Today the KNBSB (Royal Dutch Baseball and Softball Federation) came with a press release that announced that pitcher Rick van den Hurk will participate in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. This is pretty much godsend for manager Hensley Meulens.
With Van den Hurk, manager Meulens will get a pitcher with a lot of international experience. He pitched in parts of six MLB seasons for the (then) Florida Marlins, the Baltimore Orioles and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In his last four seasons, Van den Hurk pitched in the best leagues of Asia, the KBO (with the Samsung Lions) and the NPB (with the Softbank Hawks). In three of the four seasons he helped his team to win the national championship, twice witht he Samsung Lions and once with the Softbank Hawks.
In an interview with the Dutch baseball website Honkbalsite.com, he made clear that he is looking forward to participate in the WBC. He is hoping that team Kingdom of the Netherlands will play a good tournament to give the game of baseball in the Netherlands the much needed exposure.
The pitching may still be the achilles heel for the Dutch team, but with Van den Hurk the chances to advance to the next round will improve for sure.
With his latest team, the Softbank Hawks, Van den Hurk pitched two great seasons. He broke the record for rookie pitchers by winning fourteen straight games before being credited with his first loss. Over two seasons with the Hawks, Van den Hurk posted a 15-1 record with a 2.89 ERA.
The big advantage for the Dutch team is that Rick knows several Korean batters from his time with the Samsung Lions. During the two seasons with the Samsung Lions, Van den Hurk posted a 20-13 record with an ERA of 3.95 in 2013 and 3.18 in 2014.
This report is brought to you by Score66 Baseball.