clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Rick VandenHurk starts tonight

Rick VandenHurk will start tonight for team Netherlands.

On Saturday, The Netherlands used a three-run first inning, and its bullpen came up big in a 3-2 victory over the Dominican Republic in a Pool D upset at the World Baseball Classic.

Now, the biggest Cinderella story in the WBC's short history will be in the hands of Marlins right-hander Rick VandenHurk against another powerhouse -- Puerto Rico -- on Monday.

---

VandenHurk is aware that he carries his nation's hopes of becoming a respected force in the sport on his shoulders.

''It's a whole different thing,'' he said. ``We have to approach it as a team. Starting pitching sets the tone, but we need help from everyone.''

VandenHurk has made strides since last summer. He has improved his curveball and breaking ball with the help of Bert Blyleven, a former All-Star right-hander and the Netherlands' pitching coach.

''He has been great; he is the perfect coach for me,'' VandenHurk said of Blyleven. ``We are similar pitchers, so I can use a lot of what he's teaching me.''

Said Blyleven: ``He is willing to learn and has good work habits.

 

If the Netherlands win tonight, they will be guaranteed to move on in the tournament.

Go get 'em Rick!  Just don't hurt yourself.