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March 15, 2017

Omar Vizquel

Omar Bencomo

Hector Rondon

Francisco Rodriquez

San Diego, California

Q. The first stage for Venezuela wasn't what we expected from your point of view, especially from the group. And this is obviously a first chapter, and I'd like to know if there was some sort of work beyond the physical fitness to motivate them a bit more, something more with the psychological aspect that would be different from the work that was done before, after what occurred in Jalisco?
OMAR VIZQUEL: No, today, for the first time the group has been together before we go out to the field, we're going to talk, definitely. But I don't think it's necessary in an urgent manner. I think every one of them has their own responsibilities and they're all on the same page. We know the task that's ahead and they play ball. They're super professional. They're accustomed to this kind of atmosphere, and every one of them has the playoff game experience. They know what we're doing at this point. It's not urgent.

Q. Francisco, and one for Hector. Francisco, this is your fourth Classic, World Baseball Classic with Miguel Cabrera, who is obviously very experienced. What kind of support would you give to other players, and what do they expect from you as well? What does this mean for you to be representing the country and perhaps taken out the ghosts from the first round of the classic last time? What does it mean to be on this team looking for the title here?
FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ: Well, first, well, the young players, they need to take it easy, obviously every player, and the pressure continues to increase. Every round it increases. More than anything, it's to have a good time and to focus on what you need to do. But with regard to the second question, for me, it's a privilege to be here in the fourth World Baseball Classic and absorbing a different experience each and every time. It's a privilege to be with the best players. More importantly to have your name and actually wear Venezuela and Guanare, Caracas, Anaheim, you have a commitment. When you put your country's name, it's a heavier weight. There are 30 million Venezuelans expecting the best of you, and you will continue to live this, and we'll take advantage of every opportunity that presents.

HECTOR RONDON: In regard to your question, I'm very happy to be here to represent my country, especially with the quality of players that are present. In fact, it's also I'm a bit anxious not being in the first round. But I was able to talk to my team, and they gave me the opportunity, and to be here and give my 100%, and to also have a good time.

Q. Obviously you have tons of All-Stars on your team, lots of good players. As manager, how do you get the balance between making sure these players get their innings, get their at-bats, because we know their bosses back in Arizona or Florida are watching, and then trying to win the games?
OMAR VIZQUEL: It's got to be a good balance in between the communication that you've got with your players and the plan that you have for them. Anytime that I take a guy out of the lineup or I push into a different position, I have to talk to them. I have to get their permission first.

The most amazing thing is that everybody is ready to play any position they want. The problem is that sometimes we don't have that kind of permission to do that. It's amazing the guys that have been coming up to me saying: If you need me in the right field, if you need me to catch, I'm able to.

But sometimes they're not aware that the teams don't have that kind of permission. It shows you the passion that they have to be here and the responsibility that they have in front of their country. And I just got to talk to them and let them know that it's not as easy as they think that you're just going to play another position. We've got our rules that we have to go by, and we have to be really aware of that.

Q. Omar, I'd like to ask you of the squeeze play. It's a very Caribbean play that you have executed as a player, and this play that's similar to Alfonso Carrasquel, will we see those kinds of plays?
OMAR VIZQUEL: Well, we're not going to give that kind of strategy because then they're going to ask for many pitches outside. But it was a play that was strategized before the inning was started. When we counted which of the players were going to be on base, and it didn't actually catch us by surprise. We went out to execute it, and when you prepare the players in that manner, everything runs smoothly, especially if you're caught by surprise.

Q. I know that the managers go play-by-play and game by game. What do you think about the game with Dominican Republic? What about the consecutive games as well?
OMAR VIZQUEL: Well, the pitcher for tomorrow has been announced, and you can read it. I'm not going to tell you. With regard to the game to game, yes, right here we're thinking of game to game. I'm not thinking about tomorrow. I'm not saving a pitcher for another opportunity. I try to put the guys that are going to be good in certain positions, and then I have to think about what I'm going to do tomorrow.

Q. Francisco, like you've been asked before, the experience with the group, there are four Classics. How do you feel the group in this second phase and to have come to a major stadium with the Big Leagues?
FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ: I think the pressure has come down. It's come down. But, obviously, it goes down and it goes up. Obviously, the elements in Jalisco were very different. Whatever pitcher is in that zone, you know, those -- I think the pitchers were not breaking the ball the way they were hoping to.

We're obviously here at Petco Park, and you tend to pitch a little better, perhaps. Well, maybe, no. Maybe go out with an error, but you have a bit more space. That's critical. We'll see today. Obviously, the pressure has come down, and then we're going to go to the second round, but obviously we're at a heightened type of pressure. It's very sensitive. We obviously are dealing with an offensive that's full of superstars, and we're going to be prepared. Like Omar will ask for us to go out on the field and be prepared mentally and physically.

Q. We talk about the Classic, the World Baseball Classic and the enthusiasm that's very different, the plátano power, for instance. You as Venezuelans, do you have a power or something that motivates you internally how you can express your emotions some way or the other?
OMAR BENCOMO: Well, particularly we as Latins have something very special to us, which we have our seasoning, our way of playing ball which is very different from other countries. Our style is always going to be unique, and it will always be there, united and as teammates as well as the superstars. Those ballplayers that are actually going up in the ranks and those that are experienced. That has actually united us more to have a good team environment, team work, per se, to do what we're doing now. It is clear that this has been -- we had a first phase that was very difficult, but we will move forward.

Q. Could you compare your expectations for the Venezuelan fans tonight versus the great support that you had in Jalisco?
OMAR BENCOMO: It's very different. Our fans are kind of more hard to play against the other team because our fans are like more they joke to us more. They feel more depression from the game. That's the difference. Their baseball, their career in baseball like U.S. baseball.

FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ: Obviously, we've got more passion, more passion. Obviously, our fans probably sometimes they don't have enough patience to stick with us. In the case of U.S. fans, they're more relaxed, they're more calm. I would say they're not paying attention more to the game, but just they just relax and cheer. But our fans, they're passionate. They want to win. They want to be loud. They're going to scream. They're going to hate you. They're going to love you. So it's just a huge difference between those two.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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