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Updated: October 14, 2019
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(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Henk Seppen)

Hensley Meulens returns as Orange-Manager; Roster announced

NIEUWEGEIN (Neth.) - Hensley Meulens returns as Manager of the Netherlands Baseball Team during the upcoming second edition of the Premier12, which opens on November 2.

...Hensley Meulens and Bert Blyleven are back with...
...the Orange Team as Manager and Pitching Coach...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Meulens last led the Netherlands Kingdom Team during the 2017 World Baseball Classic. During that event, the Orange Team reached the Semi-Final, as it did four years earlier when Meulens also was the Manager. In 2015, Meulens also was the Orange Manager during the first Premier12 with the team finishing in eighth position.

Since 2010, Meulens is a member of the coaching-staff of the Major League-team of the San Francisco Giants. He was the team's Hitting Coach in 2010-2017, then was named Bench Coach for the 2018 season in the staff of Manager Bruce Bochy. After completion of this season, Bochy retired as Manager. Meulens is listed as one of the candidates to succeed him. With the Giants, Meulens won the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

Also returning in the coaching-staff are former Major Leaguers Andruw Jones and Bert Blyleven.

Andruw Jones played seventeen seasons as outfielder in the Major League, including twelve with Atlanta Braves, but he never won the World Series. Jones also played two seasons for Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in the Japanese professional league, winning the Japan Series in 2013. Jones played his last games as an active player during the Premier12 in 2015. He then was one of the Orange-coaches during the 2016 European Championship in Hoofddorp (Netherlands) and the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Bert Blyleven pitched 22 seasons in the Major League, including eleven with Minnesota Twins. Blyleven won the World Series in 1979 with Pittsburgh Pirates and in 1987 with Minnesota Twins. In 2011, Blyleven was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Blyleven also was the Orange Pitching Coach during the World Baseball Classic in 2013 and 2017.

The Netherlands Team opens the Premier12 in Pool A, playing its games in Zapopan, near Guadalajara (Mexico), in the Opening Round. The Orange Team opens on November 2 against the USA. In that game, Meulens will manage against another World Series-winner, as Team USA is led by Joe Girardi. As player of the New York Yankees, Girardi won the World Series in 1996, 1998 and 1999. He then was the Manager of the team in 2009 when it also won the title. In Game 1 of the 1996 World Series, Andruw Jones hit two homeruns for Atlanta Braves against New York.

On November 3, the Netherlands Team meets the Dominican Republic, then faces host Mexico on November 5.

In the same period, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Puerto Rico and Venezuela will play in Pool B in Taichung and Taoyuan (Taiwan). In Pool C, Australia, Canada, Cuba and South Korea play in Seoul (South Korea). The two best teams in each pool advance to the Super Round.

Starting on November 11, the Super Round opens in Chiba City and Tokyo (Japan). The Finals will be played on November 17 in the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo.

Besides Meulens and Girardi, there are more notable Managers.

Puerto Rico is led by Juan Gonzalez, who was the American League MVP twice (1996, 1998) and played in 17 Major League-seasons, including 13 with Texas Rangers.

Atsunori Inaba is the Manager of Japan. He was elected to eight Japan All Star Games and won the MVP Award in the 2006 Japan Series.

For Chinese Taipei, I-Chung Hong is the Manager. He is the winningest Manager in the history of the professional league in Taiwan.

Kyung-moon Kim is the Manager of South Korea. In 2008, he led South Korea to the Gold Medal during the Olympic Games in Beijing (China).

Dave Nilsson is back as Manager of Australia, with whom he won the Olympic Silver Medal in 2004 in Athens (Greece). And former Major League-catcher Ernie Whitt is back as Manager of Canada. He also led the team during the 2004 Olympics.

...Jim Ploeger pitching during this years Holland Series...
...for Dutch Champion L&D Amsterdam Pirates...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Four players, who last month captured the title with the Orange Team at the European Championship in Germany, are not on the roster for the Premier12. They are pitchers Tom de Blok and Donny Breek, catcher Dashenko Ricardo and infielder John Polonius. They also participated in the following Africa/Europe Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Italy. Pitcher Shuruendy Valeriono was added to the Orange-roster for that event, replacing injured outfielder Randolph Oduber. Both are also no part of the Premier12-roster. In Italy, the Netherlands failed to obtain a ticket for next years Olympic Games in Tokyo (Japan). Israel finished in first place to qualify. The Netherlands ended up in second place and therefore gets the opportunity to participate in next years Global Olympic Qualifier in Taiwan. During the event, the sixth and final team for the Olympic Games will be determined. During the European Championship and Olympic Qualifier, Evert-Jan 't Hoen was the Manager of the Netherlands. During the Premier12, 't Hoen will be a member of the coaching-staff as Bench Coach.

Pitcher Jim Ploeger and outfielder Gilmer Lampe return to the Orange Team. For the European Championship and the Olympic Qualifier, both were left off the roster. Last month, the two captured the Dutch Championship-title with L&D Amsterdam Pirates, which has the most players on the Premier12-roster. The others are pitchers Rob Cordemans and Tom Stuifbergen and infielder Sharlon Schoop. Outfielder Kalian Sams also represents Amsterdam Pirates, as he last played for the team during the Holland Series. Earlier this season, Sams played in two professional Independent Leagues.

Four players on the roster play for Curašao Neptunus, which took a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven Holland Series against Amsterdam Pirates, but then lost the next four games and was dethroned as Dutch Champion. The four Neptunus-players are pitchers Kevin Kelly, Diegomar Markwell and Orlando Yntema and infielder Dwayne Kemp.

There are two other players on the roster who this season played in the Dutch big league, being pitchers Lars Huijer (Hoofddorp Pioniers) and Juan Carlos Sulbaran (DSS).

Seventeen players on the roster played professionely this season. Amongst them are pitchers Orsen Josephina and Franklin Van Gurp and infielder Ray-Patrick Didder. These three players will make their debut in the National Team.

24-year old righthanded pitcher Orsen Josephina (who was born in Florida) plays professionally since July of this year. He appeared in 12 games (all in relief) of GCL Pirates, the Rookie League-team of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Josephina was 3-1 with one save and a 3.00 ERA. He struckout 20 batters in 15 innings, walked only two and gave up eleven basehits.

...Jair Jurrjens pitching during the 2017 World Baseball Classic...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
23-year old righthanded pitcher Franklin Van Gurp, who was born in Philipsburg (Saint Martin), plays professionally since 2017. He initially played in the organization of the San Francisco Giants, but in June of this year, he was traded to the San Diego Padres. This year, Van Gurp played for four different teams in Single-A and Double-A. He pitched in two Double-A games for the Giants. Overall, he pitched in 41 games (all in relief) and was 3-5 with five saves and a 4.66 ERA. Van Gurp pitched 67 2/3 inning, striking out 84 batters and walking 31.

25-year old Aruban-born short stop Ray-Patrick Didder plays professionally since 2013 in the organization of the Atlanta Braves. This year, Didder played for Mississippi Braves in Double-A. In 114 games, Didder batted .203 (69-for-340) with 13 doubles, one triple and four homeruns. He scored 45 runs, batted in 23 and stole 28 bases. In the past few seasons, Didder played in some games of the Major League-team of the Atlanta Braves during Spring Training.

Returning on the roster are pitcher Jair Jurrjens, catcher Chadwick Tromp, infielder Juremi Profar and infielder Gianfranco Wawoe. Jurrjens last pitched for the team during the 2017 World Baseball Classic and also was on the roster during the first Premier12 in 2015. Tromp and Wawoe were part of the preliminary roster of the Netherlands during preparations for the 2017 Classic. Tromp was later to the roster for the Semi-Final, but didn't play. In 2016, Tromp made his Orange-debut during the European Championhip in the Netherlands. Wawoe also was with the team during the first Premier12 in 2015. Profar was part of the Orange Team during the 2-game Samurai Japan Warm-Up Games in Tokyo in 2016.

This season, Tromp played in 26 games in Triple-A and 16 in Rookie League for Cincinnati Reds. He batted .286 with seven homeruns and 21 runs batted in. Tromp missed part of the season due to an injury.

Profar, the younger brother of Jurickson Profar (Oakland A's), played in 90 Double-A games and 23 at the Triple-A level for Texas Rangers. He batted .265 with 26 doubles and ten homeruns, scored 56 runs and batted in 60.

Wawoe played in an Independent League this year. Jurrjens became a Free Agent after the 2018 season when he also played in an Independent League.

...Catcher Chadwick Tromp with Pitching Coach Bert Blyleven...
...during the 2017 World Baseball Classic...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
The roster looks as follows:

PItchers (13):
Mike Bolsenbroek (Heidenheim Heidek÷pfe, Germany), Rob Cordemans, Jim Ploeger, Tom Stuifbergen (all L&D Amsterdam Pirates), Lars Huijer (Hoofddorp Pioniers), Orsen Josephina (Pittsburgh Pirates-org., USA), Jair Jurrjens (Free Agent), Kevin Kelly, Diegomar Markwell, Orlando Yntema (all Curašao Neptunus), Shairon Martis (Lincoln Saltdogs, Independent League, USA), Juan Carlos Sulbaran (DSS) and Franklin Van Gurp (San Diego Padres-org., USA).

Catchers (3):
Hendrik Clementina, Chadwick Tromp (both Cincinnati Reds-org., USA) and Sicnarf Loopstok (Cleveland Indians-org., USA).

Infielders (8):
Calten Daal (Cincinnati Reds-org., USA), Yurendell De Caster (Wild Cats, Curašao), Ray-Patrick Didder (Atlanta Braves-org., USA), Dwayne Kemp (Curašao Neptunus), Juremi Profar (Texas Rangers-org., USA), Sharlon Schoop (L&D Amsterdam Pirates), Curt Smith (Lincoln Saltdogs, Independent League, USA) and Gianfranco Wawoe (Southern Illinois Miners, Independent League, USA).

Outfielders (4):
Roger Bernadina (Algodoneros de Uniˇn Laguna, Mexico), Gilmer Lampe, Kalian Sams (both L&D Amsterdam Pirates) and Ademar Rifaela (Baltimore Orioles-org., USA).

Coaching Staff:
Hensley Meulens (Manager), Sharnol Adriana (Bench Coach), Evert-Jan 't Hoen (Bench Coach), Andruw Jones (Bench Coach), Wim Martinus (1B Coach), Ben Thijssen (3B Coach), Bert Blyleven (Pitching Coach) and Sidney de Jong (Hitting Coach). The exact postions of some of the coaches have yet to be determined.

Supporting Staff:
Kevin Sprengers (Physical Therapist), Calvin Maduro (Scout), Niels van Weert (Team Manager), Seb Visser (Equipment Manager/Media Officer) and Tjerk Smeets (Head of Delegation).

(October 14)

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