Red Sox: Xander Bogaerts, Netherlands eliminated from World Baseball Classic
By Sean Penney
Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts will return to the team after the Netherlands was eliminated from the World Baseball Classic.
While the Boston Red Sox will be thrilled to get their All-Star shortstop back in camp, Xander Bogaerts is returning to the team a bit earlier than he had hoped.
Bogaerts has been away this spring since joining the Netherlands team for the World Baseball Classic. The tournament took him all over the map, from Seoul to Tokyo, only to end in Los Angeles when the Dutch were eliminated by Puerto Rico in a heartbreaking extra-innings affair.
With the score tied in the 11th inning, Eddie Rosario hit a sac fly to center field that scored Carlos Correa for the walk-off win.
Puerto Rico will advance to the tournament finals to face the winner of Tuesday night’s game between the United State and Japan, while the Netherlands team will head home.
As for Bogaerts, he finished the tournament with an uninspiring 5-for-22 (.227) performance at the plate. However, he did have his share of highlights, including a triple in his first at-bat of the tournament.
He also scored five runs in the seven games he played, one of which tied the game in the ninth inning in a matchup with Japan.
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Bogaerts will return in time to appear in at least a few of Boston’s dozen remaining spring training games. He moved over to third base while playing for a Netherlands team loaded with shortstops, so it will be good for him to get some game action at his natural position before the season starts.
A position switch ended with disastrous results when the Red Sox attempted to move Bogaerts to the hot corner in 2014, but his time in that role during the WBC wasn’t long enough to throw him off too much and he’ll have sufficient time to get back into his regular routine.
This year marked the second time that Bogaerts has played in the WBC. While his team fell short of winning the tournament again this year, his participation with the Netherlands team in 2013 preceded a championship season for the Red Sox.
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Bogaerts playing in the WBC won’t actually have any effect on the outcome of Boston’s season, but if the Red Sox do go on to win the World Series this year you can bank on Bogaerts playing a significant role in that accomplishment.