Like so many other things, Japanese professional baseball is on hold and no one knows when the games will resume and whether they’ll be played in front of fans or in empty stadiums. But that doesn’t mean our hometown heroes, the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks (three-time defending Japan Series champions) are doing nothing. On May 5, Fukuoka Now checked in with two international players on the Hawks, both pitchers, Rick van den Hurk (The Netherlands), and Carter Stewart Jr. (USA).
Watch these videos to see how they are doing.
Rick van den Hurk
Rick van den Hurk (The Netherlands)
Height / Weight: 198cm / 105kg
Born: May 22, 1985
Joined Hawks: 2015
Rick, one of the Hawk’s ace pitchers, began his career in Fukuoka with an NPB record-setting 14 consecutive wins (2015-16.) Before joining the Hawks, Rick played for the Florida Marlins, Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates. In South Korea, he played for the Samsung Lions In the Korean Baseball Organization and international play, and he’s a member of The Netherlands national baseball team.
Carter Stewart Jr.
Carter Stewart Jr. (USA)
Bats / Throws Right / Right
Height / Weight: 198cm / 101kg
Born: November 2, 1999
Joined Hawks: 2019
Carter was considered one of the top prospects for the 2018 Major League Baseball draft and was drafted by the Atlanta Braves with the eighth overall pick. Still, by signing with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks instead of an MLB team, the 20-year-old made history as the first elite American amateur to sign his first pro baseball contract in Japan.