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Japanese baseball has girl knuckleballer

When the punters on TVG stop talking about racehorses long enough to mention baseball, you know it's a big story. Late last night, in the middle of coverage of the Japan mile championship at Kyoto, the guys expressed their amazement over Eri Yoshida, a 16-year-old high-school student who has just become the first female player to be drafted for professional baseball in Japan. She's a pitcher yet. And she throws a killer knuckleball.

During the tryouts, Eri pitched a hitless inning that impressed the hell out of everybody -- especially since she's only five feet tall and weighs 114 pounds dripping wet. She was snapped up by the Kobe 9 Cruise, one of the teams in a new Japanese league.

Only in Japan, right? If a girl ballplayer tried to get herself drafted for men's pro ball here in the U.S., the whole country would go into meltdown. -- Patricia Nell Warren