In this Japanese name, the family name is "Yoshida".Eri Yoshida (吉田 えり, Yoshida Eri?, born January 17, 1992, in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan) is a high-school student at Kawasaki-kita Senior High School in Kawasaki, who at the age of 16 became the first female drafted by a Japanese professional baseball team, Kobe 9 Cruise of Kansai Independent Baseball League, to play alongside male teammates.
Yoshida is a sidearm knuckleball pitcher and stands 1.55 meters (5 ft 1 in) tall. Her pitches have been clocked at 101 kilometres per hour (63 mph), while her knuckleball measures around 50 mph. She started throwing the knuckleball after seeing videos of American Major League Baseball knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.
Yoshida made her professional debut at the Osaka Dome in the opening game of the Kansai Independent Baseball League on March 26, 2009 in front of 11,592 fans. She faced two batters, walking the first and striking-out the second in a 5-0 win over the Osaka Gold Villicanes.She appeared in 11 games for the Kobe 9 Cruise and moved on after the season to focus on advancing up the pro ranks. She appeared in a one inning battle against the top hitters of the Hiroshima Carp on November 24, 2009. On December 15, 2009 she announced that she will be coming to the U.S. to play in the Arizona Winter League to showcase her skills in hopes of getting signed by a major league organization. On February 12, 2010, Yoshida got her first win in Arizona Winter League play, throwing four shut-out innings in a 5-0 win for her team, the Yuma Scorpions, versus Team Canada of the Arizona Winter League.
On February 28, 2010, she was offered a contract to play in the Golden Baseball League, the major independent minor league in western North America, by the Chico Outlaws. The Outlaws were managed by former major league all-star Garry Templeton and the team president and general manager is former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mike Marshall. On March 2, 2010, she trained with Tim Wakefield at the Boston Red Sox minor league training facility.
On April 8, 2010, she signed the contract with the Chico Outlaws and became the first female professional baseball player in the U.S. since the retirement of Ila Borders 10 years previously, and the first ever to play professionally in two countries. Her debut playing for the Chico Outlaws was on 29 May 2010. On Tuesday July 27, 2010, Yoshida made her first road start against the Victoria Seals of the independent Golden League in Victoria, British Columbia, making her the first woman in baseball history to pitch professionally in three different countries. Yoshida's nickname is "Knuckle Princess" (Japanese language: ナックル姫).
Yoshida was honored with a spot on Venus Zine's “25 under 25” list of remarkable women for 2009. On August 21, 2010, she was the feature story on FOX Sports' This Week In Baseball, where she was even seen meeting her idol, Boston Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield.
Yoshida ended the 2010 season with an 0-4 record, but earned praise for her work ethic from teammates and her manager, Garry Templeton. Templeton noted that any 18-year-old would struggle in the Golden Baseball League.