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March 6, 2017

Tomoyuki Sugano

Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh

Nori Aoki

Tokyo, Japan

Q. Tomorrow the competition will start, so I would like to know about your condition today from each of you, please.
TOMOYUKI SUGANO: Well, I think we did all the preparations that we needed. Now we have to believe in ourselves and start the competition.

NORI AOKI: Finally it's starting. That's how I feel today. I hope to be able to perform as I prepared for and do the best I can in this competition.

YOSHITOMO TSUTSUGOH: We had a good preparation time, and I hope to be able to contribute to the team to win the games.

Q. Question about Cuba. What do you think of the pitchers of the Cuban side?
NORI AOKI: They have very good pitchers, not only fastballs but other kind of pitches, too. Today we saw some video footage to study a little bit more, and we have to imagine many kind of situations to be able to overcome them.

YOSHITOMO TSUTSUGOH: As Aoki said right now, they have a variety of pitches they can throw. So we cannot be expecting only fastballs.

Q. How do you feel being the main batter?
YOSHITOMO TSUTSUGOH: If the team can win, that's the most important thing. It doesn't matter the order that I go in the lineup.

Q. What do you think of your role in the team? The manager showed us that the starting pitcher will be Ishikawa, but how did you feel about this competition for your role?
TOMOYUKI SUGANO: Well, Japanese pitchers today are considered to be world-class pitchers. So I think if the starting pitcher can do a good job and perform as expected in a world level, that's enough, and that's what I intend to do.

Q. The last time you played against Cuba, you did a very good job. Do you think the Cubans have changed a lot compared to last time, and what do you think of the Cuban team now?
NORI AOKI: Yes, I don't think I should change my approach towards the Cuban team. It's something that happened eight years ago. I have to see the video again in order to answer your question. But at that time, I don't remember if they have very impressive fastballs or they had a variety of balls they could change. That's what I remember from that time. But now, I think they have more complicated pitches.

Q. As you are going to be very important to the team as the No. 4 batter, but as Kokubo was saying, the first game there's a lot of nervousness and a lot of pressure. Have you gotten any advice from some of the older players such as Aoki or Ishikawa about what to expect on this type of stage?
YOSHITOMO TSUTSUGOH: Yes, I think the most important thing is if the team wins, that's the most important thing. That's what I think. That's what I've been saying. I know that we have a lot of super players around in our game, in our team, and the other teams, but whatever happens in the game, we have to do our best. That's the only thing.

Q. You're the only major leaguer in the Japanese team, so if everybody performs well -- well, the better you perform, you're expected to perform better anyway. But as a leader, what do you think is your role? And on the physical side, are you adapting to the Japanese time already?
NORI AOKI: I'm sorry, I forgot your first question.

Q. What is your role as a leader?
NORI AOKI: What I can do, every moment, I might realize that something is needed or according to the situation that presents at the game. So whatever advice I can give to anybody, I intend to do so. But in this preparation method that we had, I think the team went through many unexpected situations. So we have to overcome them.

About the jet lag, I'm almost okay.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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