06/30/09 6:31 PM ET
Singh, Patel nearing pro debuts
Reality show winners to pitch this week in Rookie League
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel, the former cricket-playing hurlers from India who won a TV contest called "Million Dollar Arm" that earned them $20,000 worth of contracts, are just about ready to make their professional debuts for Bradenton of the Gulf Coast Rookie League.
Singh and Patel didn't know much about baseball before the show, and since then they've embarked on a crash course of workouts, baseball instruction and life in America. They'll both most likely pitch in games this week.
"It's going to be fun," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington told The Associated Press. "It's going to be a little different from the typical first professional outing. This is really their first outing [in the sport]. It will be different, but we're not trying to get too caught up in it. We want to let them become part of the routine as much as possible."
Both pitchers are 20 years old and are topping out at around 90 mph on the radar gun with their fastballs, according to the AP.
"You can very easily argue they're 10 months old in terms of their baseball lives," Huntington added. "We're still at the rudimentary levels with them. That they'll be able to pitch in the Gulf Coast League is remarkable. ... I anticipate they'll both be able to hold their own."
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.