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March 9, 2006

Manny Acta

Daniel Cabrera

Albert Pujols


THE MODERATOR: Start with questions, we'll let you start with an opening statement about today's game in English and then we'll take questions.
ALBERT PUJOLS: It was a great game. We went out there, we knew that we were facing a pretty good team, and we just tried to not take this game for granted; go out there and play the game hard like we always do, just like we did against Venezuela and every game counts here. So that's why we're going to go out there and play hard. The last thing you want to do is do something stupid out there and don't play the game hard. You have about five or 17,000 people watching us playing, on TV and all over the place. We got millions and millions of people. And you don't want to build any bad reputation. So that's why we go out there and play the game hard.
And like you say, you got some great hitters and Adrian Beltre, I think he did a great job. Sosa coming out of the bullpen, you know, you can't ask for any more than that.
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and open it up to questions in English for the first 10 minutes. Questions, please.
Q. Albert, is there any part of you that would be disappointed if you didn't get to face the American team eventually?
ALBERT PUJOLS: I don't think. So they're in their division, we're in ours. So they are facing great, great teams over there, like we do. So right now we just try to concentrate getting ourselves to the second round. And hopefully to the finals. We can't think about the American team or the Japanese team or Puerto Rico or anybody that we face. We need to concentrate about who are we facing tomorrow, try to win that game and then move on.
So when the opportunity comes, if we face the Americans or Mexico, in the third round, then we're going to deal with it. But right now we're just trying to concentrate about this game today, with the win and concentrate about the game tomorrow.
Q. Mr. Acta, I want to know the reason why Miguel Tejada and Soriano got off day today.
COACH MANNY ACTA: We wanted to give every player a chance to participate in the tournament. And we feel that our team has enough depth, I don't think our team will suffer that much by taking a player or two here and there. And I believe that when we get to the second round, things will be a little bit different.
Q. Do we have any other players joining the roster for future games?
COACH MANNY ACTA: There is a window in that we'll have big 27 show up for the next round. And it's not etched in stone yet, but it's almost money in the bank and we're pretty excited about it.
Q. Pretty excited about what?
ALBERT PUJOLS: About Vladdy joining the team. Big 27.
Q. Tejada tweaked his knee two days ago, is he fine?
COACH MANNY ACTA: Yeah, he's fine. He's just got a little scrape on his knee. It's nothing with his cartilage or anything. They checked on it, it's a little scrape. He's ready to go. That had nothing to do with him not playing today. I really wanted to give Reyes a chance to go out there because this is a chance to do it in the first round, not in the middle of the second round or when you start facing the toughest competition.
Q. Manny, did all the talk of whether Alex Rodriguez would play third for you folks or the U.S., did that kind of overshadow how great a player Adrian Beltre is and what a great hitter he is in his own right?
COACH MANNY ACTA: Not at all. We never took for granted any of those guys in our club. Alex, that thing, we respect his decision and we stand behind it. We wanted Beltre all the way on our team. He was going to be here either way. We probably were going to be stuck with three third basemen if the other two guys would have been here.
But we always wanted him. We know him. We know the way he plays. We like him as a person on and off the field. And we seen him in winter ball before, and he was part of this team no matter who was going to join this team.
Q. For anybody who wants to answer it: As strong as this team already is, if you do get Vladimir Guerrero back on your roster, how much better can this team be with him?
COACH MANNY ACTA: I would say better because it doesn't matter how good we are right now, adding a guy like him will make us a lot better, and we're looking forward to it.
He's a guy that is really hurting right now because he's not here. Just like Pedro is. And we're looking forward to it.
You never have enough in baseball. This is not the Jordan Bulls against the Clippers. I mean it's a very short tournament. Anything can happen here. And we're not taking anything for granted. Either one of these guys can show up cold one day and face tough competition, and find yourself packing for spring training.
Q. Albert, you're two-thirds of the way done with the first round. What has been the most gratifying part of this experience for you?
ALBERT PUJOLS: Well, I would say being around the players. This is exciting. You have a lot of talent in the locker room. You have a lot of superstars. And a lot of guys that make the All Star team in the past. So it's almost like an All-Star Game, you know.
But it's a short tournament, and just being around, the first thing that I was thinking about how the guys going to react. And we have been reacting well. It doesn't matter if the guys making 500,000 or 10 million or five million, everybody is the same, and we know that we are here to win games and to represent our country. And that's our first thing.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. We'll have questions in Spanish now.

End of FastScripts...

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