David Matoma: Uganda 16-year-old pitcher signs for MLB's Pittsburgh Pirates

David Matoma: Uganda 16-year-old pitcher signs for MLB's Pittsburgh Pirates
23/01/2023
Matoma is the third player from Uganda to have a chance in US-affiliated baseball after Ben Serunkuma and Umar Male signed for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball (MLB) signed out of Uganda 16-year-old right-handed pitcher David Matoma.

He is the third player from Uganda to have a chance in US-affiliated baseball after Ben Serunkuma and Umar Male signed for the Los Angeles Dodgers in early 2022.

Matoma heard from his coach Bernard Okello that a scout showed interest in him. He asked for the scout's name. He found out it was Tom Gillespie, tracked him down through social media and started sending him videos.

"Technology makes it a lot easier," Gillespie told The Athletic. "I’ve been able to keep tabs on David with video, see the pocket radars, and get an idea of how the velocity was improving and how that matched up with what I was seeing with my eyes."

Matoma grew up playing cricket and soccer in Luwero, in the Central Region of Uganda. He was introduced to baseball in 2010 and started playing in boarding school in 2016.

The right-hander will report to the Dominican Republic for camp in early February. Okello, who had a playing experience in Japan, will serve as a guest coach for three weeks.

Matoma may be given a chance at different positions too. "He keeps trying to tell me he can hit, too," Gillespie told MLB.com.