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March 7, 2017

Jon Deeble

Tokyo, Japan

Q. Tomorrow the WBC starts for you. Can you tell us about the condition of your team right now?
JON DEEBLE: We had our preseason, or pretournament camp, down in Korea and then in Osaka, and I'm very happy with the way it went. I thought we threw the ball very well down there. I think we got better offensively and I think we defended very well. Happy with the condition of the players, and we're looking forward to tomorrow.

Q. In 2004, you got a medal at the Olympics, and comparing the team at that time and today, what do you think of the team?
JON DEEBLE: That's a long time ago now. I think our pitching is just as good, if not better, and our defense is just as good. So yeah, I think our team is every bit as good as what it was in 2004.

You know, we beat Japan two times in three days, and they had some pretty good players, Matsuzaka and Shimizu and all those -- Fukudome.

Yeah, we're looking forward to tomorrow, for sure. We think we've got a chance to win. I know Sugano. I believe Sugano is pitching, and we've seen him a lot. We've scouted him a lot, my job and the other coaches's job. Hopefully that will help us.

But we also understand it will be tough, because I think he's one of the probably Top 10 pitchers in the world. We understand that. But hopefully we can get into the bullpen early, would be nice.

Q. In order to beat Japan, who are the key players, pitcher and batter?
JON DEEBLE: Look, we lost Liam Hendriks, who was our major league pitcher, a couple days ago, which has hurt us for sure. But I think our relief pitchers are very good, and if we can get a lead late in the game, we have Peter Moylan, who has a lot of major league experience, eight years with the Braves, Kansas City. So hopefully they are going to be key parts to it.

I think the middle of our infield is pretty strong with James Beresford and Brad Harman. I think we have a very even hitting team, no stars, but it's pretty even. So hopefully we can score some runs. That's what we've got to do, and we've got to keep our defense and our pitching to try and keep Japan down, and hopefully we can do that.

Q. In Osaka, Japan, you won. Tell me your opinion about Samurai Japan.
JON DEEBLE: Japan are very good. They don't make mistakes. I think the difference between them and some other teams is their pitching depth. Their pitchers are all very good. You know, the history in playing Japan is that they don't make mistakes. So we'd better earn everything that we get.

I remember years ago with Mr. Oh, I went down to SoftBank's spring training, 2005 it was, and I was just in awe of the practices and the way they field the ball. They don't make mistakes. I asked Mr. Oh why, and he said, it's just not accepted, which was interesting.

We've sort of taken that and tried to take that into our culture, too. Obviously our guys don't practice as much as what the Japanese players do, so it's a little harder.

But look, the Japanese team is very good. There's no doubt about that. They have won two World Baseball Classic, so we don't think it's going to be a walk in the park. We are definitely the underdogs and we know that. But if we play our game: If we defend well, we pitch well and we can get some hits, you know, I think we can compete with them, for sure.

Q. It's very important to win tomorrow's game to be able to go to the next round, what's your strong point?
JON DEEBLE: Our strong point, we are going to try to manufacture some runs. We'd love to win three games, but if we can get two, we can get to the second round. We've never been to the second round.

But the one we should have gone to was in México, where we beat México, and that was the year the rule had changed a little bit and we never got to play South Africa.

We have to play really well. It's going to be a packed stadium. Some of our players, or a lot of our players, are not used to playing in front of crowds, also. So we've got nothing to lose, so we'll go out there and we'll give it everything we've got.

Q. Thank you for coming to Japan so many times. To go to the next round, how many victories do you need? How many wins do you need, and do you think you are going to choose a pitcher to win against the team who lose between Cuba and Japan; is that right --
JON DEEBLE: Both teams have a level amount of pitchers, too. We think we need to win two games. So if we can win two games -- that doesn't guarantee you, also, that you are going to get through. But we feel if we can win two out of the three, we've got a good chance. I think one of them has to be Cuba, and hopefully we can beat China, and it would be a bonus if we beat Japan.

Our aim is to win three, if we possibly can, and that's going to be tough.

Q. Just simple question. You just mentioned the starting pitcher would be Sugano for you guys tomorrow. How would you capture him? Is there any strategy or what kind of image do you have?
JON DEEBLE: I think if it was that easy, the Japanese teams would have captured it, wouldn't they.

I scouted him in college, in fact, when I was with the Red Sox, we had a lot of interest in trying to sign him, and it was very hard to get near him or get close to him. We know how close he is. Not many hitters have been able to capture him over the years.

We've scouted him a lot, and our players know what to expect. Yeah, it's not an easy task. I think the good thing is, with the 65 pitches, we can get him out of there quick (laughs). I guess that's a point; if we can get him out of there in three or four innings, I think we've got a chance to compete.

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