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Updated: January 5, 2013
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Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar

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Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2013 by Marco Stoovelaar

Rick van den Hurk released by Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (USA) - Dutch professional pitcher Rick van den Hurk has been released by the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday, January 4, meaning the righthander is without a club at the moment. Last year also began with a release for Van den Hurk, who then finally ended up with Pittsburgh.

...Rick van den Hurk during last years...
...European Big League Tour... the Netherlands...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Last year, on February 3, Van den Hurk was released by the Baltimore Orioles. Several teams showed interest in the righthander, who then then a non-guaranteed split Major League-contract as a Free Agent with the Toronto Blue Jays on February 22. Van den Hurk opened Spring Training with the Blue Jays and appeared in four games in the Grapefruit League in Florida. He threw 6 1/3 inning in which he struckout three, walked six, gave up 10 hit and has a 9.95 ERA. But he was then put on waivers on March 21. He was claimed the same day by the Cleveland Indians, who put Van den Hurk on its 40-man Spring Training-roster. However, Van den Hurk's stay with Cleveland lasted only eight days, as he was 'designated for assignment' on March 30 after having thrown in two Spring Training-games for the Indians. On April 4, it was announced that Cleveland had outrighted the pitcher to Triple-A, but Van den Hurk didn't accept the assignment (which was his right to do) and opted for Free Agency. He was granted his Free Agency on April 6 by the Indians. The next chapter came on April 12 when he signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Before the start of the 2011 season, Van den Hurk was waived by the Orioles in late March, but then remained in the organisation after all and was outrighted to Triple-A, before returning to the big league-team later in the season.

Rick van den Hurk signed his first professional contract on November 14, 2002 with the Florida Marlins. With the Marlins, he made his Major League-debut on April 10, 2007 against the Milwaukee Brewers. Three years later, on July 31, 2010, he was traded by the Marlins to the Baltimore Orioles.

In 2003, he played in his first professional season, pitching in 11 games for the Rookie League-team of the Marlins. After moving through the system and being promoted to Single-A, Double-A and Triple-A, he made his Major League-debut in 2007. After making his big league-debut in that year, Van den Hurk appeared in 18 games with the Marlins that season, starting 17 of them and was 4-6 with 82 strikeouts in 81 2/3 inning.

In 2008, he pitched in only four games for the Marlins (all as a starter), was 1-1 and struckout 20 in 14 innings, while walking 10 batters. The next year, Van den Hurk threw 11 games (all starts) for the Marlins and this time was 3-2 with 49 strikeouts in 58 2/3 inning.

...Rick van den Hurk during last years...
...European Big League Tour in the Netherlands...
...with colleagues Jeremy Guthrie, Chris Dickerson,...
...Roger Bernadina and Alex Liddi...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
In 2010, he threw in two games (both in relief, 0-0) for Florida, before being traded to the Orioles. In the remainder of the season, he was used in seven games by the O's (one as a starter), was 0-1 and struckout 17 in 16 1/3 inning.

In 2011, after being outrighted to Triple-A, he pitched for Norfolk Tides. There, he threw in 26 games (all starts), was 9-13 and struckout 108 batters in 154 1/3 inning, while giving up 141 basehits and walking 40. Van den Hurk then returned to the big league-roster of the Orioles in September and threw in four games (two as a starter). The righthander was 0-0 and struckout seven batters in nine innings.

After he signed with Pittsburgh Pirates in April last year, Van den Hurk pitched in one Single-A game. He started that game, pitched six innings, struckout five and was the winning pitcher. Van den Hurk was then added again to the Triple-A team of the Pirates. With the Indianapolis Indians, the Dutchman pitched in 21 games, 19 as a starter and was 13-5, his best record so far for a single team. In 123 1/3 inning, Van den Hurk struckout 113 batters, which was a career-high. He walked only 35 batters and finished with a 2.92 ERA. On September 10, he was recalled to the big league-team of the Pirates and pitched in relief the same day against the Cincinnati Reds, ending up as the losing pitcher. In his big league-stay with Pitsburgh, Van den Hurk appeared in four games (all in relief) and struckout three batters in 2 2/3 inning, walking one and giving up five hits and four (earned) runs.

In total, Rick van den Hurk has now pitched in 50 Major League-games (35 starts), is 8-11 and has struckout 179 batters in 183 2/3 inning, while walking 96. He gave up 204 basehits, including 33 homeruns and has a career ERA of 6.08. Coming season will be his eleventh as a professional player.

In November last year, Van den Hurk organized his third European Big League Tour, which stages clinics for youth baseball-players in the Netherlands and other European countries. He was joined this time by Jeremy Guthrie (Kansas City Royals), Chris Dickerson (New York Yankees), Italian Alex Liddi (Seattle Mariners) and Dutch outfielder Roger Bernadina (Washington Nationals). The clinics were held in Rotterdam (Netherlands) and London (England) this time. In 2010 and 2011, the group also held clinics in Belgium, the Czech Republic and Italy.

(January 5)

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