While the MLB and MiLB seasons in the USA still have to start, the season has started in several Asian countries. In Japan, two Dutchies will see action this year and one will see action in Korea.
Two Dutchies that will play in Japan in 2017 are Rick van den Hurk and Wladimir Balentien. During the 2016 season, Van den Hurk signed a three-year extension with the Softbank Hawks from Fukuoka. The other Dutchie is Wladimir Balentien, who signed a one-year deal with the Yakult Swallows, the other team from Tokyo.
Van den Hurk did not play today in the season opener. The honor of being opening day starter for the Hawks went to Tsuyoshi Wada. Wada pitched eight innings for the win. He allowed five hits, struck out seven and walked one as his team beat the Chiba Lotte Marines 3-1.
Wladimir Balentien made his presence felt for the Yakult Swallows vs the Yokohama Baystars. The Swallows beat the Baystars 9-2 and outhit them 15-5.
Wladimir Balentien had four plate appearances and collected two hits in three at-bats. In the second inning, Wladimir got on base thanks to an error by third baseman Audy Ciriaco. In the fourth inning he singled to right field and in the fifth inning he hit to right field as well, but this time for a double that drove in a run. In the seventh frame, Wladimir drew a walk.
One more Dutchie in Asian service is Roger Bernadina, who is playing in the KBO with the Kia Tigers. Bernadina is teammates with former Yankees pitcher Hector Noesi.
The Tigers took on Rick van den Hurk’s former team, the Samsung Lions. Noesi kept the Lions in check rather well as he gave up six hits of which one was a solo home run that scored the only run for the Lions. Noesi pitched seven frames, struck out six and did not issue a walk.
Roger Bernadina batted leadoff and managed to get one hit out of five at bats. The Tigers beat the Lions 7-2.