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Updated: December 5, 2014
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Copyright © 1997-2014
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2014 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photo by Henk Seppen)

Rick van den Hurk to play in Japan in 2015
FUKUOKA (Japan) - Dutch professional pitcher Rick van den Hurk almost surely will play in Japan next season. On Friday (December 5), Japanese media reported that Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks could be close to finalizing a two-year deal worth an estimated 400 million yen with the Dutch hurler. It is expected that an announcement will be made coming week. It was reported that other teams also had shown interest in Van den Hurk, but that he had chosen for the Hawks.

...Rick van den Hurk...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
When Van den Hurk's transfer to Japan is confirmed, he will leave one champion to play for another champion. Last year and this season, the 29-year old Van den Hurk won the Korean championship with Samsung Lions in the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO). Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks captured the Japanese championship-title in October. In the Japan Series, the Hawks defeated the Hanshin Tigers 4-1 in the best-of-seven final of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).

This season, the righthander won 13 games, while pitching for Samsung Lions and won awards for the best Earned Run Average and Most Strikeouts. Van den Hurk was 13-4 and pitched in 25 games (all starts). In 152 2/3 inning, he struckout 180 batters and finished the season with a 3.18 ERA. Van den Hurk walked 45 batters and gave up 125 basehits, including 15 homeruns.

Last year, his first season in South Korea, Van den Hurk was 7-9 with 137 strikeouts in 143 2/3 innings. He then appeared in 24 games and ended with a 3.95 ERA and was re-signed for this season.

Early January 2013, Van den Hurk signed an one-year contract with Samsung Lions after he had been released by the Pittsburgh Pirates a few days earlier.

Rick van den Hurk signed his first professional contract on November 14, 2002 with the Florida Marlins. With that team, he made his Major League-debut on April 10, 2007. He went on to pitch in 18 games in his first big league-season and was 4-6 with 82 strikeouts. In 2008, he appeared in only four games and added 11 games during the 2009 season. Van den Hurk began the 2010 again with the Marlins, pitched in two games, but then was traded to the Baltimore Orioles, where he pitched in relief in seven games.

In 2011, the Dutch hurler played in Triple-A almost the entire season. He then was called up to the Major League-squad of the Orioles in September, pitching in four games.

In February 2012, Van den Hurk was released by Baltimore. That was the beginning of a period in which he changed teams frequently. Van den Hurk signed with the Toronto Blue Jays, with whom he then pitched in four games during Spring Training. He was then placed on waivers and was signed by the Cleveland Indians, who designated him for assignment eight days later after two appearances. The Indians assigned him to Triple-A, but Van den Hurk opted for Free Agency and he then signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates. In the 2012 season, he mostly again pitched in Triple-A, then was recalled to the Pittsburgh-team in September and threw in four games for the Pirates.

In total, Van den Hurk threw in 50 Major League-games from 2007-2012.

Since 2010, Van den Hurk is the organisor of the annual European Big League Tour. He then invites Major League-players to come to the Netherlands to conduct youth clinics. Besides the Netherlands, these players also travelled to Belgium, the Czech Republic, Italy and England. This year, there was no Tour, due to Van den Hurk's commitments with Samsung Lions in Korea.

(December 5)

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