BOSTON (CBS) — After an abbreviated Spring Training, Xander Bogaerts is heading overseas.
The Red Sox shortstop is heading to South Korea, ready to once again represent the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.
Bogaerts finished his spring with Boston going 3-for-6 at the dish over two games, clubbing a pair of singles against the St. Louis Cardinals in his final Grapefruit League action on Monday. He said getting his timing down quickly was his biggest focus this spring, because he’s now off to play in some very meaningful baseball games.
“It’s going to be fun,” Bogaerts told reporters on Monday. “The travel is probably the only bad part, but being there and playing baseball is something you can’t pass up.”
While the Aruba native is eager to play in the WBC again, he’s not looking forward to the 15 hour flight to Seoul from Atlanta, or the flight back when the Classic concludes. He said it took him a lot of time to return to normal following the 2013 WBC in Japan, and he consulted with doctors for tips on how to avoid those disruptions this time around.
“I remember when I got back [in 2013] I was extremely tired and I couldn’t see the ball at all. I was pretty terrible,” he recalled. “I’ve been talking to the doctors here and they’ve been trying to put a plan for me to go over there to not be as tired as possible, or to try to adjust to that time zone quick.”
Bogaerts will be playing third base for the Netherlands, whose first game is on March 7. He said there is no doubt in his mind that he’ll be ready when the Red Sox kick off their 2017 season on April 3 at Fenway Park.
“I’m going to play baseball; I’m not going on vacation,” he said of his WBC trip. “I’ll be in baseball mode, playing in some competitive games.”