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Updated: April 18, 2014
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Rudy Van Heydoorn to make debut in Italy
COLLECCHIO (Italy) - Catcher Rudy Van Heydoorn will make his debut in Italian baseball on Saturday after arriving last Tuesday on Malpensa Airport in Milan. Initially, Van Heydoorn was to play for UVV in the Dutch big league this season, but instead, he has agreed to play for Collecchio in the Italian Serie A, which is the second highest league.

...Rudy Van Heydoorn will play in Italy this season...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Collecchio was looking for a second catcher and also was interested in Venezuelan Jairo Marquez, who last season played in the Italian Baseball League (which is the highest division). But as Van Heydoorn also can play at third and first base, the club opted for the Dutch catcher.

Van Heydoorn, who was born in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic (he turned 25 on Thursday), played five seasons professionally in the organization of the Seattle Mariners. He made his professional debut in 2007 playing in the Dominican Republic in the Rookie League-team of the Mariners. He also played in Rookie League in the next three seasons, but then promoted to Single-A in 2011, playing in both Short Season and Advanced.

Van Heydoorn was released after the 2011 season and then made his debut in the Dutch big league in 2012, playing for ADO Lakers in The Hague. There, he played in 38 games and batted .271 with five homeruns and 26 runs batted in. Last season, Van Heydoorn played for DOOR Neptunus, with whom he won the Dutch Championship-title. In 2013, he appeared in 34 games and batted .252 with three homeruns and 21 runs batted in.

Because of his Dutch background, Van Heydoorn was eligible to play in the Netherlands National Baseball Team. He did so in 2012 during the Haarlem Baseball Week and the European Championship. Last season, he played for the Dutch squad during the World Port Tournament. Van Heydoorn played in 17 official international games for the Orange.

In the last few days, the administrative paperwork has been done and Van Heydoorn underwent a medical check. That makes him available to play for Collecchio in the double-header on Saturday at home against Novara.

Collecchio opened its season on April 5 with a 4-2 loss vs. Crocetta, but then won Game 2 of the double-header, 1-0. Last week, Collecchio won twice vs. Milano United, 4-2 and 1-0.

One of the pitchers on the roster of Collecchio is Romanian Mihai Burlea, who in 2008 pitched in the Dutch big league for RCH-Pingu´ns. Burlea was the winning pitcher for Collecchio in both Games 2 of the double-headers played.

The Manager of Collecchio is Paolo Ceccaroli, who himself had a long and successful career as pitcher in the highest Italian league, as well as the Italian National Team.

(April 18)

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