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WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC: FINALS


March 22, 2017


Edwin RodrI­guez


Los Angeles, California

USA - 8, Puerto Rico - 0

Q. You guys had an incredible run the first two rounds and in the semifinal. Do you chalk this up as just baseball, that just it happens in baseball one day and just you guys don't hit? Can you talk about what Stroman did?
EDWIN RODRÍGUEZ: We played against a great team. We played the USA team, and they're loaded with All-Star players. They came out today to play. They outpitched us. They outscored us. They outhit us. I mean, it was a great game.

So I think the best two teams were out there tonight, and they beat us in all phases of the game. Then again, I am very proud. All the Puerto Rico was proud with what we did. I mean, 7-1. So we come out with our heads up and very proud of what we did.

Q. Congratulations on an excellent tournament. It didn't end how we had planned, but after the game we saw that both teams got together. Can you tell us what happened when you had your gathering?
EDWIN RODRÍGUEZ: Well, truly, we are very proud. We have a record of 7-1. We were very aware that we were facing an All-Star team from the United States, and they won in all the areas of the game. The pitching was better than us, the batting was better than us. So, obviously, they won. So I believe that the best two teams of the tournament were out there, and the United States beat us.

But we feel very proud, especially when we have a new class of players that in the next three or four classes they'll be talking about us.

Q. What does a manager tell their players in the 7th or 8th inning when the game is so open, to those young players that got here and are so hungry for winning?
EDWIN RODRÍGUEZ: Well, what one tells us is you have to keep the intensity of the game and have fun. The best that they can do is come out, being aggressive for the next three innings, and enjoy whatever happens. But whatever happens, play the game as it has to be played. Respect the game, respect the results, and that's what happens.

Q. I heard this afternoon talking something that had to do with things that you want for baseball in Puerto Rico. Can you repeat that now? Also, a message for the young Puerto Ricans that are playing baseball, to see themselves in this group of youngsters that played today?
EDWIN RODRÍGUEZ: Well, specifically, I do not know what you want to hear. I know in the last eight years Puerto Rico has been able to develop good players, better players. Puerto Rico has known how to develop those youngsters, and that's why we have Francisco Lindor, Javier Baez, Carlos Correa. So there is much to do still. They're excellent athletes and very good baseball players in the minor leagues that are like 10, 12 years of age, and they need help. They need assistance from the institutions in sports and also help from the government providing whatever, even if it's financial assistance.

Also from the biggest position in the world, which is Major League Baseball. I believe Major League Baseball can do more for Puerto Rico. You have seen the great athletes we have in Puerto Rico, and, truly, I would want for the Major League Baseball to be more involved in the (indiscernible) of baseball.

Q. What do you take from this, the directors and everyone involved in this experience?
EDWIN RODRÍGUEZ: Well, we are very satisfied because we fulfilled the objective. We came here to win the championship, but with a record of 7-1, we feel satisfied, pleased with what we were able to achieve. And I believe that the foundations have been set. We have a very young team where the chemistry started to evolve, and I believe these young players in the third or fourth Classics will be playing together. And this team, what is going to become is to be better.

The young players are the ones that still have not signed in the Major Leagues will be at it. So the foundation is set, and we are satisfied that we have a very solid foundation with Lindor, Correa, Edwin Diaz, Baez, and also Joe Jimenez.

I believe that the foundation is there, and we are very satisfied. Also the people in Puerto Rico have been enjoying all these games.

Q. That was my other question. What is the message for the people in Puerto Rico?
EDWIN RODRÍGUEZ: Well, we were just waiting for this championship. They were waiting for the results, and we fought for it. But I believe that truly the two best teams of the tournament were playing today. And today, the United States, they won because they batted better and pitched better. And we were defeated by a team of All-Stars. We have our heads high. I believe the people in Puerto Rico are satisfied with the performance of our young players because they gave their hearts.

So I don't know if it's going to be now or in October, November, we will get to Puerto Rico and we will be celebrating with the people of Puerto Rico.

Q. For a second time you are in the finals, but you don't make it to the final. So do you feel are frustrated or something?
EDWIN RODRÍGUEZ: No, there's no frustration. In the last teams that reached the semifinals, if I'm not mistaken, maybe were Puerto Rico the ones who were able to provide that championship game. So we did it also in 2013. We are not frustrated. We feel very pleased. And I see that there is much hope with that group, with those young players. The I believe that the foundations are set, and in the three or four Classics ahead, we will win it.

Q. Congratulations for your play tonight. How do the players feel, seven victories straight? Tell me how the players felt. What did they say at the end?
EDWIN RODRÍGUEZ: Well, the feeling is a mixed feeling, obviously. We went out today to win the championship, but we were unable to do so. Well, we lost against a great team, the United States. But we are very satisfied what we were able to reach in this tournament with a record of seven games won and only one defeat. We feel very satisfied with that.

We saw the bleachers, we saw the audience, thousands of Puerto Ricans that came here. Thousands and thousands of Puerto Ricans also supporting us over there in Puerto Rico. So the satisfaction is huge. It has filled our hearts. So the players leave the field with having fulfilled the goal, and I know that Puerto Rico knows this, and that's why we are satisfied with the results.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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