FORT MYERS, Fla. Xander Bogaerts, a native of Aruba, is looking forward to representing the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.
Its going to be exciting, said the Red Sox highly regarded shortstop prospect. Those guys that that Ive played with growing up, its going to be fun playing with them again.
But with the Netherlands roster stocked with several highly regarded shortstops, including the Rangers' Jurickson Profar and the Braves' Andrelton Simmons, who both made their major league debuts last season, Bogaerts, rated by Baseball America as the Sox top prospect and the No. 58 prospect in all of baseball, will have to move off his usual position to compete for playing time at third base.
No problem, Bogaerts said, sitting in front of his locker in the clubhouse of the teams spring training complex Friday morning.
Just to be able to play and be in the lineup, thats whats important for me. And to be able to play and help the team win, thats important to me.
Since joining the Sox as an amateur free agent in August 2009, Bogaerts has not played anywhere but shortstop. He doesnt even remember the last time he played third base.
No, maybe when I was small in Little League, he said. But, no, not for a while. So itll be different.
Manager John Farrell said earlier in the week that Bogaerts, who is in his first big league camp, will work out at third base before he leaves March 1 to compete in the WBC. Bogaerts hasnt yet begun working out there, but expects to in the next few days.
But there has been speculation that Bogaerts may eventually have to move off his natural position. He is listed as 6-feet-3, 175 pounds. At just 20 years old, on Oct. 1, there is a good likelihood that he will continue to fill out.
All of which has fueled the speculation that he will eventually move to third.
I dont think of it in that way, Bogaerts said. Because I know the Netherlands are full of shortstops. And for me to be able to play its going to be difficult to play at that position. So Im a shortstop right now its just that to be able to play I have to move off my position.
While Bogaerts considers himself a shortstop, he didnt rule out an eventual move.
Shortstop is going to be the position long-term, he said. Im, working hard trying to stay at shortstop. Thats the only position I know playing right now.
But, whatever to help the team win. Wherever they need me to play, Ill be able to contribute at that position.