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Ex-S. Korean league ace joins Netherlands for World Baseball Classic

All Headlines 10:14 January 05, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 5 (Yonhap) -- Former South Korean league ace Rick van den Hurk will pitch for the Netherlands at this year's World Baseball Classic (WBC), the Dutch baseball governing body said Thursday.

The Royal Netherlands Baseball and Softball Federation (KNBSB) said the 31-year-old right-hander will represent the country at the international tournament starting in March.

The Netherlands is paired with South Korea in Pool A in the first round, which will be played at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, and given van den Hurk's knowledge of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) hitters and his success here, he may get the starting nod against South Korea on March 7.

Van den Hurk pitched for the Samsung Lions in 2013 and 2014, and won championships in both seasons. He was a pedestrian 7-9 with a 3.95 ERA in 24 appearances in 2013 but improved to 13-4 in 2014 while leading the KBO with a 3.18 ERA and 180 strikeouts. He parlayed that successful season into a deal with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in Japan.

Playing defense behind van den Hurk will be proven big league stars, such as Xander Bogaerts of the Boston Red Sox, Andrelton Simmons of the Los Angeles Angels and Jonathan Schoop of the Baltimore Orioles.

Israel and Chinese Taipei are two other nations in Pool A.

In this file photo taken on Nov. 10, 2014, Rick van den Hurk, then pitching for the Samsung Lions, reacts after a flyout against the Nexen Heroes during Game 5 of the Korean Series at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul. Van den Hurk, a Dutchman, will represent the Netherlands at the 2017 World Baseball Classic. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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