Bogaerts: WBC experience was ‘phenomenal’

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Xander Bogaerts was back at Red Sox this camp this morning after being gone nearly a month for the WBC. He helped the Netherlands reach the semifinals, a sold achievement given the competition and their young roster.

“It was a phenomenal time,” Bogaerts said. “I’m so glad I did it. The people back home were so excited with how we did.”

Bogaerts had quite a journey. He left the Red Sox on Feb. 23 and joined the team in Taiwan for the first round. After the Dutch advanced, they trained in Arizona for a few days, then traveled to San Francisco for the semifinals. Now he’s back in Red Sox camp.

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Bogaerts speaks four languages — English, Dutch, Spanish and Papiamento — but that didn’t help him much in Taiwan.

“You had to use hand signals for everything,” he said. “But it was interesting being over there and we played well.”

Bogaerts said the best part of the experience was getting to know players like Andrelton Simmons of the Braves and one of his idols growing up, Andruw Jones.

“That was amazing, getting to talk to Andruw. We got to be close friends,” Bogaerts said. “He was the player we all watched and wanted to be like coming up.”

Bogaert played well, too. Counting two exhibition games, he was 9 of 25 with three doubles and three RBIs over nine games. He also played third base for the first time in his career.

“That was tough because it’s so different than shortstop,” Bogaerts said. “I had to get used to the ball coming so fast. But I made the adjustment.”

The Sox have said that Bogaerts will remain at shortstop, although he could get some time at third base as a way to get some at-bats in games. He will play for Pawtucket today to get some extra at-bats.

John Farrell said Tuesday that Bogaerts would spend some time in major league camp before going down to prepare for his season in the minors.

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“The WBC was a good experience. I learned a lot,” Bogaerts said. “Now I want to get some at-bats hopefully and get ready for the season. I’m glad I’m back.”

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