Loss Van den Hurk; other Dutch pros start season
FORT MILL / BUFFALO / SACRAMENTO / LANCASTER / FORT MYERS (USA) -
The Minor Leagues opened their seasons on Thursday, April 7, which was the earliest opening in its history.
This means that several Dutch or Antillian/Aruban players also started their professional season.
At Fort Mill, South Carolina, Dutch pitcher Rick van den Hurk threw three innings in his first start of the season for the Norfolk Tides, the Triple-A team of the Baltimore Orioles.
After the Tides lost the season-opener 4-3 on Thursday in Charlotte, Van den Hurk was the starting pitcher in the second game on Friday.
Initially, the righthander was listed as starting pitcher for Game 3 on Saturday, but that changed.
There were more changes for the team, as RHP Chris Jakubauskas, the scheduled starter for Sunday, was recalled to the Baltimore Orioles, who sent RHP Brad Bergesen to Norfolk.
Jakubauskas was replaced in the Norfolk-rotation by LHP Chris George, who initially was scheduled to start on Monday.
On Friday, Van den Hurk threw the first three inning against the Charlotte Knights, the Triple-A team of the Chicago White Sox.
In that span, the righhander needed 63 pitches.
In the second inning, Van den Hurk gave up two runs.
He gave up a lead-off single to Dallas McPherson, then a double to Stefan Gartrell and loaded the bases by walking Jordan Danko.
Next, Gookie Dawkins singled to bring in two runs.
A foul-out and double play then ended the at bat.
Charlotte went on to win the game 5-0.
Saturday's game at Charlotte was postponed.
At Buffalo, New York, the Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A team of the Washington Nationals, opened the new season Thursday with an 8-5 victory vs. the Buffalo Bisons (New York Mets).
On Friday, the team lost 3-2 in 13 innings to the Bisons.
On Saturday, Syracuse won 2-1 against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Philadelphia Phillies).
In its first three games the Chiefs had to do without outfielder Roger Bernadina, who was placed on the bereavement leave list on Thursday.
The bereavement list is used may be used by a player due to serious family circumstances.
A player on such a list must miss a minimum of three games and a maximum of seven games.
At Sacramento, California, the Tacoma Rainiers opened the season with a 6-2 loss at the Sacramento River Cats (Oaklans Athletics).
Tacoma is the Triple-A team of the Seattle Mariners and has outfielder Greg Halman on its roster.
In the opener, Halman was 0-for-4.
On Friday, the Rainiers won 3-1.
In that game, Halman scored the first run for his team in the first inning.
He reached on a fielder's choice, then scored when next hitter Matt Tuiasosopo tripled.
After Sacramento had tied the score, the Rainiers re-took the lead in the sixth inning.
The team added an insurance run in the eighth inning when Halman hit an RBI-double just after a pitching change.
At Lancaster, California, the High Desert Mavericks (Single-A, Seattle Mariners) opened on Thursday with a 5-0 loss vs. the Lancaster JetHawks (Houston Astros).
In the opener Kalian Sams was the DH for the Mavericks and struckout three times.
On Friday, the Mavericks won 6-4, but Sams didn't play in that game.
At Fort Myers, Florida, RHP Tom Stuifbergen started on Saturday for the Fort Myers Miracle (Single-A, Minnesota Twins) and threw six innings vs. the Jupiter Hammerheads (Florida Marlins).
In his six innings, Stuifbergen struckout five batters, walked one and gave up seven hits and three runs.
Fort Myers was leading 3-2 when Jupiter tied the score in the sixth and last inning Stuifbergen pitched.
Fort Myers went on to win 5-3, but Stuifbergen had no decision.
Dutch pitcher Loek van Mil (Double-A, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) didn't play yet.
Players in the Rookie Leagues will open their season later.