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Dutch talents sign with U.S. major league teams

Power-hitting first baseman Halman to Seattle


Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

SEATTLE, Washington - Dutch teenager Gregory Halman has signed a six-year contract with the Seattle Mariners. The 16-year old student will join the Mariners organization in March 2005, to be assigned to the one of the clubís minor league teams.

A number of other MLB-teams had been after Halman, who is receiving a signing bonus of around $250,000. Earlier this year, the MLB arbitrated in dissolving a contract signed on behalf of Halman last year, with the Minnesota Twins. Halman succesfully argued that his mother had been pressured to sign a blank contract and that clauses of the contract later on filled in by the Twins had been different than promised verbally.

Halman, first baseman for the Haarlem team DPA Kinheim, currently leads the Dutch league in nearly all hitting statistics, including homeruns and runs batted in (RBIís). Because of his inexperience, he also is high on the list of strikeouts, and because of his age he is not part of the Dutch national team that will participate in the Olympics this summer.

Dutch in Florida

A number of young Dutchmen play as rookies for the Gulf Coast Marlins of the Florida ball club organization: catcher Jeffrey de Vrieze and pitcher Kenny Berkenbosch, who currently is 1-0 with an earned run average (ERA) of 1.80. Rick van den Hurk, an Eind-hoven 19-year old who also was contracted by the Marlins, this season was called up from the Gulf Coast team to join Jupiter Hammerheads of the A League, where he is a pitcher. In seven games, and a 1-1 record, he has an ERA of 1.39 with 26 strikeouts.

Ferenc Jongejan is a pitcher for the Daytona Cubs of the A League. He has three years professional baseball experience. Three other Dutch nationals play for the Montreal Expos organization. Vince Rooi and Danny Romblay were send back to the A League team, the Brevard County Manatees, after they started both with the AA team in Harrisburg. Rogearvin Ber-nadina is with the Savannah Sand Gnats, another Expo A affiliate. Alexander Smit (17) is a member of the Twins organization and plays for the Elizabethon Twins of the Rookie League.