NEW YORK (AP / WCBS 880) — Hank Steinbrenner’s youth baseball team has produced a professional pitcher.

WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs reports

The New York Yankees have signed 19-year-old Leonel Vinas to a minor league contract. The right-hander from Long Island was the ace of Hank’s Yanks, a team sponsored by Steinbrenner, co-chairman of the Yankees.

Vinas started a game this year at Yankee Stadium in which Hank’s Yanks beat a squad sponsored by New York closer Mariano Rivera for the first-ever Boss’ Cup.

Vinas went to Tampa, Fla., last month to work out for several Yankees officials, including team vice president Billy Connors.

“He’s a tough kid,” Connors said. “He was impressive throwing on the side. He pitched well for Hank’s Yanks. He just wanted an opportunity.”

Hank’s Yanks consists of youth players from diverse socio-economic backgrounds in the New York area.

Vinas is a former gang member, was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to Freeport, Long Island when he was 11-years-old.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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