SARASOTA, Fla. – At the end of this week, Jonathan Schoop leaves the Orioles to play in the World Baseball Classic. The 21-year-old native of Curacao is thrilled to play for the Netherlands.
“It wasn’t an easy decision,” Schoop said. “It wasn’t easy at all.”
Schoop spoke with manager Buck Showalter last month about his participation. On Sunday, Showalter got a call from Hensley Meulens, a former player of his in New York and Arizona, who’s managing the Netherlands, to discuss his use of Schoop.
Meulens is also from Curacao, and he promised Showalter that he’d watch over Schoop.
Schoop and Manny Machado have been played together in the Orioles system. Machado leaped ahead of Schoop when he was recalled from Bowie last August.
“I’m never going to compare myself to nobody. Like if Manny can do it, I can do it,” Schoop said. “It’s a great thing for him. I’m going to wait for my moment.”
Schoop may be the team’s leading linguist. He speaks four languages: English, Spanish, Dutch and his native tongue, Papiamento.
After his WBC experience ends, Schoop will come back to spring training. Although he’s on the 40-man roster for the first time, Schoop will undoubtedly start the season in the minors. He has yet to play in Triple-A.
He said that he won’t be disappointed if he doesn’t play in the major leagues this season.
“Not at all. I just wait for my chance. When I get it, I need to be ready,” Schoop said.
Schoop, who’s probably better at second base is scheduled to play third in the WBC,
Showalter says that even though he won’t see as much of Schoop as other players because of the WBC, he doesn’t feel at a disadvantage because he trusts the judgment of his staff members.