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March 10, 2017

Jim Leyland

Miami, Florida

Q. What do you like about having Archer going tonight for the first game, and have you sensed his enthusiasm he has for this?
JIM LEYLAND: Yeah, I think that he was one of the guys that jumped on board right away. So excited about it. An outstanding pitcher. With his attitude and enthusiasm and everything, I thought he would be a real good choice for the first game.

Q. Hoping you could share your lineup with us please.
JIM LEYLAND: Lineup tonight is going to be Kinsler leading off at second base, Adam Jones in center field, Arenado at third, Goldschmidt at first, Posey catching, Stanton in right, Murphy DHing, McCutchen and in left field and Crawford at shortstop.

Q. What sporting and human qualities do you remember from Edgar Renteria, one of the players who you won the 1997 World Series and exactly 20 years ago, who is precisely in the rival team this afternoon?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, this is hard to believe, but it's true, the first person I saw last night when I got to the hotel before I saw my wife and daughter was Edgar Renteria, and he reminded me that he had our signs, so. (Laughter). Pretty nice welcome.

I also saw Moises Alou today at the hotel. So, kind of nice, really.

Q. Pitching is such a big part of the WBC, especially the starting-pitching part, how hard is it for those guys to be as sharp as they need to be, guys like Stroman and Archer? Because it is early and these guys are used to just training, but they're going to be going against some pretty legit hitters the next couple days?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, it's obviously a little difficult. I don't think there's any question about that and of course you have the pitch limit for a purpose. That gets a little tricky, too. This is a little bit different handling your pitching. You've got to do it a little bit different than you would during the normal season, unless you were fortunate enough to move on pretty deep into the tournament, that could change a little bit, but this first go-around is pretty tricky.

Q. I want to know, you have a team which has very big names. How easy or hard is it to handle such an all-star team in this event?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, fortunately I've had the good fortune of managing in three All-Star Games, so I have a pretty good idea. I know a lot of the guys, I competed against a lot of the guys that are in the clubhouse. A few guys I didn't know really very well, but it didn't take long. When you manage, it doesn't really take long to just -- if you walk around the clubhouse, kind of keep one eye open and one ear open, it usually tells you a lot. Kind of try to stay out of their way.

But these guys are quality guys and once again, it's a little tricky, we got Goldschmidt and Hosmer at first; that's pretty good. So we're not going to be a strict platoon, but tonight we're going to play Goldie and tomorrow we're going to play Hosmer.

So, this whole thing can be a little tricky, so I think the biggest part is that you need to you need the cooperation from the players, and our guys have been absolutely fantastic. I thought Buster Posey should catch the first game. I'm catching Lucroy tomorrow. I know, I think a couple teams are doing it different but I think it's pretty early yet to have your catchers catch back-to-back nine innings. I think that's very, very difficult.

So, there's some tricks to this and you got to stay on top of it. The toughest thing is, you have so much to do in a short period of time, you've got to jot stuff down. Saying hey, I need to talk to this guy, that guy. I need get this situation straightened out. We got Yelich and McCutchen, we could tinker with that a little bit. So you've got to put a lot of stuff down and you want to cover all your tracks, so somebody's not reading something in the paper that you forgot to tell him, and you're say "oh my God." You obviously want to talk to the player first.

Q. Can you elaborate a little bit on how much pride you get representing team USA, and also what it would mean to you to win this tournament. I know it's day one kind of for you guys.
JIM LEYLAND: Well, I think that would be selfish, to be honest with you. The one thing I really tried to stay away from is getting all caught up in the hoopla, the fact that the United States has never won it. I think that's the wrong avenue to take. I think you just get your guys ready to play, they're going to compete. Every player in that clubhouse knows we have never won it. I know we've never won it. All of you know we have never won it. That's not a secret. I don't think that's the thing to focus on.

I think that obviously I know you guys get tired of hearing it when we talk all the time about taking one game at a time during the season, I know it irritates you, but this is one of those scenarios where you really do have to take one game at a time because it can be a very short tournament. That's just the way it is.

So, we just want to, I don't want to use the word "focused" either, but we just want to stay in tune to tonight's game, try to win this game and then worry about tomorrow tomorrow.

Q. It was announced a short time ago that Stroman starts tomorrow. What's the thought process on Stroman first?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, he was another guy that was all excited about it. I think he's a very good young right-handed pitcher. We're actually going to piggyback him and Roark tomorrow. I thought he was a very good candidate. We had a situation really where either one of them could have started, so we talked that through, like you do. We talked that through face to face. This was the decision that we came up with. Everybody was on board with it.

That's the one nice thing about it, I think I actually -- I've been worried about this for three months, to be honest with you, dealing -- and when I say "worried about it", I'm talking about all the things you're going to have to do to talk to players. For instance, a situation like that. You got to handle those things face to face. Fortunately our guys were so cooperative, it was unbelievable. Everybody's on board. I just talked to a couple players about ideas I had, because you want to think it through and you don't want to jump the gun and hey, you're going to do this, you're going to do that, and then you start thinking about it or something, and you think, you know what that might not be the case.

So I wanted to wait. I wanted to give them as much information as I could but I didn't want to jump the gun and stick my foot in my mouth. So I kind of waited, and so far knock on wood, it's worked out okay.

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