March 25, 2023 6:57 am

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Rafael Devers, regardless of a disappointing efficiency in the Planet Baseball Classic from an person and a group standpoint, was all smiles upon returning to Red Sox camp on Friday.

Representing the Dominican Republic on an international stage for the very first time is a thing Devers will by no means overlook.

“It was a excellent practical experience, a definitely fantastic practical experience for me,” Devers stated. “I’m quite content that I had the chance to represent my nation. The games had been quite, quite intense, quite motivational for me, and I felt content to be capable to represent my nation.”

The Dominican Republic was favored by quite a few to win the Classic but rather got knocked out of Pool D with a two-two record, losing to Venezuela and Puerto Rico. Devers, who served as the cleanup hitter and DH for a squad that had Manny Machado at third base, went two-for-16 with two walks and no RBIs.

“Those items come about. I can go -for-20 or -for-30,” Devers stated. “That’s baseball. For me, I am confident about my capability and what I can do, the items that I can do on the field. I am definitely calm. I am not definitely pondering as well considerably into it. It really is not like I went two-for-16 and I forgot how to hit or something like that. It just occurred in that tournament. I nonetheless have the similar self-assurance as prior to I left the camp.”

If the efficiency by Devers was forgettable, there had been components of the practical experience that the left-handed-hitting slugger will don’t forget for a lengthy time. What stood out the most was the electric crowd in Miami.

“There was a moment exactly where I could not hear anyone beside me,” Devers stated. “That’s a definitely stunning moment for us as players, when you have so quite a few folks cheering for you and be as loud as they had been.”

Watching Machado — an elite defender at third base — go about his company was definitely a bonus for Devers.

“Of course I discovered a lot from Manny Machado. He’s one particular of the greatest third basemen, if not the greatest third baseman, correct now in the game,” Devers stated. “Just watching him going about his company and playing, you discover a lot. It was a quite fantastic moment for me.”

The moments he got to bond with other stars from his nation was a different perk of the practical experience.

“It was a excellent practical experience to be capable to share a clubhouse with these guys, with [Juan] Soto, with Machado, with Jeremy Peña. These are guys that you would like to share your clubhouse with or your group with at any moment, and it was a definitely excellent practical experience for me,” Devers stated.

Now that he is back in camp, the Red Sox have to have him to get the reps at third base that he missed whilst backing up Machado. Devers will commence Saturday’s residence game at the hot corner against the Orioles. Immediately after a day off Sunday when the Red Sox go to Clearwater to play the Phillies, Devers will play the subsequent 3 days.

“Just for him to get his repetitions at third base is critical for us. It is quite critical,” stated Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “Today he took ground balls with [infield instructor] Carlos [Febles] on the back fields. As far as the at-bats, he’s possibly readier than anybody else right here. Repetitions at third base — just standing up more than there for 5 or six innings, seven innings — is critical for his conditioning as well. Certainly we’ve got him right here now, and we’ll make certain he’s prepared for the season.”

Whilst Devers currently proved in the 2018 and ‘21 postseasons that he embraces playing on the major stage, the Classic was a unique sort of unique for the 26-year-old.

“It wasn’t the greatest one particular for him clearly, but to be about these guys and speak to them and the way he talks about these games, the intensity from pitch one particular all the way to the finish, it is a fantastic mastering practical experience,” Cora stated. “It’s a exciting one particular, and [he] checked that box. We’ll see what takes place [next World Baseball Classic], but at least he can say he represented his nation and now he’s with us.”