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WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC: 2ND ROUND POOL F


March 14, 2017


Edwin RodrI­guez

Javier BĂĄez

Seth Lugo


San Diego, California

Q. I'm wondering if you could talk about putting together your pitching staff, and especially about how you chose the starting pitcher tonight?
EDWIN RODRÍGUEZ: For tonight or for the whole?

Q. For both.
EDWIN RODRÍGUEZ: Well, for the tournament, that's what you mean. Yeah. Puerto Rico doesn't have many options like Dominican or United States. So it was a big task for us to put everything together. Not only trying to figure out and trying to identify who is available, but also getting the permission from the organizations.

So, yeah, it was a huge task for us. But I think we put together a very good pitching staff with the starters, relievers, and all of that. And take into consideration that the first round is only 65 pitches, we were looking for six starters eventually. So it came out pretty good, and we are very pleased the way it came out.

So for tonight, Orlando RomĂĄn, the starter for tonight, he's been around for quite a while. As a matter of fact, he's pitching on his fourth -- he participated in all the editions of the Classic WBC. So he's been pitching in the States, he's been pitching in Taiwan and Japan and the Caribbean series. He's a veteran guy, and hopefully he will keep us in the game for three or four innings.

Q. Javier, I was wondering, having been in the playoffs last year in the World Series, how do you compare and contrast that experience from this experience?
JAVIER BÁEZ: Well, it's really similar. I mean, when I get a little bit -- when I speed up a little bit, I think about last year playing the World Series, and that helped me a lot to slow down and slow the game down.

Q. For everyone, I think the whole world is sort of waiting for this matchup tonight. It was proved to be so great four years ago. I think clearly two teams are certainly in the top three or four, maybe the top one and two in the tournament. What's it feel like tonight? What sort of impact will it have in Puerto Rico and the Dominican?
EDWIN RODRÍGUEZ: Well, I think I was the only one on the team in 2000 -- from 2013, so we were waiting for this matchup for four years. Javier Báez, he was not on the team. I think he was maybe in rookie ball, who knows. But I think that he was watching that game, and he was counting and visualizing himself in that game. You know, four years from then, now he's going to be a big part of that lineup on that team.

So like you said, not only Puerto Rico, but pretty much the Latin American countries have been waiting for this matchup. We are -- I mean, that's what we've been working for. That's -- we want to face the best. And just to add to that question, I think that in this one, this group right here, I think having Venezuela, USA, Dominican and Puerto Rico, I would like to say that from this group, I think we're going to have the championship and the -- the champion team and the runner-up. I think this group is that good.

Q. Where did you watch that game from?
JAVIER BÁEZ: I'm not sure. I was watching the game. I don't know where I was, but I was for sure watching it. Like he says, everybody's been waiting for this matchup playing Puerto Rico and Dominican. I mean, we almost -- the whole time together, there's Puerto Ricans all over the place, and there's Dominicans all over the place. Obviously Venezuela, too, and United States. So I think this match is going to be great. It's going to be great for our Latinos, and it's going to be great for the fans. So we've just got to go out there, have fun.

You know, we're brothers, all the Latinos are brothers, but when we go on the field, we're playing against, so there is a war, so.

EDWIN RODRÍGUEZ: I would like to hear what Seth Lugo has to say about that.

SETH LUGO: Well, in 2013 I was just off my back surgery, so I wasn't watching. I didn't know if I was going to play ball again. So watching baseball was kind of tough for me that year. But I'm excited to be part of it this year.

Going along with what they said, I think this is the best four teams in the tournament, and that's where you want to be with, the best. So I'm excited where we're at and ready to go.

Q. Good afternoon, Javier. What motivated you to pick Orlando RomĂĄn, and independent from Jose here, you had Jorge LĂłpez. Why did you pick Orlando RomĂĄn?
EDWIN RODRÍGUEZ: First of all, Seth Lugo or Jorge López, were not part of the group. We needed to give them an extra day because of the limit of the pitches. It wasn't allowed. They were allowed to pitch today. That's why we went with Orlando Román. Obviously, if I were there and he were available, Lugo or López would have been the first pitcher, and we were comfortable with having named Orlando Román.

Q. This confrontation with the Dominican Republic, because this is the first time that you're going to confront the Classic, the last Classic, is this one of these Classic games for Puerto Rico? And taking into account what occurred then?
JAVIER BÁEZ: Of course, yes, Puerto Rico and Dominican are very similar. We're a country we play baseball with lots of flavor, with lots of energy. Like I said in English, there are many Dominicans in Minor and Major Leagues, and that's what we're trying to do with the Puerto Ricans, and with all Latinos and those that are taking the path, those that are taking the right path, and it's exciting here to be here and to represent Puerto Rico.

Q. Seth, what did you learn from the Jalisco round of the WBC that you can apply to this next round?
SETH LUGO: I would say --

Q. Anything about your pitching or about the approach or about the energy in the stadium, just these kind of things that could help you or things that could distract you to deal with them better?
SETH LUGO: I mean, one thing, I know that I've got the defense behind me, so I don't have to worry about making the best pitch or trying to strike people out. If I can just throw quality pitches in the zone, these guys are going to make great plays behind me like they've been making all tournament. I'm just going to try to stay with the same approach, and attack the zone, attack the hitters, and let these guys do what they do best.

Q. Edwin, can you describe how Orlando pitches? I have not seen him. Does he intend to go back and pitch in Japan again this year? Just give us sort of a scouting report?
EDWIN RODRÍGUEZ: Yeah, Orlando Román he has an offer to go to Taiwan. He already has an offer. But he also is waiting for Japan. The last week I think a team from Japan called him, and he's been there for the last three or four years. So he would like to go to Japan again, but he already has an offer from Taiwan.

Q. And his pitches, what does he look like?
EDWIN RODRÍGUEZ: He's not overpowering. I would say 88, 89 miles per hour. But he changes speed very good and location like any regular veteran pitcher.

Q. Seth, I'm going back to you. I had spoken to Aaron Sanchez who would have pitched for Team Mexico if they had advanced. How does it feel for you to face the U.S.? It is a team that you could have played for, being born in Louisiana, and the fact that you're going to face them?
SETH LUGO: It's exciting. I mean, I want to get them out, win against them as much as I did against Venezuela. Any team I face, I want to get out.

But growing up I've always thought of myself as Puerto Rican, even though I'm from Louisiana and stuff. But I'm proud to be on this side rather than the other side.

JAVIER BÁEZ: Boom.

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