Xander Bogaerts is taking a break from Boston Red Sox spring training, but don’t worry — he’s still seeing plenty of action.
The Red Sox shortstop suited up for the Netherlands on Monday in their 2017 World Baseball Classic opener, playing third base and batting third in the Dutch lineup. Bogaerts didn’t wait long to make his impact: In his first at-bat, the Aruba native smacked a hard grounder down the first base line and slid head-first into third base for a triple.
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It was Bogaerts’ only hit of the day — he finished 1-for-4 with one runner stranded — but the Netherlands cruised to a 5-0 win over Korea.
Monday’s game also marked Bogaerts’ debut at third base, as the Los Angeles Angels’ Andrelton Simmons got the start at shortstop. Bogaerts hasn’t played third since 2014 but was willing to make the switch in a stacked Dutch infield that also includes Jonathan Schoop and Didi Gregorious.
He held down the hot corner pretty well, making a nice stab on a grounder in the sixth to start a double play.
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Bogaerts and the Netherlands will be back in action Wednesday morning against Chinese Taipei before a Wednesday night showdown with upstart Israel, which has become the early surprise of the tournament after winning its first two games.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images