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March 20, 2017

Jim Leyland

Los Angeles, California

Q. What went into your decision to start Roark tomorrow, and how many pitches do you expect out of him, and how deep into the game do you think he'll go?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, we piggybacked him in a game, and he struggled a little bit. I think he threw 40 pitches. I think he's an outstanding pitcher. He's gotten the short end of the stick a little bit so far, to be honest with you, the way things worked out.

But he deserves this start. There is no doubt in my mind about it. I feel great about it. He's been a trooper. He signed up for this event, and I'm pitching him. I feel very, very comfortable about it.

Q. How much consideration did you give to bringing Archer back for this?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, I think this is a good day to get this all out of the way and cleared up. First of all, I want to make everybody clear, there are absolutely no issues with the Archer situation. In fact, it's absolutely worked out really, really well. I think Arch planned on possibly coming back, to his credit, to pitch in the final game, which they wanted him on the sixth day, which was the 16th and the 22nd. He went back there to pitch on the 16th, understandably so. His next start would be on the 22nd, which, if we're fortunate enough to move on, would be the championship game.

However, I think it worked out great, because that's the day that Stroman's supposed to pitch. So Stroman's going to pitch here and Archer's going to pitch for his club, and he's going to be their Opening Day pitcher. So I think it absolutely worked out great for everybody involved, and we didn't think it made any sense to have him fly all the way back out here if he wasn't going to pitch. So there are no issues with this.

The only confusing issue involving the Archer situation for me was the very first game when he threw 40 pitches and it was four innings, and I was assuming that he was going to throw the 65 pitches. But, evidently there was something, some pact between him and his club, the Tampa Bay Rays, that he needed to throw four innings or 65 pitches. That was the only thing that was confusing to me at all.

So I want to make sure that everybody knows this. There is no controversy here. There are no issues here. We respect him. He wanted to play. He came out, he pitched great for us, and as it turns out, everybody should be happy.

Arch is going to pitch on the 22nd for Tampa Bay, and, like I said, if we're fortunate to make it, Stroman will pitch, who has pitched well for us, he'll pitch in the final game if we're fortunate enough to make it.

So I hope everybody understands that. There are no issues here whatsoever. I certainly wish Chris the best. I know he's their Opening Day pitcher. Danny Duffy, I think, I don't want to speak to that, but I believe he's going to be Kansas City's Opening Day pitcher. I'm not sure about that, and I don't want to speak for somebody else.

But it works out really well. Tanner Roark deserves this start. We've stuck to our guns on everything we've done so far, and, hey, if we're good enough, we're good enough; if we're not, we're not.

Q. Team Japan has announced Sugano as their starting pitcher tomorrow. What is your impression of Sugano, and how do you intend your lineup to face Sugano?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, obviously I don't know a whole lot about him, to be honest with you. We have a scouting report, like I'm sure they do. So I don't really know a lot about him. I saw him pitch on television when I was watching this event. You know, he's obviously very good. He wouldn't be pitching this game if he wasn't.

The thing that stuck out of my mind was he hasn't walked anybody. He's obviously got very good control. And we're going to do a little more in-depth report on him as the day goes on today. We're getting some information from the people that have seen him. And he's obviously a very good pitcher or he wouldn't be representing Japan tomorrow. It's obvious he's very, very good.

Q. How difficult is it facing a team where you don't know most of their players?
JIM LEYLAND: Well, at this point, it is what it is. We're at the final four. This final four is a little bit earlier than the final four in the basketball tournament. So, you know, we do the best we can to get as much information as we can. But I think at the end of the day, I think all these teams, they're just going to go out and stay with their strengths. I don't think you can get too cute at this point, get too tricky about pitching guys. I think you just have to stay with your strength and may the best team win.

Q. Just looking at roster moves before this round, can you please share if you're making any moves before this round, and, if so, what they are?
JIM LEYLAND: We brought Melancon on for Smyly, and that's the only move that we've made. Unless you really have to add somebody, you know, maybe because of a slight injury or something -- what's the old saying? You dance the dance with the guy or girl that brought you, whatever that saying is, I don't know, something like that. But, anyways, these guys, we've all been together.

And the thing that I'm happiest about is that in a short period of time, and I'm really excited about this, is these guys have become a team. I mean, in the clubhouse, on the field, competing, off the field. This team in a short period of time has really become a close-knit group of guys. And I think that we've accomplished one thing, no matter how this turns out. We want this to be a memory for them. And believe me, it's going to be a memory for them no matter how it turns out. It's been absolutely fantastic.

Q. Jim, do you plan to change your starting lineup for Japan from yesterday's game?
JIM LEYLAND: Yeah, my lineup will be a little bit different. Because, obviously, Posey will catch this game. We've stuck to our guns on that as well. We're catching our catchers every other game. That's what we've done throughout the tournament. That's what we're going to continue to do.

So the lineup will be a tad different, not very much, to be honest with you. In fact, I believe that's the only change as far as who is playing. There is a little bit of a change in the batting order. But as far as who is playing, it's going to be the same group of guys with the exception of Buster Posey, who is going to catch, instead of Jonathan Lucroy.

Q. You're talking about how close the team has become. Totally different from the All-Star Game where guys stick together for a couple days. Is it almost like a Spring Training as far as these guys getting to know each other and being good friends?
JIM LEYLAND: Yeah, I think this is really different than the All-Star Game because in the All-Star Game it seems like it's over that quick. They're in and out. But this group has been together. We've been to Fort Myers together for a couple of days, playing Minnesota and Boston, we've been on the buses together. We've been on the plane together. We're in San Diego together.

So we've been together a longer period of time. And to be around these guys and to see them, I mean, I'm actually having a ball with them. I really enjoyed them. They're competing and doing just what you asked. I told them: Make this a memory, hopefully a memory that you'll never forget. And do the best you can.

When they get between the lines, we're not playing any harder than anybody else. But we're playing just as hard as everybody else, and that's all you can ask for. So I want to make this a memory.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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