The Australians are beginning their third iteration of the Australian Baseball League this weekend.� The Aussies have had two leagues before -- both had to shut down due to financial issues.� This time, the ABL is going to be a partnership between MLB and the Australian Baseball Federation.� MLB has been sponsoring the Australian Academy Program since 2001, and several Pirates' farmhands (Jarryd Sullivan, Mitch Fienemann) have participated.� This academy works with young Australian and Asian players, similar to the work done by the Dominican and other Caribbean academies.

The new ABL has six teams:� the Adelaide Bite (think: shark), the Brisbane Bandits, the Canberra Cavalry, the Melbourne Aces, the Perth Heat, and the Sydney Blue Sox.� The season will run into January, with each team playing 40 games.� Of course Australian players will be featured, but there are some other "imports" as well.� Here's the official ABL site, and you can see the resemblance to many other US minor league sites.

The good news:� some Pirates' farmhands are going to be playing

Adelaide Bite:� RHP Mitch Fienemann, LHP Paul Mildren (former Altoona Curve), C Dylan Child, OF Quincy Latimore;� the team manager is Pirate international scout Tony Harris.� Also on the team is a second baseman named Dayle Child.... I'm guessing he's Dylan's brother, but I've not confirmed it.� The Bite play their first game on Thursday.

Canberra Cavalry: LHP Rinku Singh

Sydney Blue Sox: RHP Jarryd Sullivan

The Calvalry and Blue Sox open on Saturday Nov 6th at 7:30 AEST in Sydney... which is 4:30 am EST in the US, as best as I can tell.� (I will not be up.)

And on to Friday evening's winter league games:

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