Pittsburgh Pirates Release Rick VandenHurk


September 18, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Rick VandenHurk (35) pitches against the Milwaukee Brewers during the eighth inning at PNC Park. The Milwaukee Brewers won 6-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates have released one of their most successful Triple-A pitchers from the 2012 season.  27-year old Rick VandenHurk was cut today after pitching well last season for the Indianapolis Indians.  The right-hander put up 8.2 strikeouts per nine along with two-and-a-half walks.

VandenHurk will be heading across the ocean to play baseball next season.  Good luck to VandenHurk in his pursuit to become Ryan Vogelsong.

Despite pitching so damn well for the Tribe, it wasn’t the same when he came up to the bigs.   The Netherlands native, threw 2.2 innings in the black and yellow, gave up five hits and four earned runs.  Yeh, it was sorta bad.

Greatest Worst Moment as a Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher for VandenHurk?    He took the loss in one of the most frustrating games of the 2012 season for us–but at least our toes aren’t black and blue any longer.


The Pittsburgh Pirates offense started well against Mat Latos, but damn did it fade away late. Latos pitched six innings and gave up three runs, five hits, and four walks. After putting up three against Latos, the Bucs wouldn’t score again despite numerous opportunities. The Reds won 4-3 with a walkoff infield single by Ryan Ludwick in the fourteenth inning.

Andrew McCutchen hit his 26th bomb of the season in the fourth inning. Later with the bases drunk, Rod Barajas hit a bloop bleeder that went off the glove of Joey Votto and allowed Pedro Alvarez to score.

Wandy Rodriguez not only pitched brilliantly, but he helped himself at the plate. He hit a ball off the glove of Todd Frazier which allowed Jose Tabata to score. The Bucs were up 3-0. In ten innings, the Bucs couldn’t add on to their lead. Wandy hadn’t allowed a Reds player to reach base at that point of the game.

That changed in the bottom of the fourth when Chris Heisey crushed a bomb to left center off Wandy.

With the score still 3-1 in favor of the Pirates, Joey Votto had a lead off single to right field. Todd Frazier reached on an infield single. Clint Hurdle went to the mound and removed the left-hander.

Jared Hughes gave up a double to Dioner Navarro which tied the score at three. Many questioned the move, but Hughes had surrendered two of his twenty-nine inherited runners to score before Navarro’s double.

"“I left a sinker up,” said Hughes in the postgame."

The Bucs had a shot in the tenth when Ardolis Chapman walked Andrew McCutchen in the first matchup since the beanball. Garrett Jones walked next, but Alvarez whiffed, Jose Tabata lined out, and after Chapman walked Gaby Sanchez, he was lifted by Reds skipper Dusty Baker.

Mike McKenry grounded out off Sam LeCure and the Bucs went on to the bottom of the tenth.

The Reds kept piling up groundball hits, like they have been doing at a Major League leading pace when Ryan Hanigan led off the tenth with a knock past Chase d’Arnaud.

Chris Resop worked hard to shut down the rally. After Brandon Phillips sacrificed pinch-runner Drew Stubbs to second, Resop walked both Heisey and Votto (after Ray Searage came to the mound for a visit) which loaded up the bags.

Resop got Ryan Ludwick to ground into a force out. Jay Bruce struckout. Resop fistpumped.

The Pirates kept putting up zeros on offense, but the Reds nearly won it in the eleventh when Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan gave up a leadoff walk to Todd Frazier. The Reds sacrificed him to second. The Hammer threw a wild pitch which after a walk to Henry Rodriguez put runners on the corner.

Hanranator struck out Devin Mesoraco and then Jose Tabata flashed the leather on a Brandon Phillips liner to halt any damage.

The Pirates loaded up the bases in the fourteenth with NOBODY out. Brock Holt had a leadoff double, Eric Fryer walked, Andrew McCutchen hit a swinging bunt to set the stage. Nevermind.

The Bucs wouldn’t score. Almost 90 percent of the time when there are no outs and the bases loaded, a team scores.

Hurdle went to his bullpen and called upon Rick VanDenHurk. But thanks to some poor pitches, and some bad luck, he took the loss. We kicked things tonight, our toes hurt.