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March 7, 2006

Lenin Picota

Anibal Reluz


THE MODERATOR: Good evening, everybody. Welcome to the post-game formal interview of the Panama and Puerto Rico game of the World Baseball Classic. My name is Barbara Marin. I will introduce team Panama. Interviews will be conducted in English and Spanish. We ask you to please be patient as the entire process will be interpreted from Spanish to English for our stenographers who will be recording this interview.
Our interpreter is Francisco Campo.
I'm going to open the floor for questions. The microphone is on the right.
Q. Before this game, nobody talked about Panama, only Puerto Rico and Cuba. What's the impression about the Panamanian team after the game tonight?
LENIN PICOTA: It was great for me to pitch in this game, to be named by the manager, and being able to pull out such a good game in such a tough competition where all the hitters are from the big leagues. I really feel good. All my pitches were around where I wanted them. I was just trying to keep the game close so our hitters could make some runs.
Q. In a game like today that was very hard, how do you prepare your team for the next games, knowing that you came so close to the victory tonight and you're going to be facing two other games and very hard ones in the near future?
ANIBAL RELUZ: Before I respond to your question, I want to add to what the players said. When we came here, we were the underdogs, but tonight we showed that we can do better than that. We have players that want to win, that have the confidence and the will to play well and win and it was shown on the field tonight.
In response to your question, we're very, very highly motivated. We played very well tonight. We came this close to beating Puerto Rico, and we believe in God and we will be playing very hard in the next couple of games. Believe us, we're going to try to win, and we came here to do well.
Q. You certainly won a lot of respect tonight with your game against Puerto Rico, but it is always hard to start with a defeat, so how are you going to see the future games over the next couple of days?
ANIBAL RELUZ: As a manager, you need to know the players, and we understand that we have a very short period of time to recover. We're going to be playing almost every day, so it's going to be difficult.
But as I said earlier, we're here to play. We're going to try our best, and we're going to win some games.
Q. In the 9th inning when the player was struck out, was he trying to steal the base?
ANIBAL RELUZ: At that moment, the batter -- the play he was on was a hit and run, but the hitter missed the play. So we had on deck the ninth hitter, a pinch-hitter that's got power, so we were trying to get that runner into scoring position in order to bring the pinch-hitter for the 9th inning.
Q. What went into your decision to pitch Bruce Chen tomorrow against Cuba, and do you think his experience in the majors will help him against a team you don't really know much about?
ANIBAL RELUZ: We have played against Cuba in the past. We know the Cuban team pretty well. Our players know the Cubans, so we know that he is somebody who can adjust to the play and to the different players, so we are confident that he will do well against the Cubans.
Q. Are you going to have any changes in your lineup against the Cubans tomorrow?
ANIBAL RELUZ: We haven't heard who the Cubans are going to be using tomorrow, if it's a right thrower or a left thrower or if it's somebody who throws the slow balls or fastballs, so depending on who the person is, then that's how we're going to line-up our team tomorrow.
If it's a left-handed pitcher, we'll have a change in the first baseman and the last hitter, the second baseman.

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