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Xander Bogaerts off to Taiwan for WBC: ‘I’m excited’

02.23.13 at 5:22 pm ET

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox top prospect Xander Bogaerts said Saturday he was excited and looking forward to leaving for Taiwan to train with the Netherlands for the upcoming world baseball classic. Bogaerts is one of four Red Sox players in the system taking part in the upcoming WBC. Bogearts left late Saturday night for the long trip to Asia.

Bogaerts certainly went off on a high note, singling home a run in the bottom of the ninth Saturday in Boston’s 4-3 loss to the Rays at JetBlue Park and making a nice defensive play in a rundown to end the Tampa Bay seventh inning.

“I’m excited to be part of the team,” said Bogaerts, who grew up in Aruba, a territory of the Netherlands. “I’ll get to meet the guys again. I had a long time without seeing some of them, so it’€™ll be fun to be playing back with them. [I’m looking forward to] just being with all the guys that I grew up playing with or playing against. That’€™ll make it exciting.”

Bogaerts is leaving just as he is getting to know his teammates in his first big league training camp with the Red Sox.

“Yeah, that’s what makes this kind of tough,” said Bogaerts. “This is my first big league spring training and it would be nice if
I could stay around the big league guys but it’€™s also a good experience to go there and play in the World Baseball Classic. So I’€™m excited.”

Red Sox manager John Farrell said he’s more than supportive of players like Bogaerts and Shane Victorino leaving camp for the WBC.

‘€œMarch 3 is the day that we have that Shane and other guys will travel,” Farrell said. “Team Puerto Rico is going to be here. Team Mexico is going to be in Arizona as Team USA. So it’€™s more travel for Xander and those players traveling to Asia.

“We know going in that Xander’€™s going to get regular at-bats at either DH or third base. With [Oscar] Villarreal and [Jose] De La Torre, they’re going to be pitching out of the bullpen, so they’re going to get the right number of innings in advance of the season.

‘€œThe one thing that [Team USA manager] Joe Torre has mentioned to us, he obviously has run spring training many years, he knows those individual players are also getting ready for their season. They’re about competing and trying to win that tournament, but at the same time he’€™s balancing the individual getting ready for their own respective seasons. We can’€™t dictate anything. Those players are going to go and compete for Team USA or any team.

Read More: 2013 spring training, Boston Red Sox, MLB, WBC
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