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October 7, 2021

Nelson Cruz

St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

Tropicana Field

Tampa Bay Rays

Pregame 1 Press Conference

Q. Hey, Nelson.

NELSON CRUZ: Hey, good afternoon.

Q. When you came over here and you kind of got the sense of what this team, what do you think has made this team special? What has made it different? You have been on many good teams, been in the playoffs many times. What is unique or different about this team that has allowed them to do as well as they have?

NELSON CRUZ: So many points that we can mention, but I think, no doubt, we have a lot of talent, and on the offensive side, we can play defense, we can run the bases, we walk, but I think the strong part is pitching. We have definitely a really good pitching staff from the bullpen starters.

We enjoy ourselves. We have fun. Everybody shows their personality every single day. So, like I say, there's a lot of points we can mention.

Q. Nelson, I just want to ask you, what's it like being back in the postseason, and for a player of your age, just does it come to your mind that, hey, I don't know how many more runs like this I have in me?

NELSON CRUZ: Definitely it's a privilege to be back.

The first two times that I went to the playoff, I make the World Series, and I thought, oh, this is easy, and it has been ten years since the last time I was in the World Series.

I have a chance to be three more times before this one in the playoff, but it's not easy, and I know. Believe me I know how important each game is.

It matters, every play and every aspect of the game. So I'm really aware of that.

Q. Hi, Nelson. I know you're aware of that. You have a lot of young players. How do you impress that upon them that as much as this team has won the last couple of years, you never know when your next chance will be?

NELSON CRUZ: I mean, most of the players that we have out there they're experienced. I think the starters, Franco, besides those guys, you know, most of them have experience in the playoff from last year.

I don't think you're going to change anything. You just have to be yourself, you know, and trust that the work that you put in every day and just go out there and execute.

Q. I know you haven't had much time around him, but what's the best way to describe Brett Phillips as a teammate, and even though he is not --

NELSON CRUZ: Who again?

Q. Brett Phillips. How would you describe him as a teammate, and even though he is not on the roster, what's it like to have that energy on the bench?

NELSON CRUZ: He is one of those guys, like I say, we have a lot of personality. I think he is the one that show up the most. He come up every day with energy, that intensity. It don't matter if he is playing or not, he always come with that smile. He is a really, really nice kid. One of the best teammates I've ever have all around. He cares about each and every one out there. So unfortunately, he is not on the roster.

Q. Since the trade, your numbers have not been as strong as they were as the first half of the season. Is there something you can put your finger on, or is it just part of the natural ebbs and flows of a season?

NELSON CRUZ: Nothing in particular. I think I was doing exactly the same as I was doing there. I guess the change of the atmosphere that can also give me more than what I expected to get adjusted.

At the those numbers don't mean anything right now. What's important is what's ahead in front of us, and we just have to take care of what we have today.

Q. Nelson, just to come back to the atmosphere that you said, I know you mentioned once before trying to get adjusted to the Trop and the lighting. How much of that has impacted maybe part of what you are talking about?

NELSON CRUZ: Impact what?

Q. Your hitting, how much of that has been impacted maybe by the lights at the Trop and just getting used to the different setting of indoors and that kind of thing?

NELSON CRUZ: I believe we all play in the same stadium, so it's no excuse about Trop or lights or anything. It's all about myself, you know. I'm the one that has to go out there and perform, so no excuse.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks for coming in. As one of the Roberto Clemente nominees, thank you for all the work you do.

NELSON CRUZ: Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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