also the largest bonus the Red Sox offered for an amateur player out of Asia, topping the US$1.8 million given to Junichi Tazawa of Japan in December 2008.

The Taiwan press first reported the deal earlier this month and it is now official after Lin passed a pre-signing health check in Boston and completed an investigation from the Major League Baseball Thursday in the U.S.

Though a relatively small-sized position player, the 5-foot-8, 155-pound Lin has become a highly anticipated player and has drawn strong reviews from American scouts for his left-handed bat since his high school days.

Scouting reports on Lin highlighted his fantastic speed at reaching first base in 3.79 seconds. His defense also rates well above average. Some scouts have projected him as an above-average hitter, capable of hitting better than .300, though he won't offer much long-range power.

The young Taiwanese aboriginal player from the southern city of Kaohsiung originally made an agreement with the New York Yankees as a 16-year-old in August 2010.

But the US$350,000 contract was never consummated since it reportedly violated the Taiwan baseball association's rule that no Taiwanese player can sign with professional baseball league before graduating from high school.

Since then, Lin's stock has continued to rise after winning the 2010 IBAF Under-18 Player of The Year Award, and dominating the 2011 Asian BFA Junior Tournament, going 10 for 21 with two home runs, eight RBIs, seven runs and two stolen bases.

Lin's agency in Taiwan told local media yesterday that the 18-year-old baseball talent is currently in Miami awaiting his team's decision on where he will be sent to begin his pro baseball career in the U.S.

He will most likely join the Gulf Coast League Red Sox in Florida, a rookie level minor league affiliation of the Boston Red Sox, according to local media reports.

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