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Japan's 'Knuckle Princess' ready for new season

Updated: August 3, 2011, 3:09 PM ET
By Gideon Rubin

SAN DIEGO -- Eri Yoshida faced some formidable gender, cultural and language barriers when she surfaced in the United States last year to pursue her dream of becoming the first female major league pitcher.

The really intimidating part for the then 18-year-old, however, came when she first stepped onto a winter instructional league mound in Arizona. She saw what, compared to players in her native Japan, seemed like cartoonish body types.

"I was scared because ...

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