SIMMONS READY FOR 2017 CLASSIC

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Baseball 2017

Four years ago, Angels infielder Andrelton Simmons played an essential role in helping the Netherlands reach the semifinals of the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Simmons, a native of Curacao, started at shortstop and hit .333 with two home runs, three doubles, and six RBIs in eight games, an effort that helped the Netherlands secure its best finish in the tournament.

Next week, Simmons will leave for Seoul to represent the Netherlands in his second career World Baseball Classic. He’ll join a loaded infield that will also feature the Yankees’ Didi Gregorius, the Red Sox’s Xander Bogaerts, the Orioles’ Jonathan Schoop and the Rangers’ Jurickson Profar, many of whom are childhood friends of Simmons.

He enjoys doing it because he gets to play with all the friends he grew up with and hung out with in Curacao,” Simmons said Tuesday at Tempe Diablo Stadium. “It’s pretty exciting.

Simmons, 27, said he will leave Angels camp Feb. 28. The Netherlands is set to compete in Pool A of the World Baseball Classic with Korea, Chinese Taipei and Israel at the Gocheok Sky Dome. The Netherlands opens play March 7 against Korea.

Simmons, he believes the Netherlands, which will also have Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen on its roster, has a good shot at making a deep run in the tournament.

They have a pretty good defense. They have a pretty solid offense. The pitching, he doesn’t know a lot of the guys. He hasn’t seen them pitch in a while, so that’s the only area he doesn’t know how it’s going to play, he is still excited for the team. They have a good chance of advancing. Once we do that if they do that they ‘ll see

what level the team is on. Anything can happen in the tournament.

Simmons’ participation in the World Baseball Classic will prevent him from having a full spring to adjust to new double-play partner Danny Espinosa, but he said he doesn’t believe they’ll require too much time to learn to work together. Simmons and Espinosa faced each other frequently when they both played in the National League East with the Braves and Nationals, respectively.

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