JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg, who will make his MLB debut Tuesday (6/8/2010) for the Washington Nationals, isn’t the only player leaving the AAA Syracuse Chiefs.

First baseman Josh Whitesell, the team’s cleanup hitter, reportedly has signed a contract to play in Japan.

It’s bad news for the Chiefs, who saw Whitesell hit .301 and lead the team with 34 RBIs. But it’s a smart move for the 28-year-old North Carolina native, who presumably will earn a big paycheck while putting himself on the radar of other MLB clubs.

Whitesell was the AAA Pacific Coast League’s rookie of the year in 2008, with 26 home runs, 110 RBIs and a .328 batting average. He spent part of 2009 with the Arizona Diamondbacks but hit just .194 in 108 at-bats there.

On Thursday (6/3/2010), Strasburg’s final game with the Chiefs, Whitesell went 2-for-4 with a double.

# # #