The Pittsburgh Pirates have announced the signing of left-hander Yao-Hsun Yang to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training as a non-roster player. The 31-year-old native of Taiwan has never pitched at the Minor or Major League level in his career, but has posted a 5-5 record with a 3.08 ERA (29 ER in 90.2 IP) in 38 games (12 starts) with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in the Japanese Central League from 2006-12.
In his most recent stint with the ‘Hawks in 2012, Yang turned in an impressive 1.42 ERA through nine outings (seven starts), including one complete game, allowing just seven earned runs in 42.2 innings of work. The southpaw also impressed with a 9.5 strikeouts-per-9.0 IP ratio, while averaging less than one walk or hit per inning pitched (0.984 WHIP). Despite winning just two of five decisions, Yang limited opposing batters to just one longball and only 24 total hits through the entire 2012 campaign.
In addition, Yang saw action at the World Baseball Classic in both 2006 and 2013 with Chinese Taipei. The lefty hurler, who worked four outings during the 2013 showcase, was tagged for five runs on five hits (two homers) in 4.1 innings for a 10.38 ERA. He also surrendered one run on two hits and one walk in 0.1 frames during the 2006 WBC.
Yang enters Spring Training boasting a pitching arsenal which features a fastball, slider, curve and change-up. While the southpaw has posted solid numbers throughout the entirety of his five-year career, he has been especially dominant in his two most recent campaigns (2010 and 2012) with his 1.79 ERA (15 ER in 75.1 IP) and 73 strikeouts to just 36 walks.
Including Yang, the Pirates have now invited 18 players to big league training camp.