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March 8, 2006

Buck Martinez


BUCK MARTINEZ: Good morning. I am ready for your questions.
Q. Buck, from what you've seen of Roger Clemens, do you feel like he if he wants to, he could become and have the same sort of season in the major leagues that he had last year?
BUCK MARTINEZ: From I've seen on Sunday, there's no doubt in my mind that he can come back if he chooses to. The work ethic is still there. It takes an awful lot of commitment from a player of his age to be able to get to where he is right now. And to maintain that competitive edge that he's always had and always been known for, he's put in a lot of time and effort. Certainly the stuff is there. Now it's up to him, I'm sure.
Q. Buck, how will you go about making decisions, roster decisions, for the next round? Are those going to be injury-only changes? And are players who are in the pool being appraised of their circumstances?
BUCK MARTINEZ: That's a great question. There are additional players, and the only way a player would be replaced is because of injuries. But we have no intention of making any roster changes. Knock on wood everybody stays healthy, and we'll take this 30-man group right on through.
Q. Buck, to what extent have you been watching games on television, doing a little scouting, or just because you're interested in learning what's going on in the other games?
BUCK MARTINEZ: I have been watching whenever I get a chance whenever things slow down in the clubhouse or whenever things slow down at the hotel. Certainly turning on the TV, I woke in the middle of the night and Puerto Rico was on TV in replay. I watched some of that now with BC, Panama, and Cuba playing.
We have an interest, and I think one thing we have all talked about is how, you know, some people are surprised that Bruce Chen is pitching for Panama and different guys on different teams. It's been quite enjoyable watching different rosters and watching the different reactions around the world, including in Tokyo, yeah.
Q. Buck, you've been a commentator in baseball in recent years. The situation that we're seeing with baseball right now with the SI article, the book that's coming out about Barry Bonds. Do you feel fans have a right to know whether their heroes, whether these players, have done what they've done legitimately or with performance enhancement drugs?
BUCK MARTINEZ: You know, I know that the release came out regarding Bonds and all the accusations. And quite honestly, I haven't had time to pay too much attention to it. You know, I think that we have been so focused on what we're doing it's kind of a different world that they're talking about right now. And we honestly haven't had much to say about it or think about it.
Coming from, you know, my background as a player and a manager and as a broadcaster, certainly there are different levels of retrospect that I have on that, and certainly it will take a lot more thought before I'm really in a position to make any comment about it having not read anything of the excerpts or any of the books, nor intending to do so any time soon.
Q. I didn't want to ask you whether you thought the accusations or allegations were true or not, but do fans, you feel, have a right to know whether these players who they admire, who they are cheer for, root against sometimes, are doing legitimately?
BUCK MARTINEZ: I think that's very difficult to do, because if you take normal life, would fans have the right to know about everybody's background in the real world.
The judges, the mayors, the governors, the politicians, and I think that would be a daunting task.
Q. Have you heard anything from your scouts about the South Africa team last night? It seems they put up a little more of a fight than anyone was expecting.
BUCK MARTINEZ: Interesting how words spread very quickly at the hotel. People coming back at different times. At one point we heard 3 to nothing, then we heard 4 to 3, and then we heard the score's going back and forth. I think a lot of us ran upstairs to get on the computer and watch the end of the game.
But I was so pleased for the South Africans having a chance to meet a lot of those players at the reception the other night. What a marvelous experience for them to be able to participate in this tournament. We're dealing with some high school players that, you know, are standing on the field with people that they idolized from across many, many thousands of miles.
And it brought a smile to my face. I thought, Good for those guys. They put up a heck of a fight.
Q. I sort of have a follow-up with that. How would you characterize the threat that South Africa presents to your team tomorrow or on Friday?
BUCK MARTINEZ: One thing that I have learned very quickly is that you don't take anything for granted or any team for granted in this venue. I think we saw what happened at Japan in the pool in Tokyo, and Korea knocked them off.
I think anybody takes pride in what they do when they step on the field. Amazing what national pride will do for you. We know everybody in this tournament is going to be going the extra two steps for our team. They're going to be wired to play Team USA, and we're going to respect what South Africa puts on the field.
Q. And one other follow-up. To the extent that the game does have the potential to be one-sided. Might not happen, but if it does, will you address the players in any way on how to handle that situation and how to not embarrass another team on this type of stage?
BUCK MARTINEZ: We've already addressed that given the unusual format of this tournament and the fact that there are mercy rules in place that if we did get to a point where the game was dramatically one-sided, we would continue to do everything to probably run a steal.
But if there should be a tiebreaker format, you have to continue to score runs. You don't want that to come into play as the tournament continues. But certainly we're not here to embarrass anybody, and we just want to make this a very good baseball memory for everybody involved. But, yeah, we've already addressed that.
Q. I was wondering if you could share any general observations about what Roger's presence has meant to the team and to the event itself.
BUCK MARTINEZ: Roger Clemens has a tremendous aura around him when he comes into a clubhouse. It changes the demeanor of the entire clubhouse. He's tremendously professional. He comes in, and at the same time he's not so serious that he doesn't enjoy being around with the guys.
He loves being in the baseball atmosphere. I think he's enjoyed this clubhouse and that he's with some young pitchers that he admires. Dontrelle Willis and Jake Peavy. He's got a couple Texas pitchers with in him Houston Street: Mike Timlin, you know, and his roots are very deep in Texas. He's very proud of what these guys bring to this team and -- but Rocket certainly has an aura around him, and people keep their eye on him. He works hard. He does his work. Puts in his throwing. And he throws, he gets a lot of attention from catchers and from pitchers.
Q. Buck, you're not through to the second round, but assuming you do through, in the first round you concentrated on the innings pitched not necessarily pitch counts, because the pitchers had to get up and get down. How much will you stretch them in the second round? Will they go 5 innings, or...
BUCK MARTINEZ: I think we're going to let the game dictate how far we go with them. But at the same time, we feel like we can advance them beyond three innings obviously, and the pitch efficiency of our respective pitchers will determine how far we pitch them into the game.
But the first round was going to be a challenge, obviously, because you don't know how your pitchers are going to be and how efficient they're going to be.
Yesterday was a dream come true. We got guys out there. They worked efficiently through a lot of strikes. Didn't walk anybody. And it was a great execution of a plan that you never really know what's going to happen.
But should we advance to the second round, I think the starters could be expected to pitch deeper into the game and certainly well within their pitch count.
THE MODERATOR: Any other questions?
BUCK MARTINEZ: Thank you very much.

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