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Updated: September 1, 2011
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Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar

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Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2011 by Marco Stoovelaar


Rick van den Hurk back in Majors
Nederlands
BALTIMORE, Maryland (USA) - Dutch pitcher Rick van den Hurk has returned to the Major League-level. On Thursday, September 1, the 26-year old righthander was called up by the Baltimore Orioles and he will be with the team when it plays at home on Thursday-evening against the Toronto Blue Jays.

On March 30, Van den Hurk was outrighted to the Norfolk Tides, the Triple-A team of the Orioles after being put on waivers the day before. Since then, Van den Hurk pitched for the Tides, appearing in 26 games, all as starter. He went 9-13 and struckout 108 batters in 154 1/3 inning, both team-highs. Van den Hurk walked only 40 batters, but gave up 23 homeruns and has a 4.43 ERA.

Van den Hurk has won his last three starts for Norfolk. On August 15, he struckout 13 batters and gave up four hits in six innings in a home game against the Charlotte Knights, which was won 1-0. The lone run was scored in the first inning, but thanks to Van den Hurk's strong pitching, the Tides held onto the lead. On August 20, he added five strikeouts and gave up only two hits in a 3-2 home win vs. the Durham Bulls. Because of these two performances, Van den Hurk was named Pitcher of the Week. On August 26, Van den Hurk again struckout five when he threw seven innings in a 4-1 win at the Gwinnett Braves.

As his last start was last Friday, this would have made him available to be one of the starting pitchers in the upcoming series of the Orioles at the Tampa Bay Rays that begins on Friday, as only the starter for the first game against the Rays was announced. However, Van den Hurk probably will be used in relief by the Orioles, as he entered the game on Thursday-evening against the Blue Jays as closer. With the score tied at 6-6, Kelly Johnson led off the eighth inning for Toronto with a walk, then Brett Lawrie homered to make it 8-6 in favor of the Canadian squad. Hereafter, pitcher Willie Eyre followed with a strikeout, but then gave up two singles and was replaced by Zach Phillips. The lefthander struckout Eric Thames and then was replaced by Van den Hurk, who made his first Major League-appearance of the season. Van den Hurk faced Josť Bautista, but struck him out to end the inning. In the ninth, Van den Hurk walked lead-off hitter Adam Lind, but that was followed by a double play. Next, Johnson doubled, but Van den Hurk (who threw 19 pitches, 10 of which were strikes) closed the inning when Lawrie flied out. Vladimir Guerrero hit three extra basehits, including a homerun, and had four RBI's for the Orioles.

(September 1)


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