It appears that Rick van den Hurk is to stay in Japan for the 2021 season. According to a Japanese news website, the Dutch hurler is about to be signed by the Yakult Swallows.
After forty-three victories for the SoftBank Hawks, Rick appears not to be re-signed by the team from Fukuoka. But luckily the other team from Tokyo, the Yakult Swallows is making moves to sign the thirty-five year old Dutchman.
According to Sanspo.com, the deal is expected to be made in the very near future. The Yakult Swallows are in desperate need of pitching arms. The Swallows finished dead last in the Central League twenty-five games behind league champions Yomiuri Giants. Against none of its Central League opponents, the Swallows had a winning record. They did the best against the Yokohama Dena BayStars with an 11-12 record.
Only two pitchers on the Swallows’ NPB roster managed to keep their ERA below 4.00: Keji Takahashi (3.94) and Naruki Terashima (2.48). So it is clear that the ugly duckling of Japanese baseball needs to add some pitchers.
Last season Rick van den Hurk didn’t play much due to an injury. But in the previous five years, the tall Dutchy earned forty-three wins. He set an NPB record by winning fourteen straight starts since his very first game with the SoftBank Hawks in 2015.
As soon as Rick signed a contract with the Yakult Swallows, you will read it here.