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Chinese baseball player trains with Baltimore

Reporter: Nitza Soledad Perez 丨 CCTV.com

04-05-2016 06:00 BJT

A young man from China is making his US baseball debut at the Baltimore Orioles minor league spring training.  What kind of future is Xu Guiyuan looking for?

This 20-year-old is trying to become the first player from China to make it big in U.S. Major League Baseball.

Xu Guiyuan, a left-handed first baseman already made history last summer when he became the first player signed from one of the U.S. league's three development centers in China, a country that American baseball officials say may be the next hot spot to explode their sport. Now, he's joined the Baltimore Orioles for minor league spring training in Florida.

"When the Orioles scouts come, I hit a home run that day, took a BP very well, so they gave me a chance to come here," Xu said.

He adopted the nickname of Itchy Shoe. Itchy as a reference to his idol, Ichiro Suzuki, a Japanese professional player for the Miami Marlins and Shoe.Well to make it easier for his American friends to pronounce his name. Itchy is learning English and adapting to a new culture.

So far, what's been the hardest thing to get adjusted to here in the States?

"I play with the other players. They are all big guys, but look at me. I'm a skinny guy. But it's a little bit different, in my heart. I have to face the challenge," Xu said.

His teammates welcome his presence and his talent.

"He's not really bad at much. He's a good fielder, he's a good hitter, he's a good teammate so he's the guy you want at your team," said Seamus Curran, Baltimore Orioles prospect.

Itchy tells us he's concentrating on getting better, while enjoying his favorite American take-out food, Chipotle. He communicates frequently with his family, especially his mother.

"When I face time with them, always my ma talks to me. I have no chance to say something, she has a lot of thing to say: Be careful, be safe, have fun," Xu said.

He really seems to be enjoying himself though his focus does not waver. 

"My big dream is to make the Big League, you know," said Xu.

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