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In 2019, Carter Stewart Jr. became a one-of-a-kind Japanese pro baseball player. On Sunday he looked like he is poised to join the ranks of Japan’s other top pitchers, striking out nine in five hitless innings in his first start against the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.

The eighth overall pick in Major League Baseball’s 2018 June draft, Stewart refused to sign with the Atlanta Braves and did what no other marquee American amateur had done, turn pro in Japan.

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