SEATTLE (AP) -The Mariners signed two Chinese players Wednesday, two days after the New York Yankees said they were the first major league team to sign players from China with the approval of that country's baseball association.
Infielder-outfielder Yu Bing Jia and catcher Wei Wang, members of the Beijing Tigers in the China Baseball League and of China's national baseball team, signed minor league contracts. They will report to Seattle's summer league team in Australia when not fulfilling national team commitments this summer.
``We are very excited to enter into this new phase of our relationship with Chinese baseball,'' said Ted Heid, director of Pacific Rim operations for the Mariners, who have signed Japanese League stars Ichiro Suzuki and Kenji Johjima in the last six years.
``Chinese players are improving rapidly, and we look forward to scouting and developing many more players from China in the future.''
Jia, a 24-year-old who is 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, led the China Baseball League in home runs last season and has been a member of the country's national team since 2003.
Wang, 28, is a 6-2, 190-pound veteran of 10 years of professional baseball in China. He has led Beijing to six league championships and has been the starting catcher on the national team since 2002. Wang hit a two-run homer in the opening game of the 2006 World Baseball Classic against eventual champion Japan.
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