Pirates' Indian pitchers make pro debuts

Farm director: Game 'speaks volumes' of progress for Patel, Singh

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MIAMI -- Dinesh Patel and Rinku Singh, the Pirates' Indian-born pitchers, made their professional debuts this afternoon for Bradenton of the rookie-level Gulf Coast League, each working an inning of relief against the New York Yankees' affiliate.

Patel, the right-hander, pitched a scoreless inning with a strikeout, and needed just nine pitches, seven of which were strikes.

Singh, the left-hander, allowed a run on two hits with a strikeout and wild pitch. He needed 20 pitches.

The 20-year-olds never saw baseball before winning an Indian TV reality show called "Million Dollar Arm" last year, and the Pirates -- backing a pledge to seek talent globally -- signed them over the winter.

"The fact that they have pitched in an actual professional game speaks volumes about how far they've come," director of player development Kyle Stark said. "This continues to be a long-term process, with many steps along the way. Today was one of those steps. They're the first from their country to do something like this. That's progress."

Singh, in his fractured English, described the experience on the duo's blog: "I getting in bullpen and feeling nervous warming up out there. They calling your name, and I feeling little nervous. After first pitching, I feeling good. ... I think next time I doing much better now I knowing how feeling on mound. I wish we winning game so I feeling happy on total."

The Yankees won, 4-2.

"Same Rinku I feeling little nervous," Patel wrote on the blog. "In bullpen, they saying my name and my heart going very fast. I think I doing good, but I sad we losing. It not matter if we doing good if team not winning."

Dejan Kovacevic can be reached at dkovacevic@post-gazette.com . Catch more on the Pirates at the PG's PBC Blog .


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