On Wednesday, the Indians claimed pitcher Rick VandenHurk off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. It may seem like a rather insignificant move (Vanderhurk is expected to compete for one of the last spots in the bullpen), but it has some interesting implications.
VandenHurk, who will apparently now go by his given name of Henricus, is one of just three pitchers in Major League history who were born in the Netherlands and could become the second to pitch for the Tribe.
The first Dutch pitcher in major league history was Bert Blyleven who, unlike VandenHurk, was actually raised in the United States. However, Blyleven – who pitched for the Tribe from 1981-85 – did stay connected to his Dutch roots and served as Vandenhurk’s pitching coach for the Netherlands squad during the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
If VandenHurk does make the team (probably a long shot considering his 5.97 career ERA), the Tribe will become the first team to have employed two Dutch pitchers.