JUPTER, Fla. — The World Baseball Classic kicked off Saturday morning a half a world away but there were plenty of Nationals watching with interest as the Dutch team beat South Korea, 5-0.
Nationals outfielder Roger Bernadina hit third for the Dutch team, going 1-for-5. Bernadina drove in two runs in the Netherlands’ victory with a double to right field in the seventh inning that scored Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons and Orioles infielder Jonathan Schoop.
Bernadina, a Naitonals fan favorite, tweeted after the game “What a long game, Dutch team one up!!!!”
Should the Dutch team advance in pool play, Bernadina will go on to the second round in Tokyo.
– Former Nationals right-hander Chien-Ming Wang also had a strong debut in the WBC, pitching six shutout innings to lead Chinese Taipei over Australia.
Wang will likely attempt a comeback in the major leagues this season but his plan was to pitch in the WBC and then try to join a major league team at mid-season. The injury-plagued Wang spent the last three years with the Nationals and manager Davey Johnson saw no reason, if he’s healthy, why Wang couldn’t still pitch in the big leagues.
“He had the arm strength last year it was just difficult getting the right slot,” Johnson said. “I know he’s a hard worker.”