Baseball: Former Major League pitcher Jen-Ho Tseng joins Auckland Tuatara

Jen-Ho Tseng in action for the Cubs
Jen-Ho Tseng in action for the Cubs Photo credit: Getty

Auckland Tuatara have added to their depleted pitching depth, signing a former Major League pitcher and a talented prospect for their final push for the Australian Baseball League playoffs.

Former Chicago Cubs right-hand hurler Jen-Ho Tseng has agreed to join the club until the end of the campaign and will link up with the side on Thursday for a road series against the Sydney Blue Sox.

The Taiwanese star made three appearances for the Cubs in 2017-18.

The 25-year-old was signed by the Cubs in 2013 and was named the club's Minor League Pitcher of the Year in September 2017, before making his MLB debut the next day.

He was released by in April last year, but was picked up by the Texas Rangers.

He made one appearance in for the Rangers' AA Minor League team, before spending most of the season on the injured list.

Hard-throwing Dominican left-hander Sandro Cabrera will also join the Tuatara from the San Francisco Giants.

Cabrera had a brief stint with the Kansas City Royals, before linking with the Giants in 2015. 

"We are very excited by what these two guys can bring to our organisation in the final weeks of the season," says Tuatara chief executive Regan Wood.

"We have lost a bit of pitching depth and will lose a little more next week, so we are delighted to acquire players of this calibre to replace what we’ve lost.

"Both players will be in Sydney with us over the weekend and I can’t wait to see them in action."

The two incoming pitchers will replace Hever Bueno and Lucas Jacobsen, as well as infielder Josh Morgan, who are all heading back to the United States.

Morgan and Jacobsen will play against the Blue Sox this week, before departing - they were always set to leave after the Sydney series, due to a family wedding back in Texas.

Josh Morgan in action
Josh Morgan in action Photo credit: Photosport

Bueno has been shut down, after showing signs of fatigue in the sweep over Geelong Korea at the weekend.

"We knew Josh and Lucas were only ever going to be with us for the first eight weeks of the season," Wood said. 

"We had planned around that, but that disruption has been magnified, because of the other players we’ve had come and go from the roster.

"It will be hard for Josh and Lucas to say goodbye to the team, given how well we’ve gone, but we understand they have to put family first.

"Hever wants to stay, but 'Mintzy' [manager Stephen Mintz] is concerned with a recent drop in velocity on the back of a very long season and is not prepared to risk injury by asking more of him.

"While it is frustrating for us to lose quality players, we know we have an obligation to make sure they are looked after, while they are with us."

The Tuatara face the Blue Sox in a four-game series in Sydney this week, before rounding out the regular season with series against fellow Northeast Division rivals Canberra and Brisbane.

Five wins from their final 12 games should see the Auckland club qualify for the playoffs.

ABL Standings

North East Division 
Auckland Tuatara .571, Canberra Cavalry .458, Brisbane Bandits .429, Sydney Blue Sox .429
South East Division 
Adelaide Giants .667, Perth Heat .607, Melbourne Aces .536, Geelong-Korea .321