A few days ago, pitcher Rick van den Hurk of the Softbank Hawks pitched another game for the Ni-gun (minor league) team of the Hawks. The 34-year old Dutchman lasted five innings in a game vs the farm team of the Hanshin Tigers.
In a Western League matchup, Rick gave up two runs and struck out five. But most importantly, he threw 20 more pitches than in his previous outings. Vs the Tigers, he threw 65. Van den Hurk stated, “I am glad that I was able to increase the number of pitches over the last time (45) and my body is fine.”
Since the start of the NPB spring training, Rick, whose nickname appears to be Scooter, is bothered by an ailing back which kept him from pitching. His rehab is taking rather long as he threw a bullpen session on April 10. So more than a month has gone by while Van den Hurk still isn’t ready for the NPB yet. Though most important is that he will get healthy again.
With a 10-7 record and a 4.30 ERA, Rick’s 2018 season was perhaps a bit disappointing as he kept his ERA below 4.00 in the previous years. Still, Rick earned the win in the NPB’s championship game as he pitched six scoreless innings with ten strikeouts.