18-year-old Eri Yoshida became the first woman to pitch professionally in the United States in close to a decade on Saturday, throwing three innings for the Chico Outlaws of the Golden Baseball League.
Dubbed Japan’s “Knuckle Princess” because of her patented knuckleball, Yoshida pitched a scoreless first inning before allowing four runs over her final two frames. She also had an RBI single.
Yoshida allowed five hits in all and issued one walk while topping out at 47 pitches. According to the Associated Press, she learned to throw the knuckler at a young age by watching Tim Wakefield, who she met this spring and got some tips from. How far the pitch will take her, of course, remains to be seen.
Giants starter Jeff Samardzija will undergo an MRI on his ailing right shoulder, according to NBC Sports Bay Area. The right-hander struggled in a minor league game on Wednesday, surrendering a pair of home runs and hitting a batter. Overall this spring, Samardzija has given up 15 runs (13 earned) on 17 hits (six homers) and seven walks with seven strikeouts in 11 innings.
This may mean Samardzija won’t be ready for the start of the regular season. Derek Holland would likely replace Samardzija in the rotation. Holland had been competing for the No. 5 spot in the Giants’ rotation.
Samardzija led the National League in losses last season with 15, also posting a 4.42 ERA with a 205/32 K/BB ratio in a league-high 207 2/3 innings. Since becoming a starter, Samardzija has been able to avoid injury, making 32 or 33 starts in each of the last five seasons.