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March 8, 2013

Jorge Cantu

Rick Renteria

Fernando Valenzuela


THE MODERATOR:  We'll go ahead and get started with Team Mexico.  Open it up for questions.

Q.  What would you tell your guys before the game starts in the UnitedStates in their house?  What would you say?
RICK RENTERIA:  Well, I think the pressure's on them.  We know what the situation is, but we can't be thinking about what the other ones are thinking.  We just forget to ‑‑ we're not concentrating on what we have to do, which is to play a good game today.  We have to challenge the UnitedStates.  We have to win.
The team, even from yesterday, they were ready just to forget about that other game and then go ahead and play today.

Q.  Fernando, how is Yovani?  How is his health?  We know that he had problems with his leg, but how is he doing?
FERNANDO VALENZUELA:  Yovani, he's saying that he's okay.  He had no problems, physically though.  He feels very well.  He's ready for the game.  We saw him.  He was not completely under control in the game, but he was able to recover and he was able to carry on and -- but physically he's in great shape.

Q.  Jorge, were you guys ready for the knuckleball and things like that?
JORGE CANTU:  It's not physical, you don't have to prepare physically, it's mentally.  To do that you have to know how to challenge it, how to do it action.  Right now we're thinking that we have to tackle it from the beginning.
His knuckleball is really dangerous.  For example, like if you're playing a Nintendo game, you have to be right there.  You just have to watch the ball and hit it.  Do it just like you do with the Minor Leagues.

Q.  Rick, do you foresee any changes in the lineup?
RICK RENTERIA:  The only change that we foresee that we have now is Jose Felix.  He's the catcher.  The lineup is the same.
I told you yesterday, we are talking a lot about what happened yesterday, but if there's any changes and we do this through the game because we have to do it, then we'll go ahead and do it.  But really right now we're just going to carry on with our team with the guys we have.  We trust them.
I feel that anybody ‑‑ this could have happened to anybody.  They are in such a huge venue that there comes a time when you think, well, Mexico should have won, but it didn't happen.  But we have today and we can only worry about today.
Today we're going to commit ourselves, we're going to carry on, we're going to go ahead.  There's no doubt.  They're ready to win this game.

Q.  Jorge, you have 17 ‑‑ what is it for you?  What does it mean to you to see one of the leaders and one of the most productive ‑‑
JORGE CANTU:  Well, I'm very proud of it and I'm honored.  I know exactly what you're talking about.  My career has been‑‑ will have been as producer.  My focus, I don't look for any ‑‑ I'm not selective.  Sometimes things don't work out the way you want them.  But it's practice, you know.  I mean, it's many years you have to be selective and you have to try to do this solid contact, because anything can happen.

Q.  Jorge, what's your situation now with Major League?
JORGE CANTU:  I'm still a free agent.  I've been talking with agents, and things are kind of tough.  It didn't help that I didn't play last year over the summer.  My wife and I had a baby and I was busy with the family.  But I'm 31.  There's been several teams that have contacted my agent, and we'll see how things go here.  And if they like what they see, what I do, then probably there will be the possibility of signing something later on.

Q.  Fernando, you are throwing out the first ball today, and I know that Dale Murphy is going to also do the first throw.  Do you remember an encounter like that with any of the outfielders?
FERNANDO VALENZUELA:  Yes, we're going to have the opportunity to throw the first ball.  I hope it's the first strike and not the first ball (laughter).
Yes, Dale Murphy, of course I remember him, but from the '80s and the Atlanta Braves.  I don't remember the numbers, but I remember when they took me in the '80s and my first performance was against the Atlanta Braves and in that situation, that's when we had our first encounter.  So it's going to be neat.  It's going to be nice to be in the same place and the same ballpark remembering yesterday's times.

Q.  Fernando, what have you told your guys, your batters about what kind of pitching can they expect?
FERNANDO VALENZUELA:  Well, I'm with my hitters and they have to realize‑‑ or they have to be aware they have to be on top of the batter.  The first thing that they have to be aware of is you have to be on top of the batter and about the balls and strikes.
So you cannot tell them much.  They know exactly what they're doing.  They're professionals.  And I think that the only thing that we have to do is to give them a lot of help and to make them feel comfortable and confident with what they have to make their decisions.

Q.  Just to ask you, are you available to play?
JORGE CANTU:  Of course, yes, yes.  We talked about it before this Classic.  My role is I'm a designated batter and‑‑ but of course, I mean.  But I'm there.  I mean, I'm available.

Q.  How did you turn that page?  Right now‑‑ I mean yesterday it was really bad, but you get upset, you get sad, how do you turn the page?  What do you do?
JORGE CANTU:  Well, yeah, we were upset.  We were not comfortable.  The game was almost ‑‑ I mean, we had almost won the game, but that's baseball.  You cannot point at anybody or anything.  We always do it all within the team.
I mean, this is a group, you see your teammate and you know that they have the same talent, they have the same desire.  In the end we have this new opportunity.  We have a big venue, big scene.  We still have to keep assuring our people from Mexico that we have pride in what we're about to compete in.

Q.  You throw the first ball in the Caribbean and now you're doing it again.  What do you feel about it?
FERNANDO VALENZUELA:  Well, it's a tremendous honor.  And, yes, in Mexico, the last series of the Caribbean, that was great.  Right now this is‑‑ again, this is another big opportunity, so it's kind of hard to explain to you how I feel, but it is an honor.
THE MODERATOR:  All right.  Thank you very much.

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