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March 14, 2009

Vinny Castilla

Adrian Gonzalez

Edgar Gonzalez

Scott Hairston


THE MODERATOR: Welcome to the World Baseball Classic. Good afternoon, everybody. Today, from Team Mexico, we have manager, Vinny Castilla, and Padre player, Adrian Gonzalez.

Q. Vinny, your coaching staff is made of a lot of former players. How do you make a decision who to put on your coaching staff? It had to be difficult for a number of stars trying to come together, those kinds of things.
VINNY CASTILLA: My coaching staff is tough because all have been great players, been great coaches, too. Jose Tolentino is a great teacher talking about hitting; and Teddy is a great coach in the Mexican league; Fernando, Armando Reynoso, has been a great manager.
So we have a coaching staff, and they know how to transmit it with the players and that's why they're here.

Q. What about work together, when they go into the room they're one of five or six stars?
VINNY CASTILLA: It's one of the good things that happens on our team. Everybody loves each other, and it's a great atmosphere in the clubhouse. We get along great, help each other, and it's one of the great teams we have -- things we have on our ball club.

Q. Adrian, can you talk about the differences for you personally being in the first Classic until now. Have you felt more comfortable being an established player, and now you're more well known, and what that's that like for you?
ADRIAN GONZALEZ: The first Classic, I came in not knowing if I was going to play much, and I got to split time Heranimo (phonetic) in the first Classic. And this time, I came more with mentality that, you know, I might be in the middle of the lineup, you know, have to produce, and to help the team, get the runs that are out there.
So it's a different feeling for sure, but overall, I felt good this time around. And, so far, I felt good. I feel like I can do more. I've had a couple of opportunities that I failed against Cuba, so those couple of times, I have to do a better job of putting the ball in play.

Q. How about as a personality, a leader on the tomorrow?
ADRIAN GONZALEZ: There are different guys out there on the team that I feel are leaders as well, but there is more of a leadership role. There's guys that I have more experience than, and I can talk to them and give pointers out to.
So I think overall, I feel more of a leader. Like you said, more of a leader, more of a guy that has to go out there and produced. For me, actions on the field are more important than the words you say off the field. So I just conduct myself the right way and go about it the way I should, the way I try to.

Q. Adrian, you know this ballpark better than anybody in the tournament, I got to think. Coming from Mexico City to this, how different would you expect things to be.
ADRIAN GONZALEZ: A lot different. From a pitcher's standpoint, the breaking pitchers are going to break more, the fly balls are going to carry out of the ballpark. We played a lot of 15-, 16-, 17-, 18-run games, where they're going to be 5-, 6-, 7-run games.
So not giving up walks is going to be very important here. Being aggressive from the pitcher's standpoint. And hitters, it's just going to be not try to hit home runs or fly balls, try to hit more ground balls and line drives. I think this park benefits us more than the Mexico stadium did, so I think we're going to do a better job here as a team.

Q. Adrian, of the three potential teams you guys are facing, which team is the most dangerous in your opinion? Which player stands out as the most dangerous?
ADRIAN GONZALEZ: I don't know much about Korea and Japan. I know a few of their players, but overall, I don't know them as a whole team.
Cuba seemed pretty strong when we played 'em. We had just gotten done with an emotional game against Australia, so I think we were a little off that game. So I think all three teams are strong. I don't think we can take one team for granted.
I think we have to approach every game like it's the best team out there and play our best, you know. From one player's standpoint, I think Ichiro is a guy that has every tool. He's a guy that can make a difference in the game, and, you know, we've got to be very careful and try to keep them off the bases.

Q. If you guys were to face Japan, you might face Yu Darvish beneficiary, what do you think about him?
ADRIAN GONZALEZ: Nothing, I would have to see him on video if I get a chance to. But from a pitcher's standpoint, I just know Dice-K, and the guys that are spoken about more than the other guys. So does Darvish pitch in the States?

Q. No.
ADRIAN GONZALEZ: No, so I don't know anything about him.

Q. (In Spanish) Talk about the importance of beginning with a win tomorrow. Otherwise, you're going to be standing against a wall. The owners of winning tomorrow is great, because we were seeing in the first round that Mexico can be put in a position where you need to win, I mean, there is no other way about it. That's why it's important to go into a game, go out winning, and winning will put you in a better spotlight, because there is a chance where you can lose and then win again to move forward, so that's very important.
ADRIAN GONZALEZ: It's important to win the first game because the round is set up where if you win, you put yourself in a great spot where just one more win, you're in. Where if you lose, you've got two back-to-back tough games against good opponents, so you put yourself in a heel. And it's important to go out and play our best baseball tomorrow, so we can put ourselves in the best position.

Q. Adrian, how does it feel to be back in San Diego and seeing the Mexican fans out there getting autographs, how does that feel?
ADRIAN GONZALEZ: It feels great to be back home. For me, being able to sleep in my bed is always a good thing to have, and, you know, I'm feeling comfortable, which is a great thing, and in my surroundings, and that's something that makes you feel better when you're at the plate, and when you're on the field. I think it's a good thing.
I think we're going to have a good fan base, and we're excited to see all the Mexican fans come out and support us and be that extra edge of adrenaline that we might need to go out there and play harder.

Q. (In Spanish) Adrian, you were mentioned in the last edition, you were younger at the last edition, Korea won against Mexico. Is this a revenge? Are you confronting them again with a possibility?
ADRIAN GONZALEZ: I don't think there is more of a revenge. I think we need to strive every single game. We need to come out and play the very best play that we can do and not for anything like that. It's just a matter of winning. In the same round, but I don't think it's -- you're not playing for payback or to try to get back at them. I think you're playing for the name across your chest, and for our country, and we've got to go out there and win, so we can make Mexico proud.

Q. Adrian, four teams from two distinct parts of the world. When it comes to baseball, is it all the same, or do you notice a difference in the way Korea and Japan play the game, and you guys and Cuba play the game?
ADRIAN GONZALEZ: I think it's different. I think Korea and Japan play for of a mechanical game, more. You know, they do all the fundamentals, right. They bunt the ball well. They do those kinds of things a little more fundamentally, I should say. We are more relaxed, go out there and use the energy, use our -- I guess you could say our land flavor, and just go out there and try to have fun and play our game.
You know, I don't think you're going to see a Japan team or a Korean team miss a bunt, if they're trying to bunt. I think those are the things that makes them be tough opponents. They make their pitchers. They execute. And, you know, I think we go out there and play more of a passionate game. We go out there and we lay it out on the field, and I think that's what makes Cuba and us, that's what gives us our success.

Q. For both of the brothers, if you talked about what it's meant, you guys played in the Caribbean World Series, and now what it's meant as a family to have played together in these big national events, and what it means to represent Mexico, and what might be your favorite moments of these two events that you've had?
EDGAR GONZALEZ: Originally, I was thinking about not coming to the World Baseball Classic because of a situation with the Padres. But then when I thought about it, and the feeling that it would be to play with my brother and representing Mexico, I thought it would be a huge deal, and it may never happen again. So that was one of my biggest things, to come here and play for the World Baseball Classic. Because of coming and playing with Adrian, playing for our country, it was a bigger event than usual.
ADRIAN GONZALEZ: It's a huge event, playing for Mexico. I think that's the most important thing, representing our country, our -- representing everything that we want to represent, you know, trying to be the best team possible.
As far as our family, they're loving every minute of it. We're enjoying being together like we always do. I think we're blessed with a great family, so we're very happy to be a part of this and being part of Team Mexico.

Q. Vinny, could you assess the play of your team here and what has to happen here that didn't happen in Mexico City?
VINNY CASTILLA: We've got to play the small game here. It's a different ballpark. Like Adrian say before, it's not too many home runs, you've got to play fundamentally sound baseball here. Pitching is tough. You've got to be a lot of great pitching and defense in these games, pitch good and play great defense.
THE MODERATOR: Padres player Scott Hairston has joined us.
Scott, tell us what it is like to play with your brother, Jerry, and two of your Padres teammates.
SCOTT HAIRSTON: It's really good. I think this opportunity we have might not come again. I think it's important to realize that Edgar and Adrian have played on the same team before, but for myself, me and my brother, we've never done that.
I think it's been a lot of fun, and especially to have the opportunity to do this, representing a country like Mexico, I think it's an honor to be a part of it.

Q. Vinny, what's your thoughts on the Cuban team, their style of play? Do you think these guys are major league caliber?
VINNY CASTILLA: I think they have a great ball club. They're talented. They have running skills, good power. They've got good pitching. They've been playing together for a long time, and a lot of the players have big league talent. A lot of them can play in the big leagues right now.

Q. Vinny, you're talking about the difference in the ballparks and how that's going to change the way you have to play. I was thinking, does that maybe make these first two rounds for these teams a real good test of who is the best team? And in Mexico, you can mash the ball, and then you come here and you have to play a different kind of game. So you have to be a well-rounded team, if you're going to advance.
VINNY CASTILLA: I think we can do that. We have great players that know how to play the game. A lot of players play in the big leagues here, and I think we can do that. We have great pitching. And like I said before, this series is going to be a lot of pitching and defense, and we have guys that can hit the ball out of the ballpark, too.
We have -- you know, we have a little bit of speed, some power, and we have some guys that can play small ball, too.

Q. Vinny, I've seen and heard stories about the Cuban managers like to go play little head games with lineups and things like that. Have you experienced any of that so far?
VINNY CASTILLA: Not yet. No, they've been great to me, I don't have no problems with them.

Q. Edgar, how did you do with the first practice and the plays that -- you know, how do you see this team after the first round in Mexico?
EDGAR GONZALEZ: To me, it felt great, because I'm home. I'm comfortable here, sleeping in my own bed. And during the practice today, we got to see the stadium, how it's played. And I explained to others how the stadium works as well.
So I think that with three players that already play and call this home, we may have an advantage. Being able to practice in this stadium was pretty nice, coming back home from playing here all year last year, and I know the stadium a little bit.
And hopefully, we have three players that played in this stadium, could be an advantage for Mexico. We know what type of baseball you have to play in this stadium and it's completely different than the baseball played in Mexico City. I think this is more fundamental baseball, and the real baseball that you could expect from a team that's going to advance.
THE MODERATOR: I think at this time we will conclude. Thank you very much.

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