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March 18, 2006

Manny Acta

Albert Pujols


THE MODERATOR: We're going to get started with our procedures. I want to welcome you to our formal interview session. My name is Kenya Jimerson, and I'm joined by Dina our Spanish interpreter and Jacki Noh. We have Team Dominican Republic joining us in a few minutes.
We ask that you have one question, and if you have two or three questions, if you could combine them into one or we'll come back to you if we have time, we just want to make sure we get a fair number of questions from the audience.
Also, we ask that you keep your questions pertaining to baseball and the tournament, and also if you could be brief and speak slowly when you're stating your question. We thank you for your cooperation and we'll begin shortly.
Team Manager Manny Acta and player Albert Pujols, Team Dominican, if you would like to respond in Spanish, we will have Dina interpret in English, or vice versa. We will take our first question.
Q. How do you feel about being eliminated?
MANNY ACTA: Obviously we fell short a little bit of our aspiration in this tournament to make our people proud, but I think they should be proud of us anyway. I'm proud of my team because they really went at it hard like professionals for the two weeks we were here.
All the credit goes to the Cuban team, Marti, Lazo, they did outstanding to stop this lineup, and obviously we didn't get anything going offensively and they deserve the credit so we wish them luck. I'm proud of the Dominican Republic, I'm proud to be a U.S. citizen and I'm very proud of how my team played in this tournament.
ALBERT PUJOLS: Like Manny said, he was a great manager, we got along real well, and our team should be proud. We fell short, we wanted to win the whole thing, not just for us, for our country. But our good Lord just told us this is where to stop.
We wish them the best, the Cuban team. They played a great game. They hit the runs, they played defense and the pitchers pitched well. If you look at our lineup, it's not really easy to pitch when you have myself, David Ortiz, (Miguel) Tejada, from the first hitter to the last hitter they can hit better than any other team. That's the way it goes. I wish them the best of luck, and hopefully they can win the whole thing.
Q. From all the teams in the Americas, the favorites were the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. That was the positive side. The negative side or the down side was that most of the players that play in Major League Baseball on the teams in the U.S. were in spring training. Do you think that that had any factor, not being in shape 100 percent?
MANNY ACTA: I'd rather give them credit than make excuses. I think everybody in baseball knew, even before the All Star Break last year that we were going to play this baseball classic, and everybody that had the desire to play prepared themselves to play for this tournament. Yes, they didn't have 100 at-bats or whatever before this, but we got all the way to the seventh game. We played two rounds, the guys saw enough pitches, they had enough at-bats, and there's no excuses.
It's a terrific pitching staff. I can see why Cuba dominated the international competition. Their pitching is legit. They can throw guys out there every single day that can pitch in the big leagues. There's the example out there. Out of most of the guys that have come out of there, there's not that many position players that have dominated in the big leagues, but the pitching, Livan, Orlando Hernandez, (Jose) Contreras, even back in the days of (Rolando) Arrojo and Rene Arocha, they have come out of there and they've made some type of contribution in the big leagues, so their pitching is legit, and that's why they beat us.
Q. Manny, how was Bartolo (Colon) feeling after six innings, and do you think he had another inning in him?
MANNY ACTA: He couldn't. He had a blister on his finger, and he said it's up to you guys if you want me to come out, but he was full of blood. He only had about ten more pitches to go anyway for the plan that we had, and we took him out of there. We can't complain. I don't think (Odalis) Perez threw the ball bad or any of the other guys, but I appreciate Bartolo's effort.
Q. This question is for Manny. Do you think that what you needed is more pitching? Because you had very good hitting.
MANNY ACTA: No, I didn't think we needed any more pitching. I think our pitching was great. Actually things kind of flip-flopped a little bit. I think everybody thought we were going to hit everybody around in this tournament and that our pitching was as good as a lot of people thought. Our pitching did a very good job, and we just fell short. It wasn't lack of pitching at all.
ALBERT PUJOLS: Can I add something to that? Were you watching the game? Because I don't think you watched the whole tournament. I don't think our bats responded the way they were supposed to respond. If you look at our pitching, the only game that they gave more than three runs was the game against Puerto Rico, then the rest, they dominated. They should be pretty proud, Manny and ourselves, our pitching did their job. We just didn't find the offense.
I don't think you were watching the whole tournament. Look at the job that Bartolo and Odalis and Salomon (Torres) and at (Julian) Tavarez did. They could have scored a lot of runs with bases loaded and they came out and dominated and got out of the inning with one run, so we're pretty proud of the job that they did.
Q. Manny, if you had advanced to the finals, would Vlad Guerrero have been here and played for you?
MANNY ACTA: I don't think so, not that I'm aware of, no. I can't say that because I wasn't aware of that.
Q. What did (Pedro) Lazo do that made him so effective, and also the importance of getting out of that first and third with no one out and not scoring. What did he do that was so effective?
ALBERT PUJOLS: He just missed his pitch. The guy is a veteran guy. He just threw his sinker, slider. I mean, you see the gang in Puerto Rico, they came with the best sluggers and got out of a jam. That's the way it goes. He made some good pitches and threw a good slider on me, and he just came right away. I think that ball hit to shortstop would have gone through that Ortiz hit, I think the ballgame would have been changed. They played great defense. (Eduardo) Paret, I think he made a good shortstop, and that's the way it goes. There's no more talking, no more excuses. They played good baseball and beat us today.

End of FastScripts...

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