Orioles ready to begin departing for '17 Classic

Orioles ready to begin departing for '17 Classic

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Six Orioles will leave the team within the next week for the World Baseball Classic. One of them, second baseman Jonathan Schoop, departed after Monday's game to prepare to join the team from the Netherlands.

In Sunday's spring win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, Classic-bound players had six of the Orioles' 10 hits. Adam Jones had a long home run and a double, Welington Castillo had two hits, Manny Machado hit a homer, and Schoop had a hit.

"Those guys are pushing earlier than normal, and you can tell they've all got a lot of pride in the teams and countries they're going to be playing for and they really want to present themselves well, and I think we saw a little byproduct of that today," manager Buck Showalter said Sunday.

Castillo and Machado will leave this Sunday to play for the Dominican Republic. Left-handed pitcher Vidal Nuno also leaves Sunday for Team Mexico. Jones and right-handed pitcher Mychal Givens leave a week from now to play for Team USA.

Givens, who threw a scoreless inning in his first game on Friday against Detroit, is getting pumped about pitching for his country.

"Definitely to wear that uniform with the USA on the front, representing and trying to bring a [championship] to the U.S. side is really exciting to do," Givens said.

Schoop, who hit a long home run to left field in the third inning Monday, played all 162 games last season. Showalter said he wouldn't advise him to play it safe.

Schoop's solo homer

"If you play with caution, you're more likely to get hurt. If he just plays in the way he normally does, he's a very durable player, knock on wood," Showalter said. "It's an emotional game for them. This means a lot to them. I'm not going to take that away from them, but I'd rather him play full out than be cautious. That's where a lot of the injuries come in. … If he just follows what he's been doing, he should be OK."

Schoop is thrilled to be playing with the Yankees' Didi Gregorius, Boston's Xander Bogaerts, Texas' Jurickson Profar and the Angels' Andrelton Simmons, as well as his brother, Sharlon, an Orioles Minor Leaguer.

"It's exciting for us to play together. Since I was little, I was playing against those guys," Schoop said. "That's going to be fun for the country. I'm looking forward to it."

On March 11, Team USA faces the Dominican Republic, and there's a chance Givens could face Machado in an emotional game.

"It's just the whole meaning of the World Baseball Classic, countries trying to prove they're the best," Givens said. "It's a good thing for baseball to have that competitive nature, trying to represent your country, doesn't matter who it is. I'm going to be competitive and try to represent the name on the front of the jersey."

Rich Dubroff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.