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March 8, 2017

Andrelton Simmons

Seoul, Korea

Q. Andrelton, you turned some big double plays in yesterday's game. How much of a factor was in a that in defeating Korea?
ANDRELTON SIMMONS: It's pretty big. Making sure they didn't begin a rally. So every time they got somebody on base and our pitchers got the ground ball and our defense turned a double play, it's pretty big to make sure they don't start getting into scoring position or start getting people on base or more people on base and then get a big blast and cut the deficit.

Q. Can you just talk about what it means for you to play for your country, to represent the Netherlands and kind of this whole tournament itself?
ANDRELTON SIMMONS: I mean, it's pretty special. It's always nice to represent your country, and you get to play with people you grew up playing with. That makes it even more special. It makes it really fun. We enjoy every single minute we're out there. We play very loose. We joke around a lot. We have a lot of fun. We play better that way.

Q. You win tonight and you're basically into the next round. Has that thought crossed your mind, or are you just focusing on Taipei tonight?
ANDRELTON SIMMONS: I mean, you've got to focus on the task at hand. Yeah, if we get this game, it will be really good not to have to worry about a must win game after. So, yeah, we're trying to make sure we win tonight, but we've got to start taking it one pitch at a time. Hopefully everybody puts up good at bats and by the end of the night hopefully we end up with a win.

Q. Your first game was against Korea, and at the middle of Seoul, so how was your feeling?
ANDRELTON SIMMONS: It was fun. The fans were really, really involved. So it was fun. They made it difficult for us, but fortunately we got some double plays when they got runners on, and we got a couple homers that helped us win the game. But they made it really difficult. But it was a fun environment to play in.

Q. It's not only about Curacao, it's not about Dutch Vietnam, but you are playing now with manager Andruw Jones as your bench coach. What does that feel like? I mean, two big players, Hall of Famers, tell me about that?
ANDRELTON SIMMONS: It's pretty special. I grew up watching those guys on TV, and as a kid you want to make it to where they made it. So making it there is pretty special. And playing under them is pretty cool. The last WBC I played with Andruw, which was a dream come true, because I wanted to play with Chipper and play with Andruw. I got to play with Chipper in his last year. I got to play with Andruw in his last WBC. So, I mean, it's pretty special for me.

Q. Can you just talk about playing alongside Didi [Gregorius] and Xander [Bogaerts], and what it's like to have that sort of talent at shortstop at one position? What that's been like for you?
ANDRELTON SIMMONS: Man, we've got a really talented infield, really talented infield. We kind of played like a very similar way, very loose, very ready for everything, paying attention. So everybody's pretty much on the same page. It didn't take us long to get to know each other's movement around the infield, so it's pretty cool.

Q. Yesterday a starting pitcher was underhanded [sidearm], and I believe Major Leaguers are not familiar with underhanders. You played five years in the Major Leagues, so what do you think about underhanders?
ANDRELTON SIMMONS: Yeah, they're a little difficult to hit. But I'm getting used to it. It wasn't that hard, but some days, it depends. It doesn't matter where they throw. It's just how they come that day. Like some days they come and they're unhittable. But like yesterday, they made a couple mistakes, and we capitalized on them.

But, yeah, we saw a little bit of that in the practice games, and that definitely helped with yesterday's game.

Q. In March, playing baseball is not easy because your body is not ready. And yesterday I believe your condition was almost during the season. Is there any difference between the practice game and the tournament game? Do you think your condition will be better in the regular season?
ANDRELTON SIMMONS: Oh, yes. There is definitely a difference between a practice game and a game that you're trying to win, trying to win a trophy. So even though normally this time of year we're not like completely ready, this tournament actually like wakes you up, puts you in automatic go mode.

I try to play every chance I get because I feel like it makes me puts me in mid season form. So I enjoy doing it.

Q. In Major Leagues I believe you are one of the fastest shortstops. Can you reveal the secret?
ANDRELTON SIMMONS: I don't know. There's a lot of good infielders that come from the islands, so I guess we push each other. We try to either learn from each other or trying to get better. I don't know. I don't know how to explain it. We try to get better. Just competing against guys that are really good helps you get better.

Q. Can you talk about a little bit, for those that aren't familiar, about the island of Curacao and what baseball is like there? And why you think it produces so many great shortstops and infielders?
ANDRELTON SIMMONS: We didn't grow up with the nice, infields, the grass fields. It was a lot of dirt and little rocks, so it makes you react faster. It make keeps you on your toes. So, I mean, that has a factor. A lot of the guys in there like playing soccer, too, so maybe that has something to do with our footwork.

But, yeah, I mean, just growing up on the island and having to play on a little more tougher fields than in the Big Leagues I think makes a big difference.

Q. Yesterday playing I saw that you are enjoying the game. What was your mindset in this WBC, because you are enjoying the game?
ANDRELTON SIMMONS: It's fun to play with people you know. It's fun to play and represent your country. I mean, the environment, the fans were cheering. It makes it even more enjoyable. So I just try to have a blast. When you play loose, you play better. The more relaxed, the more fun you have, so you play better. So I tried to do that. Especially with the fans cheering and singing. It was easier to have fun.

Q. When you compare the WBC Championship and the regular season championship, what do you want to have more?
ANDRELTON SIMMONS: Well, you try to win regardless. But, I mean, this one's a little shorter tournament. So I don't know. I got to play with like I said, I get to play with guys I grew up playing with. I got to play with Didi growing up, I played against Schoop. I didn't get to play against Bogaerts, but I played a little bit against Profar just in practice games. So, yeah, it makes it funner.

I mean, you play with how can you say? I don't know. It's like with people you grew up with, so it's really fun. It's really fun to play in this tournament for me.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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