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WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC: FINALS


March 19, 2017


Edwin RodrI­guez


Los Angeles, California

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Edwin?

Q. Well, how was that drive here from San Diego? And are you going to start working here in L.A.?
EDWIN RODRÍGUEZ: Well, the trip was fantastic. It was about two and a half hours to three hours to get here, and we came straight to the park. We're ready to start with our workout and also for them to know how the ball bounces from the field and how the ball runs here. The infield is fantastic. I know it's one of the best in the Big Leagues. So that will help the players get used to the field. But it's going to be a light workout, for an hour 15 to an hour 20 minutes.

Q. Tell me, how has this changed the mentality to change from two rounds of roundrobins to a direct elimination game?
EDWIN RODRÍGUEZ: Well, we started the training in Arizona, and we have maintained the same mentality; that is one pitch at a time, one game at a time, concentrating in the game at the moment. So far it's worked for us, and I'm not going to change anything in terms of strategy nor mentality.

So we're going to concentrate on tomorrow's game, Monday's game against the Netherlands. We are studying their hitters and their pitchers, and we're going to establish our strategies against the pitcher Rick van den Hurk. Then afterwards tomorrow we'll concentrate on the next game. But so far we're just concentrating on tomorrow's game.

Q. If somebody was watching the game in Asia and watching the club for the first time, how would you describe your team's style of play?
EDWIN RODRÍGUEZ: Well, this is a new version of the Puerto Rican teams, comparing with our 2013. The 2017 we are way more aggressive on the base path and way more aggressive hitters with very good arms. As starters or bullpen, we have very good, very strong arms. So comparing the 2013 with the 2017 we have more talented team. We are very aggressive in our approach, our overall approach.

Q. Your catcher Yadier Molina was named the Most Valuable Player in San Diego in that pool. How would you describe his impact on your ballclub?
EDWIN RODRÍGUEZ: Oh, we are very proud of having Yadier Molina and we are very glad that they selected him as the MVP for the series in San Diego. As a team, we are very happy for him. And the whole country also has been watching, has been celebrating his nomination. So we're very happy and it's well deserved. I mean, he's the heart of the team.

Q. Victory for you as a team is fantastic for Puerto Rican baseball that's gone through a very difficult stage in the last times. How important would it be for the infrastructure of baseball?
EDWIN RODRÍGUEZ: So far and in the island in Puerto Rico is celebrating, and it means a lot so far what we've achieved. We are ready to bring more for Puerto Rico. And we are gaining this tournament, but as I've said, we are going to concentrate and play tomorrow, win tomorrow.

But it means a lot for the current baseball in Puerto Rico as well as for baseball in the future of Puerto Rico. Not only for Puerto Rico, but the whole Caribbean area and Latin America.

Q. What will be the key in order to win tomorrow? Do you think that maybe from Japan, the travel from Japan will affect your arrival?
EDWIN RODRÍGUEZ: Well, the key for tomorrow will be the same philosophy, same strategy that we brought from Arizona on our training camps and when we went to San Diego, then when we went to San Diego. So here, now in L.A., it's going to be aggressive. But at the same time, we're going to be selective in the face of the pitches. Being very aggressive in the bases, and not only stealing them, but throwing from first to third and so forth. And the pitchers we're going to be aggressive and we're going to attack the strike zone.

Q. What have you thought about the tournament, not only how it has developed in terms of the level of how the games have been?
EDWIN RODRÍGUEZ: Well, as I said, it's been a high level. In Mexico we faced excellent teams, excellent teams in Venezuela and Italy that showed a great addition for this year, great team. And that group when we were in San Diego, without any doubts, any of the four teams could have gone forward. So Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, the United States, and Puerto Rico.

So so far the competition has been at a very high level as well as we advance. It's going to get even more competitive, and we don't expect less in L.A.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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