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Talented Dutch shortstops happy to share position

Bogaerts, Gregorius, Simmons will move around diamond during Classic
MLB.com

SEOUL, South Korea -- If there's one position the Netherlands has a surplus of, it's shortstop -- and two American League East stars don't hide the fact that they're not lacking talent in that department.

"We have a lot of guys that are good; also we're all equal," said the Red Sox's Xander Bogaerts, who will man third base during the upcoming competition and was also part of the Dutch team that finished fourth in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

SEOUL, South Korea -- If there's one position the Netherlands has a surplus of, it's shortstop -- and two American League East stars don't hide the fact that they're not lacking talent in that department.

"We have a lot of guys that are good; also we're all equal," said the Red Sox's Xander Bogaerts, who will man third base during the upcoming competition and was also part of the Dutch team that finished fourth in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

Participating in his first Classic, the Yankees' Didi Gregorius echoed his countryman's statement.

:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::

"All the guys you see are the best shortstops in the game; everybody's putting up numbers," Gregorius said. "There's no comparisons. Everybody's good here."

The Netherlands will open play against Korea on Tuesday at 4:30 a.m. ET (6:30 p.m. local time), and even though Gregorius likes the makeup of the squad, Pool A carries stiff competition with South Korea, Chinese Taipei and first-timer Israel.

"We're going to put our best foot forward every day, and everybody knows that everybody has a good team, because everybody's representing their country," said Gregorius. "We got to play good baseball to win it."

In their first tuneup game at the Gocheok Sky Dome on Friday, the Dutch routed the Korean Army team, 11-1, with the Angels' Andrelton Simmons starting at designated hitter, Bogaerts at third (0-for-3 with a walk and run) and Gregorius at short (1-for-5 with a walk and a run).

"We're going to go back and forth [between positions]," Gregorius said. "We're going to switch up. … There's nothing wrong with that. I'm good with that. Everybody here is good, so everybody is doing their job."

While Simmons has a pair of Gold Glove Awards under his belt and has the reputation as the best defender among the three, the two-time Silver Slugger Award winner Bogaerts is the top hitter.

But who's the best overall AL East shortstop?

The two have been good friends since their youth and are now division rivals. They couldn't settle on one, with Bogaerts diplomatically saying, "Hitting-wise, I would have to say all of us."

"I'd say everybody," Gregorius added. "Everybody is doing their best for their own team."

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.

Chris Han is an editorial producer for MLB.com.

Kingdom of the Netherlands, Xander Bogaerts, Didi Gregorius, Andrelton Simmons