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March 10, 2017

Marcus Stroman

Danny Duffy

Miami, Florida

Q. I'm sure people talked about this already, but tomorrow should be a pretty crazy atmosphere here. The Dominican fans were pretty wild last night. Talk about what it's like to pitch in those kind of environments. Do you think that will be a help to you or do you look forward to it tomorrow?
MARCUS STROMAN: Yeah, I can't wait. That atmosphere, that environment, something I feel like I'm able to thrive off. Similar to the playoffs. I felt like we've had that environment in Toronto before, so I can't wait to get out there and kind of use that energy, kind of direct it in a positive way when I'm on the mound.

Q. Talk about just facing that lineup and the challenges that they present. Obviously they have a lot of power and what you're looking forward to, and what you need to do to keep them in check.
MARCUS STROMAN: You guys see the lineup, it's unbelievable. One through nine, pretty much no weak points at all. So just got to be on my game, just going to try and mix and do everything that I can to be competitive. I have an unbelievable defense behind me. So not scared to pitch to contact. Kind of let my D behind me work and just kind of take that approach into it.

Q. For both of you guys, just being a starting pitcher with that 65-pitch limit, normally how conscious are you of how many pitches you've thrown in the early innings? And do you think that will be something that you think about while you're pitching?
DANNY DUFFY: I think if you are too conscious of it, you fall in love with trying to be too efficient. I think my whole goal I've kind of tried to adopt was to just get three-pitch outs or less. I feel like my stuff is good enough. I'm confident in everything I throw. I throw it with conviction and I'll just try to get my team as many outs as possible.

Like he said, the defense behind us is phenomenal. Top to bottom, we got a squad, dude. So it will be fun to get out there and knowing what have I behind me, I have a lot of confidence in it.

Q. Marcus, I know you and Chris Archer have become friends a little bit. I'm sure it's exciting for both of you. What do you sense from him as far as being the guy to open this thing up tonight and just kind of his mood and attitude and excitement for it?
MARCUS STROMAN: Yeah, he's ready to rock. He's been excited for this for a long time. This is an honor to be here. So, we take that when we go into the game. We're not just showing up for another game, we have that passion, and we have that wanting to go out there and perform. It's not Spring Training. We want to go out there and compete and do everything we can to win for our country. And Arch's been excited, I know he has dominant stuff. I'm excited to see how it plays today.

Q. Given your relationship with Jose Bautista and how close you guys are, what do you think it will be like facing him and pitching to him tomorrow?
MARCUS STROMAN: It will be a little weird for sure. He's one of my brothers from the very beginning, who kind of took me under his wing. I'm very thankful to have Jose Bautista in my life for everything he's done for me. But at the end of the day he's on the other side, so I have to get him out. That's the one goal. When you step between those lines, obviously I'm doing everything we can to win for the U.S., so that's the approach I have going into it.

Q. I imagine that's probably, needless to say, the best lineup you've ever faced tomorrow. But as pitcher with your stuff, do you feel like if you put the ball where you want it to, you're going to get outs or are those the kind of hitters that they can hit your pitch?
MARCUS STROMAN: I'm confident. I'm confident. I'm confident in my stuff. I think if I make my pitch, I can get anybody in the world out. That's how I've always thought. That's how I always continue to think. I don't really play into who is in the batter's box, to be honest with you. So I'm aggressive, I'm confident, I'm ready to go.

Q. You had the opportunity, you basically had to make a decision between playing for U.S. or Puerto Rico. Can you talk a little bit about the process about making the decision.
MARCUS STROMAN: Yeah, it was a tough choice. My mom's born and raised in Puerto Rico. At the end of the day getting that call from Joe Torre, I couldn't say no. I played for Team USA for the collegiate national team in 2011; that also had something to do with it. So I feel like in the end I made the right choice.

Q. Pitching in more of a high-adrenaline situation than you normally would in mid-March, could this possible help get ready for the regular season maybe a little more than a normal spring, where you're kind of going through the motions more?
DANNY DUFFY: I think that playing this kind of intensity, this level of intensity in March obviously gets USA little bit more lathered up for the season. We still have to take care of ourselves. Our ultimate obligation is to our organization, but right now we're playing for our country. So we have to grab this by the horns and go get it.

Personally, I couldn't say no. If I feel good, if I'm ready to go for the season, give my team 200 innings, I couldn't say no. And if I wasn't ready, I wouldn't have batted an eye at this. I'm just being honest. So, I'm very fortunate. I'm humbled with the opportunity, and I'm excited to got out there and play some playoff-atmosphere baseball in March. It's a cool situation that we have been put into.

Q. What have you done specifically to prepare for the Canadian lineup?
DANNY DUFFY: They're pretty lefty heavy. I've done pretty well against lefties in my career, but those guys aren't playing around. Freddie Freeman has some of the best hands in baseball, in my opinion.

I'm just going to treat it like any other game. Obviously, they're playing for their country as well, and they're there for a reason. They're great players. So, again, I'm just going to do everything I can to get three-pitch outs or less, keep it simple. My whole MO is just keep it simple, keep it happy. If you try to overcomplicate things, you make this game tougher than it is. It's already hard enough. If you have the kind of stuff that I feel like I have, go out there and have confidence, you're going to be all right.

Q. As fellow starting pitchers, Ryan Dempster, three years off, threw 49 hard pitches last night in two innings against the Dominicans, and feels like he can come back and pitch again in the tournament tomorrow or the next day. How feasible do you think that would be for a guy to come back with one or two days' rest after an outing like that?
MARCUS STROMAN: I think it just depends on the individual, to be honest with you. Not sure how to answer that. But, yeah, I think it just depends on a guy's body. A lot goes in that. How guys bounce back, workout routine, kind of the treatment you're getting, there's so much that goes into that. That's not the same for every single person. So, I think it depends on the individual.

DANNY DUFFY: I think that he's got to have some kind of recovery, man. He looked good out there last night, too. He's taken a couple years off and goodness gracious, he looked really good. So, if he said that he could bounce back today, I mean, tip my cap, man. That's gnarly.

MARCUS STROMAN: That's tough to do.

DANNY DUFFY: Heck yeah.

Q. Danny, will tomorrow night be emotional for you at all? In the Dominican dugout they have the jersey of Yordano Ventura, will that be emotional for you tomorrow night when you see that?
DANNY DUFFY: Absolutely, man. I mean, it still hasn't become real to us. Truthfully, man, I mean I dream about the kid all the time. It's definitely a tough period, but none of us in that clubhouse, in the Royals clubhouse, has ever been through something like that before. You can't plan for it, I feel like you have to feel all these emotions in order to get through it and not get past it but get through it, and just band together.

I loved that kid. He was my little brother. We came up together, and obviously he had that kind of fire that you can't teach. And he rubbed a lot of people the wrong way but at the end of the day, he always had all of our backs. And sometimes when he started those fires, it would get the boys going.

So, it's going to be tough. I'm rocking No. 30 on the back of my cleats. I'm doing everything I can to honor him and just play like him. So, seeing that jersey is obviously going to be difficult. We get out to Opening Day it's going to be interesting. To really see how we're all going to approach it, because everybody grieves in different ways.

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