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March 11, 2017

Didi Gregorius

Xander Bogaerts

Jonathan Schoop

Tokyo, Japan

Q. What's your condition today?
XANDER BOGAERTS: I mean, we feel good. We obviously qualified to Japan for the second round and we have a good team. Everyone is pretty confident, pretty upbeat. We got in pretty late last night, but today we'll practice, and we'll be in pretty good shape and get some rest tonight and play tomorrow.

JONATHAN SCHOOP: Yeah, like Bogaerts said, we feel good, we have got a pretty good team. We believe in each other, like we pick each other up. When we do a good job if I don't do it, he will try, and everybody in this team will pull for each other and everybody will cheer each other. Like everybody has one goal, try to win the championship.

DIDI GREGORIUS: Like he said, we've got a really good condition. We came in late last night, but we practiced today, everybody's healthy and everybody's ready to go tomorrow. I think that's the best part. Everybody's ready to go.

So we have a great team, great guys, everybody is helping each other. Our condition, our chemistry is really good here, so it's nothing new for us. Hopefully we can advance to the next round.

Q. Tomorrow you play against Japan and the three of you have experience playing against Japanese players in the major leagues. What do you think of the Japanese pitchers?
XANDER BOGAERTS: Japan's pretty good, especially those that's been in the U.S., Tanaka, Maeda last year. Japan has very good pitching. We're looking forward to them. We have a good team. We have a lot of guys in the big leagues with experience. Obviously Coco playing over here on the team will help us a lot. He knows most of the guys, so he can tell us a bit about them.

But we have a good team and we're looking forward to it.

JONATHAN SCHOOP: You know, they are really good. Like good pitching and they come back really good, but we have good experience, too. We face them a lot, too. Like Bogey said, we got more experience now, and we know what they can do, and they know what we can do, too.

DIDI GREGORIUS: I've played with Tanaka, so it's kind of fun to see him pitch because he's a really good pitcher. There's a lot of pitchers from here that plays in the States, and they have really good command and everything. Everybody is doing their job and what they are supposed to do.

We as a team here now, we played against them, too, in the States, so we have our experience, too, in the major leagues and all those pitchers that we faced. I mean, we're doing our job, they are doing their job; may the best one win.

Q. In this tournament, we don't have these major leaguers from Japan pitching, but tell me about your motivation for the game tomorrow.
XANDER BOGAERTS: You don't have big league pitching, but we have a lot of big league players. Coco will be huge, and Andruw Jones has also played over here; he's coaching right now. They are two guys that we can definitely go to for information. They know this kind of pitching, and they know what we are trying to do and they know how to roll out the game plan. We have an advantage I think on that point.

JONATHAN SCHOOP: I think our motivation is like belief in each other. Don't worry about what just worry about us, what we have to do to win and the best will win. Come out tomorrow and get some rest and come tomorrow and play hard and try to win.

DIDI GREGORIUS: Well, I would say, both teams has experienced big leaguers they advanced to the second round; they are here to play, and so we are advancing, too. So both teams are actually playing really good. So you know, we have probably a little bit more experience, guys that have played here in Japan and everything. So they can give more info. They have info off us, too. We still have got to play the game, nine innings or extra, but you've still got to play your best game.

Q. You have many players that were born in Curacao, and the young Curacao brothers as we see them at the WBC, they can play together in the same team. So this gives you a very relaxed mood in your team, right? That's what we see here. What does it mean to be together in WBC in the same team playing together?
DIDI GREGORIUS: So they played the little league World Series, so they have more experience than everybody because he played against him a long time. But we're relaxed and we have a lot of experience, and I think that's what they showed, that we're relaxed but we still want to play the game the right way and be ready for it.

But we have a lot of confidence. That's the way it shows, that we're taking it as easy, but we have a lot of confidence and a lot of guys with a lot of experience. So we know what we have to do. If you play the game the right way, you have nothing else to worry about. I think they can probably say the same thing but that's what we shoot for and we've got to play our best game out there, and then put your best foot forward every day.

JONATHAN SCHOOP: The chemistry that we have is really good. We have really good chemistry, and we help each other out, too. Like Didi say, like you tell me too much, like Bogey say and we listen and we're trying to be better and trying to win. That's all that matters, no matter if somebody goes 0 for 4 or somebody goes 4 for 4, we've got to win.

XANDER BOGAERTS: Growing up, I played with these guys a lot. I played with Didi, and the familiarity is pretty unique here. We knew each other as kids and we played against each other, and now we're playing in the big leagues in the same division, so we see each other a lot and obviously we have a lot of confidence in the team we have and hopefully we can put up the numbers.

Q. I would like to ask the three of you, the second round is going to start and then the semifinals, and the finals, but in a short tournament like this, you have the game against Japan tomorrow, but what is important, what is key to be successful in a short tournament like this?
XANDER BOGAERTS: Winning, obviously winning is the most important part. Obviously if we can win the first game it would definitely be huge. We won the first one in the last round. So just come out hot, come out and win the first game. That's the most important part, and keep the momentum going.

JONATHAN SCHOOP: I think the same. You know, just win, and belief in each other. It's a short tournament, and it's not a series like a four game series, it's one game, and the first game is going to be huge. Win the first one and you're in better shape, and just believe in each other, it's one game, and play hard and compete and win.

DIDI GREGORIUS: Well, in this shorter series you've got to come in prepared, and you have to come with the right momentum. Like they were saying, you have to play your best game and I think that's what you go by. You don't have a chance to redo the game, so it's only one game against each team, and you've got to play your best. You've got to put your best foot forward like I keep saying the whole time, stay positive and help each other out because we are a team, and we have to push each other the right way so we keep advancing.

Q. Xander and Jonathan, you guys were on the 2013 team, and same thing, you've gone through the big league ranks. How do you feel you've grown as players since that tournament?
XANDER BOGAERTS: I think we've grown a lot honestly. I remember we were still young. Jonathan played real well in that tournament, especially in the game against Japan. Hopefully he can do that again. We grew a lot. We grew a lot. That helped us. The stadium here gets pretty loud. The fans get so excited. It's a lot of jumping, a lot of screaming, a lot of loud noises.

It's unbelievable to think that we made it to the big leagues and now here we are again three or four years later and trying to do it in the second round against Japan. It definitely helps us a lot.

JONATHAN SCHOOP: You know, I remember 2013, we were young, but now we have more experience. We have two sluggers already and Didi, we've got a good team. We've got good experience, like Andruw Jones is the coach now, can help us a lot, too. Coco played here, and they done a lot. Their experience is better and the maturity is better, too. I know I'm better than I was 2013, and this guy is way better, too, and Didi, too, we are better, and we are going to be better. That's the goal.

DIDI GREGORIUS: Well, I've matured a lot in the game. In the past few years I've learned a lot about myself. I think that's what everybody wants to do. You have to learn what you're capable of when you go out there and play the game. I mean, like they were saying, you know, everybody is going to make improvement, make adjustments, everyone wants to be successful in the game and you want to keep going forward with that.

Got to keep maturing and keep doing things the right way on the field and off the field. I think all of us at the table does it and hopefully get better even more.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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