Local pitcher Chih-Wei Hu makes MLB debut with Tampa Bay Rays


The China Post

By Joseph Yeh — Taiwanese pitcher Chih-Wei Hu (胡智為) made his mark on R.O.C. baseball history after making his Major League Baseball (MLB) debut on Monday, becoming the ninth Taiwanese pitcher to appear in the highest-level baseball league in the world. Only one day after Tampa Bay Rays promoted the young right-hander, Hu made his debut at the Show with his team trailing 3-5, coming in after a rain delay to throw one scoreless inning against Baltimore Orioles. He gave up a sacrifice fly to Jonathan Schoop but otherwise threw the ball well.

“I feel great. It’s amazing. This is my first time (in relief). I think I threw OK today,” he said. Hu told Taiwanese reporters in the U.S. that this is just his first step in MLB, and he is ready to begin his journey in steadfast fashion by taking it “one step at a time.” In the nine balls he pitched in Monday’s game, five of them were strikes with the fastest ball reaching 94 miles per hour. The 23-year-old was called up to the majors on Sunday after five years in the minor leagues, making him the 12th Taiwanese national to play in the major leagues, and the ninth pitcher. He is the first Taiwan-born player in Rays history. On Sunday, Tampa Bay Rays promoted the 23-year-old Taichung native from Triple-A Durham to the major league roster. Hu replaced Tommy Hunter, who was placed on the disabled list with a strained calf. Here’s a quick take on the newest member of the Rays. Minnesota Twins originally signed Hu, inking him to a US$220,000 deal in 2012. He was successful in the Minnesota system, notably in 2015 when he posted a 2.44 ERA with a 73/19 K/BB in 85 innings for High-A Fort Myers. He was traded to the Rays in July 2015 for Kevin Jepsen. Hu ranked seventh on the 2017 Tampa Bay Rays Top 20 pre-season prospects list. Chen Wei-Yin (陳偉殷) is the only other Taiwanese player in the MLB this season.