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March 17, 2009

Davey Johnson

David Wright

Kevin Youkilis



Q. David, could you take us through your at-bat and the fact that he was a little wild there going behind 2-0, and just what your thoughts were and then even the aftermath of the celebration?
DAVID WRIGHT: Watching Youk's at-bat I saw he was a little erratic. After I saw that first slider, in the back of my mind I saw his out pitch. So I was kind of sitting on a fastball the rest the at-bat. Made a good pitch, 2-0, up and in, was kind of hooking the ball away from me, so I could extend and kind of air something out to right-center. I didn't quite get the pitch I was looking for, but hit it in the right spot.
And then the celebration was pretty wild. I never thought that we'd be dog piling in March. But it was pretty special and something I'll always remember.

Q. Davey, if you could just talk about being able to take Team USA to a place they've never been before in the World Baseball Classic and if this had shades of Game 6 of the '86 World Series with the Mets?
DAVEY JOHNSON: It certainly did. It was a heck of a ballgame; had a lead, lost it. Pitching was pretty good. You know, it was just one of those games that you thought anybody could win it. Youkilis got a great at-bat and then David got a great hit. In March for that kind of excitement is really special.

Q. For Kevin, how does that compare? In March you guys piling on each other, how does that compare to some of the other times you've been doing that?
KEVIN YOUKILIS: It's right there with it, I think, that excitement and that adrenaline rush. You know, when you win the World Series and stuff like that, the dog pile is the same. That was nuts to go out there and do that, and just to be able to celebrate with different guys, I think that's the most special thing is you're celebrating a game, you're celebrating a nation. Being with the United States and all the fans out there that were supporting us tonight, you're celebrating as a whole, and that's what's so special about that.

Q. Can you kind of take us through your mindset in the ninth inning? Guys kept getting hits, guys kept getting on base, and next thing you know you're up to bat with THE bases loaded?
DAVID WRIGHT: That's what I think every hitter in that dugout wants to be in that situation, bases loaded, one out, game on the line. That's what you dream about growing up as a kid. You're in your backyard playing with your friends, and that's the situation that keeps running over in your mind. I just wanted to stay selective. You've got that excitement going, you've got that energy going, you don't want to get out of your element. So just try to take a deep breath, get a pitch that I thought I could handle, just get something I could elevate, and if we win, great, but the goal was just to go up there and try to drive in that tying run.

Q. For David, where does this hit rank on your all-time list?
DAVID WRIGHT: That's right up there at the top. I mean, you're talking about representing the United States of America. You have that across the front of your chest. You're representing a nation, and to come, be able to get that hit, that's got to be right up there at the top of the list.

Q. The first game with Puerto Rico, how did you use this game for today mentally, the first game, playing again with the same team?
DAVEY JOHNSON: Well, I really wanted to play Puerto Rico. I didn't want to say it in the press conference the other day, but both clubs had beat us, but we hadn't beaten Puerto Rico. So I really wanted a crack at them. We got our chance, and it was a heck of a ballgame.
I'll say this about the guys on this team: It's going to get better as we go. I mean, these guys have been a little bit behind everybody we've played, making adjustments, battling. It's only going to get better for us as it goes on.

Q. I know you are the man of a thousand battles because you've been a long time with the ballgame, but how do you feel being in the ninth inning, bases loaded, and you're trailing by two runs? It's a lot of pressure, or how do you feel?
DAVEY JOHNSON: There's no pressure on me at all. I mean, the heart of my lineup coming up, the guy on the mound was in a whole heap of trouble. I was just sitting back and enjoying it. I only had one decision to make early in the that game, and Mike Schmidt looked down at me and wanted to know if I wanted Jeter to bunt. I said, "I don't think he's ever bunted. I don't think they bunt in the American League." Although I did bunt Roberts early in the game.
No, the right people were up, and it was exciting.

Q. I have two questions for the three of you, preferably if the three of you can answer: First one, there's been a lot of talk about this tournament back and forth, being an exhibition tournament. Does it feel that way to you now? And the second question, if you expected the Miami crowd and the U.S. supporters to be just a few in front of all the teams?
DAVID WRIGHT: Well, I mean, this isn't exhibition to us. We take this very seriously. You know, think as you may, the fans, the public, but the players are into this. We're serious about it. Our preparation is the same, if not more, than we go into the regular season. I think you won't find a guy in that clubhouse that doesn't take this seriously and is really proud to put this uniform on. It's not exhibition to us; we're going out there to win and we're going out there to play hard.
KEVIN YOUKILIS: Well, yeah, the fan support, to me, honestly the fan support was the best it's been the whole entire tournament tonight. I think that it was unbelievable, the feeling of the "USA!" chants, and it just actually felt for once that we were the home team, and that was a great sign. I think hopefully going out to LA, that will be a huge USA crowd, too, and it's key for us. I think we feed off the crowd, and playing baseball every day is a great joy. It's fun going out there and just playing the game, and that's enjoyable in itself.
But when you have the fans and the adrenaline rush from the fans getting into the game, it helps out a lot, and that's a big reason why we won today, I think.

Q. For David and Kevin: Just the relief of getting out of this round now and not going home, how much is that weight off your shoulders, both of you?
DAVID WRIGHT: It's big, especially getting a chance to get a crack at a team that embarrassed us a few days earlier. To have that resiliency, to bounce back in the ninth and to steal one from them I think was pretty big. But obviously the goal is to win it, but you have to take it step by step, and we accomplished the next step, and that's getting to the finals, getting to LA.
KEVIN YOUKILIS: I think the pressure may be on some of the guys that were here the last time. I think all of us guys that it's the first go around, we don't have the pressure upon us because we weren't in their shoes. We're a different team, we go about it probably a different way than those guys did, not to say that that team wasn't as good or better than this team, but we have a lot of guys that love to be around each other and hang out and do stuff off the field. I think that's a key for us, and we don't put pressure on ourselves. We just go out there and try to play the game the best we can.

Q. Davey, with tomorrow's night's game basically only about seeding, do you manage any differently with regard to resting players? And who's starting tomorrow?
DAVEY JOHNSON: Well, Guthrie is starting tomorrow, and he's going six because I don't have any other relievers to come in behind him.
Tomorrow doesn't mean anything to us because we're going out there, and it's going to be Japan, Korea, Cuba and Venezuela. I don't know which of the first two, but we need to be there. We play the best baseball around the world. The world is catching up with us, but we need to be there, and it's going to be a great event out there. I can't wait. It's going to be outstanding.
THE MODERATOR: That will be a wrap. Thank you.

End of FastScripts

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