03/14/2013 12:00 AM ET
Jones relishing leadership role with Dutch
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
PEORIA, Ariz. -- It's easy to remember Andruw Jones as a 19-year-old hitting two home runs in a World Series game in 1996, kicking off an excellent Major League career. And more than 16 years later, it's easy to watch Jones as the sage veteran of Team Netherlands.
Jones, who now plays in Japan, was instrumental in recruiting the Dutch team for manager Hensley Meulens and has had an open-door policy in his hotel room throughout this World Baseball Classic run. He's also seen his brand of leadership evolve.
"I led by example when I played with the Braves," Jones said. "I never was outspoken. I went out there and played every day. And that's how I performed as a leader. The young guys come up, see you out there hurt or not feeling good, those are things that leadership is about.
"But now it's young guys who probably grew up watching you play and idolizing you and stuff, and now it's good to get in their ears and try to teach them the things you know so they can go out and perform at a high level."
One of those players is Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, who will join the Netherlands for the semifinals.
"It means a lot [to have him here]," Jansen said. "Especially when I grew up watching him. I used to be a big fan of him growing up. It's awesome to see him play in the days I was growing up and now here he is."
Dutch add Profar and Jansen to bolster roster
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The team from the Netherlands that's been taking names in the World Baseball Classic added a few more big ones Thursday.
Top Texas Rangers prospect Jurickson Profar was officially added to the roster and will play second base, and Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen will join the team after his game for Los Angeles against Kansas City on Friday.
"We got better," manager Hensley Meulens said. "We got two big-league players."
Jansen, who has come along slowly this spring after undergoing surgery last October to correct an irregular heartbeat, said he was looking forward to getting into a game after watching as many highlights as he could of his team as it knocked out Cuba to advance from the second round in Tokyo to the semifinal round in San Francisco's AT&T Park.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands will play in the second semifinal game, which will be Monday at 6 p.m. PT. The Dutch will face the Pool 2 winner, which is still being contested at Marlins Park in Miami. The championship game will be Tuesday at 5 p.m. PT. All World Baseball Classic games can be seen on MLB Network and ESPN Deportes.
"I'm definitely excited," Jansen said after greeting his Dutch teammates, many of whom are from his native island country of Curacao. "I'm finally back in rhythm and back on track, and this is going to be exciting to help these guys win.
"Now I'm feeling fine and I'm ready. It's going to be exciting playing the final four. It's going to be great."
Jansen, who played for the Dutch team in the 2009 Classic as a catcher before converting to a reliever, also expressed gratitude that the Dodgers were willing to let him participate.
"They think it will be pretty good for me, especially if I'm ready for Opening Day, because it will be more competition for me," Jansen said. "It's going to be good."
Profar, meanwhile, was finally added to the mix, as expected, and Meulens penciled him in at second. Profar is a shortstop prospect, but played five games for the Rangers at second last year after a brief call-up. Meulens didn't want to move his starter at shortstop, Andrelton Simmons of the Braves, who has been brilliant in this tournament. Orioles farmhand Jonathan Schoop was at second but moved to third base, where he has played before. That relegated Red Sox prospect Xander Bogaerts to the bench.
Profar showed up on Thursday, took batting practice with his Dutch teammates, signed autographs and said that he's watched every game so far and is thrilled to be here. He was asked if he hopes the intensity of the tournament will help him prepare the season and he said, "I don't hope … I know it's going to help."
Meulens said he's been in touch with Profar all along and that it was only a matter of time before he would join Team Nederland.
"This guy has supported us this whole tournament," Meulens said. "We've talked to guys on the BlackBerry messenger and Twitter. It's not like he's just walking in and we haven't seen him or talked to him."
"And this guy has the chance to have the best of both worlds. He had a good Spring Training to show what he can do. They're saying he's ready to play in the big leagues. And now he's got a chance to represent his country in the final of the biggest tournament he's ever played. So it's a big deal for us. He's a great player and he made us better today."
Meulens could see himself managing in Majors
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Team Netherlands manager Hensley Meulens, who also happens to be the hitting coach for the San Francisco Giants, said he'd love to be a Major League manager someday.
"Yeah, why not?" he said.
The way he has his team playing in this World Baseball Classic, he might get noticed sooner than later, and the same goes for some of the players on his team.
Meulens was pleased to report that his first baseman, Curt Smith, signed a Minor League deal with the Minnesota Twins on Thursday, and his catcher, Dashenko Ricardo was close to a similar deal with the Dodgers. Pitcher Sidney Ponson was signed by the Kansas City Royals after pitching well against the Dominican Republic in the 2009 Classic.
"People notice when you have success and when you're doing the right things on the field," Meulens said. "That's when you get opportunities."
• The team's technical director, former big league utility man Robert Eenhoorn, said expectations have changed regarding the Dutch team in the World Baseball Classic after two victories over the Dominican Republic in 2009 and the club's semifinal run this year. "It's just been a process where in the first one, you're just happy to be there. In the second one, you're very, very happy to make it to the second round. And now, the goal is winning it. And it sounded weird for many people at the beginning, but it was a goal that we set. We've had success, and winning the World Cup in 2011 was kind of big, too. And we've beaten Cuba five times in a row, and a lot of people don't know."
• Meulens said he's been impressed with how aggressive his team has been. "They go first to third, they advance on balls in the dirt … that's how they play," Meulens said. "They play kind of reckless, but it's fun to watch."
• Eenhoorn was pleased to learn that 18-year-old Dutch catcher Rodney Daal, a San Diego Padres Minor Leaguer, was moved up from Minor League camp to be with the Padres for Thursday night's exhibition between the two clubs. Daal, whose father, Richie, played against Eenhoorn, was in camp for the Dutch team prior the start of Spring Training. "I think it's great," Eenhoorn said. "It's a great experience for him."
• Padres Triple-A manager Pat Murphy, who managed the Dutch Olympic baseball team in the 2000 Sydney Games, was a San Diego coach during Thursday night's game.