After his last start was pushed back due to concerns about his progress/condition, Rick van den Hurk finally pitched a Ni-Gun game for the Softbank Hawks again. Last Saturday he pitched three innings against the Ni-Gun team of the Yomiuri Giants. He struck out three and walked one. His pitches topped 94 mph. Rick gave up two runs on three hits.
Rick is scheduled to pitch around five innings on five days of rest on September 9 vs the Ni-Gun team of the Orix Buffaloes.
His team mate Daisuke Matsuzaka also pitched in the same Ni-Gun game. He took over in the fourth inning as he gave up a run on two hits. That one run was a homerun in the sixth inning. Dice-K lasted five innings and retired the side in order in the fourth, seventh, and eighth innings.Matsuzaka is scheduled to throw ninety pitches on September 10 against the Ni-Gun team of the Orix Buffaloes.
Rick van den Hurk has been sidelined due to several ailments and fatigue since June. The Softbank Hawks had him examined in several hospitals throughout the country. Depending on his progress, he may be ready in time to pitch in the last part of the season and the play offs.
With Rick having signed a three year contract extension recently, the Hawks are certainly not pushing him to return to the NPB.