FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Top Red Sox prospect Xander Bogaerts had mixed emotions as he departed camp on Saturday night and got ready to board a flight for Taiwan, so he can join Team Netherlands for the World Baseball Classic.
On one hand, Bogaerts can't wait to play in a showcase event. On the other hand, Bogaerts hates leaving his first Major League camp this soon.
"That's what makes this kind of tough. This is my first big league Spring Training," Bogaerts said. "It would have been nice if I could have stayed around the bigger guys, but it's also a great experience to go there and play in the World Baseball Classic."
In truth, the experience for the 20-year-old Bogaerts at the Classic could prove to be invaluable.
"I think any time a young player can get in front of 30, 40, 50,000 people is big," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "That is a first that they can experience before they come to the big leagues. And depending on how far they go in their respective bracket, to go against, possibly, pitching that he hasn't seen at the Minor League level yet, all of those are going to be invaluable firsts."
Bogaerts left Boston's camp in style, belting an RBI single up the middle in a 4-3 loss to the Rays.
"He's got a good swing through the zone, and like we said the other day, he's a good-looking young player," said Farrell. "He's heady, he's got some field awareness, and good things are ahead for him."