Orioles sign 'Itchy' Xu, first player from Chinese development program

Baseball The Orioles signed Gui Yuan Xu, the first player to come from 's Chinese development program, to an international free agent deal for next season.The Orioles have signed free agent INF Gui Yuan “Itchy” Xu to a 2016 minor league deal. pic.twitter.com/FpyUdzeJis— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) July 20, 2015Xu (pronounced “SHOO”), 19, becomes the first player signed by a @ club from the Development Centers. pic.twitter.com/OfOfB8yvz2— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) July 20, 2015MORE: Second half predictions | Seven who impressed at Futures Game | AL's best under 25 Though the financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, Xu, nicknamed "Itchy", received a $10,000 signing bonus.Originally recruited as a pitcher, the 19-year-old outfielder and first baseman is expected to be introduced to the team at the Orioles spring training facility in Sarasota, Fla., this summer before going back to China to complete high school. Xu will then report to the Orioles spring training camp next February and be assigned to one of Baltimore's minor league teams. "Xu has been working hard at the Development Center and we hope he'll be the first of many future major league players from China," Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said, via .com. "He has excellent bal

ance at the plate and very good left-handed power, which we think will play well at Oriole Park at Camden Yards."MORE: Classic photos of Brooks RobinsonXu, who idolizes seven-time All-Star Ichiro Suzuki, will stay in China to train with the development program's top team for the time being, but is excited to try and reach the majors."Ichiro is a hitting god and I love hitting, and I want to work hard to be as good as he is," Xu said. "I am excited to have a chance to go to and play baseball, and I'm happy the Orioles gave me this opportunity."A native of Shenzhen, China, Xu was awarded National Youth Baseball League Most Valuable Player award in 2012 and 2014. He was also a two-time Taiwan Elite Camp All-Star in 2013 and 2014. He also won the 2012 China National Youth Home Run Derby in 2012.