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March 20, 2017

Adam Jones

Tanner Roark

Eric Hosmer

Los Angeles, California

THE MODERATOR: We welcome Adam Jones to my near left and Eric Hosmer to my far left.

Q. For both of you, having been together now for a couple of weeks, are there some guys that you really become close to that are almost like best friends that you really didn't know until before you came to this tournament?
ADAM JONES: I think it's camaraderie. You figure it out. Especially in a tournament this intimate, you get a good sense of the guys around you because we're going into battle with each other. I look at it like the military, you go into it not knowing who is to your right and to your left, but you figure out very quickly who is to your right and to your left. The team that's been assembled, it's just a cohesive unit. Everybody wants to be there for the next person. It's not like an I, I, I. Everything that's been spoken in that clubhouse has been "we," and you see the sacrifice the individuals are making for the greater good of this team.

ERIC HOSMER: Same thing to what Adam said. You've got a team that a lot of guys have a lot of individual accolades, and you see guys are doing roles they're really not used to doing. That's been the mentality for all of us this whole entire tournament is we're going to do anything we can to win.

It's special when you get a group of guys this talented together that are willing to do those type of roles and willing to do whatever the team wins. That's usually when special things happen.

Q. Your shirt and the slogan on it, what is the origin of it, who came up with it, and what has that meant to your team this tournament?
ADAM JONES: Well, I came up with it through some friends of mine. It symbolizes how I play and how basically how everybody else on this team plays on their individual teams. They grind it out. You have guys on the team that are 150-game-plus players, and that shows, first off, how healthy they are, strong-minded they are, and how much they just absolutely love this game to where they want to be on that field no matter what.

We grind as a unit. And that's a term that's been used around all of sports. Because at the end of the day, you have to grind it out. There are going to be ups and downs in the season. You're going to have great weeks, bad weeks, whatever. But you keep it even keeled and grind it out, and usually good things tend to happen.

Q. For both of you, as you think about this game, and of course we saw an amazing celebration, really, of the two American and Dominican baseball cultures both in Miami and San Diego, now these are players from Japan that you maybe don't know as well. But how exciting is it to see the American style of play, the Japanese style of play on this field, on this stage?
ERIC HOSMER: I think that's what makes this tournament so unique is especially when you get this far you start digging into the other brackets and you see the different type of style of play, you see the different players. You learn about the different players from Japan.

I that's think that's pretty cool when we get so caught up in playing against the guys in the league that we compete against all the time. There is so much more talent out there. Especially the Japanese players. We've heard about some of these guys and we've heard about the guys that aren't here, so to actually get to compete against them on the field and see their style of play is going to be a fun experience for all of us.

ADAM JONES: I think the diversity of this game is beautiful, the far east coast and now we're on the west coast. It's just, like I said, the diversity and the reach that this great game of baseball has had not just in the United States but in the world. That's where it's really special. It's unique.

Like I said, the diversity in this game is just tremendous. It's great that the reach is reaching everybody, not just the United States, but global.

Q. To both of you, can you tell us what you know about Team Japan so far, and what do you have to take care of tomorrow in facing them in the semis?
ADAM JONES: What I know about them is that they play a very clean game, fundamentally sound. They move runners over. They hit behind the runners, they bunt. They don't make many errors fielding. They are a very, very fundamentally sound team.

When I first got in the Bigs seeing Ichiro, how fundamentally sound he was, and making sure that he just caught the ball, threw it to the right base, threw it through the cutoff, just did the little things to get the team win, he did. You know, watching a little bit of the WBC games, you see that they're fundamentally sound and they just play a very clean game.

ERIC HOSMER: Yeah, I mean, same thing. You know that typically guys that come over that are in the league that are Japanese players, they're extremely disciplined. They really bear down on the fundamentals, so you know it's a team that's probably not going to make a lot of mistakes.

I think it's a team that's going to capitalize on another team making mistakes. So we just want to stick to playing our game. We know the type of game that we can play, and we feel good when we play those games, and we feel that we'll be successful on most nights if we can execute the things we're going to try to execute. So that's basically what we're going to try to stick to.

THE MODERATOR: We've been joined by United States pitcher Tanner Roark.

Q. Tanner, you pitched last year against the Dodgers in the playoffs, but it was a best of five. What do you think about pitching in something like this where it's a single-elimination game tomorrow? Is this the most important game of your career? How do you measure it up? I'd like to know from you two guys, too, what you think about this as a single elimination? The only thing in the regular season in baseball is the Wild Card game that compares to it.
TANNER ROARK: Yeah, it's definitely a big game for myself and for the rest of the guys in the clubhouse. So we're just going to go out there and do our thing, play together, have fun, and give it our all.

Q. Is it the biggest game of your career?
TANNER ROARK: So far, yes, I'd say so, with the single-elimination and everything. But go out there and leave it all out on the field.

Q. What do you guys think?
ADAM JONES: I mean, it's pretty big. I mean, Hos is the one here who's played in the World Series the most, and he can attest that Game 7 of the World Series and just anything in the World Series is probably on this scale, if not bigger.

But for me, I've been to the ALCS against him, and those were obviously my biggest games because obviously the magnitude and what it meant for MLB.

But aside from MLB and the WBC, this is the most important game that we're playing outside of our culture of our own team. So it's special. I'm glad that more attention, as we've garnered more attention as the USA team, and we've got more people on our back now, more people on board with the WBC. A lot of people are saying this is good and bad for the league, but I think when USA is still in it, I think people are like, okay, they jump on board and think that we can do something special.

So hopefully we can just continue to ride this wave and grind it out for the man next to us.

ERIC HOSMER: As far as atmosphere and energy goes, this is comparable to a playoff game, to a World Series game. Honestly, as players, this is the type of atmosphere of games you dream about playing in.

So we feel that we've got the right group of guys in there that want to play in these situations that live to play in these situations. It's special when you get to play in a Game 7 situation in a do-or-die situation when there is a lot on the line.

So as players, we feel like this is what brings the best out in us. So, like we said, we like the group of guys that we have. It's a group of guys that are willing to be in situations like this, so we feel real comfortable going in.

Q. Eric, what would you tell guys that didn't want to do this, that were invited and said, no, no thanks, I'd rather just stay with my club, now that you've been through this for two weeks?
ERIC HOSMER: I don't really know. I just know the group we have, and I know we like the group we have. It says something about a player that wants to be in these situations. It's do or-or die situations, and Game 7 situations when you come down to this point in time in the tournament. So we feel we have a group of guys that want to be in those situations.

That's one thing that we can all account for is going through this tournament, playing the different countries and going to battle for your country. It's just special. It's a different feeling. It's a different energy. It's a different type of atmosphere throughout the stadium, but it's a fun one to play in.

I know we've enjoyed this experience, but that's the biggest thing of it. We're not just here for the experience, but we're here to put USA on top of the baseball world. We have two more big games to play, obviously, one with a tough team in Japan, so we just want to take care of business.

Q. Many Japanese fans were surprised by your big catch in San Diego. And I'd like to know, how did your mental condition, once you exhausted from the previous game with such a big play, or is it in the best condition now?
ADAM JONES: I play 27 outs. It's just how I play. It doesn't matter how I'm feeling, I'm going to give it my all until that game is over. I've seen it all over SportsCenter and all the various outlets of the catch, and it was great. But that was last game. Now I need to do something to help my team win against Japan.

So I'm just looking forward to an opportunity to hopefully make another great catch like that or get a hit or do something to where I can help uplift this team again.

Q. A while ago Eric said that you guys had heard of some of the players on the Japanese team. Who are some of the guys that you've heard of? And is there anyone over there that you're kind of excited to see or excited to compete against?
ADAM JONES: I've heard of Nori Aoki. Played against him. That was one of Hos's teammates. But if you're a fan of the game, as most of us are, you watch your fellow athletes and baseball players across the world play. We've seen some of the other WBC games. They come on at 6:00 o'clock in the morning when we're getting up in Spring Training. So we've been able to watch other people.

At the end of the day, we have admiration for anybody that's going out there and putting on a uniform and playing their hearts out and playing this great game of baseball.

So, yeah, I'm excited, first off, just to see the competition. Obviously they've fought their way and clawed their way to get into the semifinals. A great pool and great tournament that they had in Japan, and, like I said, just excited to see how far and how the reach of this game has grown and just to see the talent that the Japanese team's going to put out there. And they're going to put out a great product, and so are we. So I'm excited.

Q. Tanner, it's been a while since you last pitched in a game. How is your condition right now, and what will be the key for pitching tomorrow against the lineup you've never seen before?
TANNER ROARK: Everything feels great, body feels great. Yeah, it's been a little bit since I've been in there facing live hitters. But the key is to pitch to my strength, and that is throw strikes and get outs. I mean, as a starter, that's what you're supposed to do. So I'm going to go out there and give it my all for as long as I can until they take me out.

Q. Along the same lines, how have you stayed sharp? What have you done to stay sharp?
TANNER ROARK: Multiple bullpens, you know, just trying to stay within myself and since I haven't been out there on the mound so much and facing hitters, just trying to stay mentally focused on the game, even though I'm not in there. Just watching how the hitters react, and just watching and trying to learn as much as I can from all these guys.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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