A Bollywood ending is still in play for Dinesh Patel and Rinku Singh, winners of the Indian reality show The Million Dollar Arm (SI, March 9, 2009), which sought to find the cricket-mad nation's best throwers and make them pitchers. Having survived their baptisms in organized baseball after being signed by the Pirates in November '08, the hurlers have been rewarded by Pittsburgh with one-year contracts. Last July, Singh became the first pitcher from his country to win a professional game, for the rookie classification Gulf Coast League's Bradenton Pirates. The lefthander finished 1--2, with a 5.84 ERA, eight strikeouts and four walks in 12 1/3 innings. Righty Patel went 1--0, with a 1.42 ERA in 6 1/3 relief innings. The duo will be back with Bradenton on Opening Day in June. "Most of their progress has occurred in learning the game itself," says Pirates farm director Kyle Stark.
Pittsburgh is also pursuing Cristopher Richardson, 17, a Dominican lefty and winner of that nation's reality show El Rookie. Pirates G.M. Neal Huntington downplays the connection. "We are not interested in signing winners of reality shows," he says. "Rather, we are interested in signing talented baseball players."
FERNANDO MEDINA/US PRESSWIRE (PITCHERS)
LEARNING CURVES Sophomores Singh (left) and Patel are back with Bradenton.