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March 19, 2017

Kike Hernandez

Jorge Lopez

Los Angeles, California

Q. Jorge, what do you know about the team about tomorrow's team? What do you know? What have you seen?
JORGE LOPEZ: Well, yesterday I had the opportunity to see the games against the Diamondbacks, and I think that I'm going to just follow what Yadier asked us, which is execute each pitch, whatever he tells me. We're going to keep this communication.

Q. Coach tells me that that is a team that is different from the one that played the final. But to be in the final, and noticing how the team last year was very close, so is that on your mind?
JORGE LOPEZ: Yes, of course. Honestly, we trust in our teamwork, and everybody's going to give 100%, and we all just need to play. Just play with all our energy and have a good bullpen.

Q. You just came back to play two roundrobin games. Does the mentality change knowing that this is do or die?
JORGE LOPEZ: No, we are playing with the same confidence, and we're executing each throw, each pitch, and that is the mentality that we have so far.

Q. Jorge and Kike, knowing the importance of tomorrow's game in facing the Netherlands, because Puerto Rico is looking for the opportunity to go to the final of the World Baseball Classic, so how do you feel about this experience and the integration of young and older players in this Classic for Puerto Rico?
JORGE LOPEZ: Well, it is important every game that we have played has been important, and this will be another game that will be very important for us. We, as I said before, we are to play 100%, check in on each pitch, each throw. And the older players have shown confidence in us, and that has been key. So we're going to continue moving forward.

KIKE HERNANDEZ: Well, for me, I have played in two playoffs with the Dodgers, and I went for Spring Training with the possibility that maybe I would make it for the Major Leagues because I'm here. But I don't regret it at all. Because I have played two playoffs with the Dodgers, and the experience with this Classic does not compare with anything that I've played in the past.

In 2015 we played in New York, and last year we played against the Cubs in Chicago. So to be in this Classic, there's no comparison with the experience of being in the Major Leagues. This has been at a different level. It's an incomparable experience to share experience with Jorge and the other teammates. So so far we are the greatest talents that we have in Puerto Rico, and to hear that it is a tremendous honor to be in the same game with them.

Q. How do you feel to be here today at Dodgers Stadium? Is there something in particular you've told your teammates about this stadium? How do you feel being right at home?
KIKE HERNANDEZ: Well, obviously, it's been very cool to be here with the possibility to become the champions in Dodger Stadium. This is, as you're saying, the place that I call home the greater deal of the year.

So I tell them something about the stadium? Nothing. Because it's the same ball as it is in San Diego, Mexico, or in L.A. I have to play ball the same way, in the same way the Netherlands or the United States or Cuba play the same ball.

Q. Before the tournament, we were talking about in comparison to other countries, especially the United States, how important is this Classic for the Latin American countries. Tell me, how do you feel to be the only Latin American team still alive to be able to win the championship?
KIKE HERNANDEZ: Well, I don't think that we're thinking that we're the last Latin American team. Truly, we came to this team thinking about ourselves and only about ourselves and the fact that we're the only Latin American team, or even if the four other teams were Latin Americans, it would be the same thing because we're just playing ball against Japan, the United States, the Netherlands. We play the same ball.

So right now we're playing almost a perfect ballgame, so this is the best time to do it. So we're going to continue with the same intensity, the same desire, the same passion, and God willing, we are going to become the champions of the tournament.

Q. In the island, organized baseball has gone through a difficult decade. To win this championship will be something that will enhance baseball in the islands?
KIKE HERNANDEZ: Yes, of course. There was a time people were saying baseball in Puerto Rico was not that good, but we have young talent in the Major Leagues, and I think that the baseball in Puerto Rico is back. We have it coming for a long, long time. There are many, many young players in the minors that there are going to be excellent Major League players. So we started with the Caribbean Series that we won. The first time, like 16 years, now we are willing to bring to Puerto Rico the World Baseball Classic. So we are going ahead.

Q. How do you hit Kenley Jansen?
KIKE HERNANDEZ: How do you hit him? Well, the entire world knows what's coming. It's going to be a cutter, just like Mariano did back in the day. Kenley probably has the best cutter in the game right now, and he's going to come right at you. You know what's coming, and he's one of the best for a reason. So you've just got to make sure that you look for one pitch, one spot, one location, and if you get it, try to not miss it, because he's really good.

Q. You said yesterday that Yadier organized a group chat for you guys to keep in touch over the off-season. How much of an impact has he had in building chemistry with this group?
KIKE HERNANDEZ: I mean, it was huge. I don't think back then when it all started, when we all started talking to each other, we didn't really know what to expect out of it or what we were doing. We were just catching up with each other, getting to know each other better.

I think everybody realized once we got to Arizona how close we had become, even though we hadn't really known each other for that long. Because there were some guys that you really don't get to grow up playing with or stuff like that.

But I think that that was one of the biggest things that helped our chemistry be as good as it is right now. We're not playing really good baseball just because we have really good players. We're playing really good because we have an unbelievable chemistry and we get along so well. We care for each other, and we have the trust that if you don't get the job done, then the guy behind you is going to get it done.

And if not the guy behind you, the guy behind him. That trust that you create and you have in each other is big, and that chemistry that we have in the clubhouse is transferring to the field. So we're pretty lucky to have Yadi on our team.

Q. Would you please explain about your T-shirts?
KIKE HERNANDEZ: I think the hair can explain it.

JORGE LOPEZ: Well, this, you know, is something the guys made it. Yadi was one of the first to start it. You know, it's something different. So we just said like why not paint our hair. So it was something that's going to be good to us. It creates something different and a good thing to trust. So, it's blonde hair.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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