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Correa willing to play third base at Classic

Infielder among 8 Astros set to ship out for World Baseball Classic
MLB.com @brianmctaggart

JUPITER, Fla. -- Astros shortstop Carlos Correa said Sunday he's willing to play third base for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, which begins this week. Correa and teammate Jose Altuve, who will play for Venezuela, played in their final Grapefruit League games for the Astros on Sunday in a 7-7 tie with the Marlins before heading to Mexico to join their national teams.

Correa has never played third base in a big league game, but he has taken ground balls at third this spring. He said the Indians' Francisco Lindor, who finished second to Correa in the 2015 American League Rookie of the Year voting, should be the starting shortstop for Puerto Rico, but Correa will also see time at shortstop.

JUPITER, Fla. -- Astros shortstop Carlos Correa said Sunday he's willing to play third base for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, which begins this week. Correa and teammate Jose Altuve, who will play for Venezuela, played in their final Grapefruit League games for the Astros on Sunday in a 7-7 tie with the Marlins before heading to Mexico to join their national teams.

Correa has never played third base in a big league game, but he has taken ground balls at third this spring. He said the Indians' Francisco Lindor, who finished second to Correa in the 2015 American League Rookie of the Year voting, should be the starting shortstop for Puerto Rico, but Correa will also see time at shortstop.

"I already agreed that I can play third base. I have no problem with that," Correa said. "I feel like Lindor earned a spot winning the Gold Glove [in 2016], and I said I have no problem playing third base. I think I'll be playing third base out there."

:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::

Correa and Altuve will both leave camp Monday in advance of meeting each other in Friday's first-round game in Pool D in Jalisco, Mexico. Carlos Beltran is also playing for Puerto Rico.

"It will be fun," Correa said. "Obviously, [Altuve] is a guy I'm used to playing with all the time, and I don't want him to get a hit anymore. It's going to be an interesting situation."

Altuve, a two-time batting champion, is part of a stacked Venezuelan lineup that includes Miguel Cabrera and Carlos Gonzalez. As Altuve was touting Venezuela's lineup to the media Sunday, a few feet away, Correa was jokingly yelling, "No pitching, though."

"We've got a really good lineup," Altuve said. "Every team that has Miguel Cabrera in their lineup has to be good. He's the captain of our team, and that guy can impact the tournament. I'm really happy to play with him, and I'm looking forward to doing it."

The Astros have eight players participating in the World Baseball Classic. Norichika Aoki left for Japan this past week, and third baseman Alex Bregman (United States) will leave for Miami following Monday's game. Luke Gregerson (U.S.), Kevin Chapman (Canada) and Dayan Diaz (Colombia) are also competing.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch said he will communicate with each of the eight players who will be gone from big league camp for the World Baseball Classic.

"They're very reasonable, they know what they're doing, they know where they're bodies are at," he said. "We communicate with them all the time. The position-player side of it, there are things in baseball that could happen, but could happen in a Spring Training game as well. I feel like they're all physically where they need to be in order to move to the [Classic]."

The World Baseball Classic runs from Monday through March 22. In the U.S., games will air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN will provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. will have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. The tournament will be distributed internationally across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for games at Marlins Park, Tokyo Dome, Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Mexico, Petco Park, as well as the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

United States, Venezuela, Canada, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Houston Astros, Japan, Carlos Correa