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WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC POOL B: MEXICO CITY


March 7, 2009


Vinny Castilla

Adrian Gonzalez

Oliver Perez

Joakim Soria


MEXICO CITY, MEXICO

THE MODERATOR: Good morning. Thank you for being here to kick this Classic off. From left to right, Joakim Soria, Adrian Gonzalez, Vinicio Castilla and Oliver Perez. Vinicio, we're going to ask you what new comments do you have about your team?
VINICIO CASTILLA: It's an honor to represent our country in the top tournament. We held the same game three years ago, and we played it, as well. It was a great thing for baseball because it created lots of fans, and it's a great way of promoting baseball worldwide. We're doing this with our hearts in our hand. We're happy to play for Mexico.
We feel proud, and we feel honored to wear the colors, and we will give the best of ourselves.

Q. (No microphone).
VINICIO CASTILLA: How are we feeling? We're feeling the same way. We want to represent Mexico and represent Mexico properly and do so with honor, but we have a goal in mind, and the goal is to win.

Q. Good morning, Vinicio. The three games that you saw, what did you pick up? Are you worried about anything during the three preparation games?
VINICIO CASTILLA: No, we're ready. We've seen the Major League Baseball teams and we've seen the teams here. Everyone is playing great. Now the problem is that we all woke up at 5:00 in the morning to catch an early flight to Hermosillo. People are happy. People are ready for this great game.

Q. (No microphone).
VINICIO CASTILLA: It depends on the pitching. The players are willing to play, and it's important. You have to be very willing to do your best.

Q. Vinicio, your reputation is not very well known internationally, but in Mexico it is. Do you think it's fundamental not to have an excess of confidence like the Dominican Republic?
VINICIO CASTILLA: No, we're definitely not trusting anything. This is a Classic game. We know each game is very important against the different countries. Every single game, we will face it knowing we have to play the best we can.
THE MODERATOR: We want to hear from each one of the players.
OLIVER P√ČREZ: Good morning. For me it's an honor to represent the Mexican team during this second Classic. This is a special game because it's being played in Mexico City and most of us are from Mexico City, and this can open doors to many of the young sports players, many of the young athletes, especially for headhunters coming in from the United States, so they can see what kind of raw material is available in Mexico.
ADRIAN GONZ√ĀLEZ: Just as Oliver said, it's an honor to wear the Mexican colors. It's an honor to represent Mexico. We feel very enthusiastic. We want to win. We have a great team, and our mindset is focused on winning. We're ready to play tomorrow.
JOAKIM SORIA: As my teammates said, this is an honor to be part of the group. This is one more stage in my career. It's been a very short career so far, but being here and living and mixing and mingling with all the key stars is significant for me, and hopefully Mexico will enjoy the games.

Q. Oliver, what does your roster look like? Can you tell us about it?
OLIVER P√ČREZ: This is a very important game for us. I'd say it's the most important game. Everyone knows there are three games. The field is short, and the quicker you can win, the faster you can go on to the second round. I want to thank Vinicio for trusting me, for giving me this opportunity. As you very well know, I've been working out since mid-December getting ready for this series, and I'll do my best to uphold Mexico's name.

Q. Now, will the way you open be different than the normal games, or how are you doing your lineup?
OLIVER P√ČREZ: When we begin playing, what I do is I get ready as if I were to pitch 100 times, or whatever number my manager allows me to pitch, and you need to do your best to help the team, and in my case in the National League, I might pitch one inning only or an entire game. And you have to be ready at all times because you never know what will happen.

Q. (No microphone)?
OLIVER P√ČREZ: Everyone in the team has their own responsibilities and work cut out for them. Everyone is a professional player. We know the challenges that we're facing, and I did just sign a contract, and this means you can play in the Major Leagues if you do your best, if you work hard, and it's really a personal choice to do your best. This will allow you to grow little by little.

Q. We noticed that last Wednesday you were a little bit tired, and right now you're still getting used to Mexico City. Are you fully ready for tomorrow's game?
OLIVER P√ČREZ: Well, yes, although I did travel a lot. We are ready now. We're feeling better. I'm really excited to be here tomorrow, and I'm excited to see everyone and to see the people in the stadium rooting for us.

Q. For Adrian Gonz√°lez and Vinicio, will you be one of the leaders on the team?
ADRIAN GONZ√ĀLEZ: This year is a little bit different to what the first Classic was. I am shouldering more responsibility of the offense of the team, yet we're all one team. We can support and help each other out, and each person will have to do their individual work. My shoulders are ready to carry as much responsibility as is necessary.

Q. (No microphone).
VINICIO CASTILLA: At every single turn you need to stand at home plate ready to swing. If the pitching is not good or it's uncomfortable, you need to let it go by. At each turn you need to be ready to swing, but if you're not getting proper balls or the proper pitching, well then you can't swing, or sometimes you've got to be ready to take a base.

Q. The playoffs, how has that helped you for this game?
ADRIAN GONZ√ĀLEZ: It has helped me significantly. Early March, usually you're not ready for live pitches, and the two or three exhibition games I did feel more comfortable, and I felt ready and I am ready for tomorrow.

Q. For Joakim Soria, you know this ballpark, so what can you tell the other pitcher friends about this park?
JOAKIM SORIA: It's a tough park to pitch in, but every pro -- well, everyone has great pitching, everyone knows how to throw strikes. The only thing is to start working with the batters and just be careful because balls fly high.

Q. Your game against Australia, you may not feel as much pressure as if you would if you were playing against Cuba.
JOAKIM SORIA: Well, whatever the team needs, I will be there and ready to do my work and to try to uphold victories.

Q. For Vinicio, how much do you know about the Australian team?
VINICIO CASTILLA: The Australian team has great pitching. Their offense doesn't have too many ball players, or as many ball players. These are the shorter series, and they need to play as if they were playing against the best in the world because you never know what can happen. If you trust too much in your skills, you might miss out, make a mistake and lose the games. You need to be ready so nothing catches you off-guard.

Q. As a manager, because you haven't been a manager that long, what have you learned between winter and now, or have you learned anything new?
VINICIO CASTILLA: Well, of course you do. The more you can lead a team, the more you will learn. They're the little small items and details that you pick up, from the coaches, from the other players. You always pick up those little nuances that continue to surprise, but you need to keep your focus, and you will always learn things.

Q. Speaking about coaches, you have worked with star coaches. What can you tell us about it?
VINICIO CASTILLA: I want to congratulate my entire technical team because it's the team that has left their footprint behind, and they've helped me significantly. Since we created our team, they've supported me, and they've been the important factors in my choices.

Q. Now, you lived the 2006 experience. How far do you think the team will go?
VINICIO CASTILLA: Well, we can't get to the finals without playing the first games. We will target, we will focus our entire skills, our entire abilities to the first few games.

Q. (No microphone).
VINICIO CASTILLA: We have excellent runners. We have excellent base-runners in the team. The team is very well-balanced. We have the high-speed runners, good defense, good pitchers, but the most important thing is that we all know how to be a team, and we want to make sure the name of Mexico continues to live on.

Q. What's the strength that you see in your team?
VINICIO CASTILLA: Well, the entire team is a very united team, and I think this is an important factor. What you do in the clubhouse is fabulous, and what happens inside a clubhouse definitely shows out on the field.

Q. (No microphone).
VINICIO CASTILLA: The other teams have arrived very well to Mexico City. The other teams are here to bring out the best of themselves.

Q. For Oliver Perez, how do you feel pitching to Rod Barajas?
OLIVER P√ČREZ: Well, because we have never been part of the same team, he's already spent time in the Major Leagues, so we did some talking. We agreed on some issues, and that's key. A pitcher and a catcher, they have to be in sync because that's what handles the game.

Q. Now, you are the youngest ball player in this roster. How do you feel being next to these stars?
JOAKIM SORIA: Well, I love baseball, and to be living day-to-day and standing next to these great stars is very important for me because I can learn a lot, and that will help me in the future.

Q. Vinicio, will you continue with the roster that you've been using so far?
VINICIO CASTILLA: It all depends on tomorrow's outcome.

End of FastScripts




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