SAN FRANCISCO -- Hensley Meulens was back in his element Saturday: at AT&T Park, wearing orange and black and trying to guide an underdog team to a baseball championship.

Meulens is even seeing the same chemistry with Team Netherlands that he saw during the Giants' ride through the World Series.

"It's very similar. The only difference is that Papiamento is being spoken a lot in the clubhouse," said Meulens, the manager of Team Netherlands as well as the Giants' hitting coach.

The Netherlands is one of four teams to advance to the World Baseball Classic championship round here. Semifinal play opens Sunday with Puerto Rico facing Japan at 6 p.m. On Monday, the Netherlands faces the Dominican Republic at 6 p.m.

Netherlands’ manager Hensley Meulens answers questions during a news conference on a practice day for the World Baseball Classic in San Francisco,
Netherlands' manager Hensley Meulens answers questions during a news conference on a practice day for the World Baseball Classic in San Francisco, California, March 16, 2013. (Beck Diefenbach/Reuters)

The title game is Tuesday at 5 p.m.

Team Netherlands, which held a workout at AT&T Park on Saturday, made it to this stage while notable powerhouses such as the United States, Cuba and South Korea did not.

"What you put on paper sometimes doesn't matter," Meulens said. "I'm part of a team here with the Giants that (shows) people we can beat the better teams on paper."

  • The Netherlands got a boost with the addition of infielder Jurickson Profar, 20, the top prospect in baseball. Projected as the shortstop of the future for the Texas Rangers, Profar will play second base during the WBC.

    An emphasis of Saturday's workout was getting Profar accustomed to working up the middle with shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who has been one of the most dynamic players in the tournament.


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    Simmons will bat first and Profar second.

    "It's not like he doesn't know these guys," Meulens said. "We work out every winter together on the island. ... (Profar) has done it the last three years or so."

  • At a news conference, Profar launched into a long tribute to teammate Andruw Jones, saying that the outfielder was everyone's idol growing up in Curacao -- when Meulens interrupted.

    "You mean you never watched me play?" the manager said.

    "Too old, man," Profar replied.

    Team Netherlands manager Hensley Meulens talks with his players during practice day for the semifinal round of the World Baseball Classic in San Francisco,
    Team Netherlands manager Hensley Meulens talks with his players during practice day for the semifinal round of the World Baseball Classic in San Francisco, California March 16, 2013. (Beck Diefenbach/Reuters)

    Meulens, 45, played in the majors from 1989-93 and '97-98.

  • Team Japan, the two-time defending WBC champion, also worked out at AT&T Park on Saturday. Originally scheduled to start at noon, Japan practiced instead from 7-9 p.m. because of late-arriving equipment.

  • Former Japanese baseball great Sadaharu Oh will throw out one of the ceremonial first pitches before Sunday's game.

  • Wandy Rodriguez pitched six innings, and three relievers completed a three-hitter to help the unbeaten Dominican Republic top Puerto Rico 2-0 Saturday in Miami.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.