Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar strolled through the Royals spring-training clubhouse on Tuesday morning, heading for his stall.
A voice cackled: “Wrong shirt.”
Escobar, who was wearing a burgundy-colored top of the Venezuelan national team rather than his typical blue, flashed a grin.
As Team Venezuela prepares for the World Baseball Classic, it has taken up temporary residence in part of the Royals’ minor-league clubhouse.
Never miss a local story.
The Royals will face two teammates when they take on Venezuela in an exhibition game Wednesday at Surprise Stadium: Escobar and catcher Salvador Perez.
Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer will play for Team USA when it starts the tournament Friday against Colombia. The U.S. team also will play the Dominican Republic, the defending champions, on Saturday. On Sunday, Royals left-hander Danny Duffy will start for Team USA against Canada.
All three games are at Marlins Park in Miami.
Royals manager Ned Yost feels like the players had a good chance to ramp up for the tournament.
“We sent Salvy and Esky off and they’re both ready to go compete for Venezuela and they’re in a good spot,” Yost said after Monday’s 4-1 loss to Arizona. “Hoz left today and Duff leaves in a day or two. All of our WBCers are ready to go and ready to be productive.”
Royals catcher Drew Butera has dealt with an oblique injury that threatened his chance to play for Team Italy. But Butera was in the starting lineup for the Royals’ spring-training game Tuesday against the Cincinnati Reds.
Butera reported he’s feeling good.
“Hopefully all goes well today. If it goes well, I’ll be heading out,” Butera said.
Team Italy will leave for its round-robin group games in Mexico on Wednesday. Royals reliever Joakim Soria will pitch for Mexico in the WBC.
Brandon Moss to play Friday
Royals outfielder Brandon Moss, who has not played in a spring game since March 2 because of lower-back stiffness, was not in the lineup for Tuesday’s game. But he’s expected back later this week.
“He was in the cage feeling better,” Yost said. “We’ll probably give him the day off (Wednesday) and with the off day Thursday, he’ll be ready to go Friday.”