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Irabu On His Game in U.S. Pro Debut

Associated Press

Hideki Irabu, the New York Yankee prospect touted as the Nolan Ryan of Japan, made an impressive American pro debut Tuesday night for Class A Tampa of the Florida State League.

The hard-throwing right-hander, who is expected to join the Yankees within a month, allowed one hit and struck out six of the 13 batters he faced in four innings against the St. Lucie Mets.

Irabu, 28, signed a $12.8-million, four-year contract May 29, the largest deal for someone who had never played professional baseball in North America.

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Dwight Gooden, sidelined since undergoing hernia surgery in April, is scheduled to throw for pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre today at Yankee Stadium. . . . Oakland’s Jason Giambi had an RBI double in the first inning against Detroit, extending his league-leading hitting streak to 22 games.


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