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WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC: SECOND ROUND, POOL 2


March 12, 2013


Gio Gonzalez

Joe Torre

David Wright


MIAMI, FLORIDA

UNITED STATES ¬Ė 7
PUERTO RICO - 1


Q.¬† David, the manager for Puerto Rico talked about that three‑run double that you hit that you made an adjustment.¬† He said nine times out of ten that pitch was good enough to get you out.¬† Can you talk about what adjustment you made and that at‑bat?
DAVID WRIGHT:¬† He fooled me on a couple of the pitches similar, the sliders.¬† And he threw it a few times for me to see.¬† He threw a couple balls.¬† My timing got better and better with each pitch.¬† It makes my job a lot easier when I'm hitting behind Ryan Braun, Joe Mauer.¬† It seems like every at‑bat I'm hitting with runners in scoring position and in this case bases loaded with less than two outs, and obviously that makes my job a lot easier.

Q.  How much fun was that tonight for you, Gio?
GIO GONZALEZ:  It was definitely fun watching these guys swing the bat and making great plays and having Joe behind the dish.  It made it real easy for me to just go out there and pound the strike zone.  It was great to pitch in front of my home crowd, especially that's a great lineup, so I had the privilege and I was excited to see these guys just have some fun.  That's what I was trying to do out here is just make sure these guys were keeping it loose and just having fun.

Q.  Gio, what do you do now since your job here in this round is done?  Do you go back to Washington or stay here?
GIO GONZALEZ:  I'll take a trip back to Viera, Florida, with Steve McCatty and meet them out in SanFrancisco (laughing).  No, no, get ready, go back to the gym, try to work out a little bit, flush my arm, and try to get ready to go.

Q.  But you're going to stay here?
GIO GONZALEZ:  Yes.

Q.  Joe, now that you know pretty much the spacing of these games, you'll play Thursday and either Friday or Saturday, what do you do with the pitching after Dickey?
JOE TORRE:  We're still talking about it.  We obviously have options because we had both Detwiler and Vogelsong pitch on the same day.  So we really haven't set on one guy yet.

Q.  Would Detwiler be available on Thursday?
JOE TORRE:  I guess.  Let me see.  When did he pitch?  Yeah, he's got enough rest.  And then Vogelsong will be available, too.  A lot of decisions.  Good ones, though.  It's okay.

Q.  David, I know all your answers here, you downplay everything you're doing, but you have ten RBIs in this series here and a grand slam.  You just seem to elevate your game on the excitement level of what you've been doing here in this tournament.  Can you talk about that a little bit?
DAVID WRIGHT:  Well, I mean, obviously the adrenaline gets pumping for this tournament.  You wear that uniform, and as I mentioned before, you want to go out there and represent your country.  And I'm not lying when I say that hitting in this lineup is ridiculous.  I mean, you've got some of the best hitters in the game, and it creates a lot of matchup problems, especially late in the game like you saw.  I get a chance to go in there and face a lefty, and that's thanks to Mr.Torre for putting me in between those two lefties.  And then like I said, things just start rolling.
And Gio set the tone early coming out there and just absolutely just shoving.¬† He got us in the dugout quick.¬† We didn't have to play too long on defense, and we just kept putting runners on base and putting ourselves in at‑bats with runners in scoring position.¬† It's just that momentum, it's building that momentum, and obviously Gio started that.

Q.  David, I think you've tied the record for most RBIs in one WBC.  They're calling you Captain America on TV.  What do you make of all that sort of stuff?
DAVID WRIGHT:  Well, I mean, we're winning and that's the important thing.  Obviously it's nice to get hits, it's nice to drive runs in, but the important thing is obviously hearing those USA chants and getting a chance to win games and high five afterwards.
You know, the individual stuff is nice, but ultimately it's about winning that first WBC championship for the United States.

Q.  Joe, it seems to me when they drew up this tournament, one of the notions was wouldn't it be great to get the best team from the U.S. versus, say, the best team from the Dominican Republic and play.  This is the first time you guys are going to play them in this format.  Conceptually speaking, how do you feel about that matchup?
JOE TORRE:¬† I mean, I feel good about my team.¬† Obviously they haven't lost, so they've got some guys that are having some fun.¬† For a little while today they were struggling a little bit, but they have a lot of confidence over there, you can see that.¬† So as I say, I'm looking forward‑‑ we lost that first game, everybody was down on Friday night, but this‑‑ these guys have a lot of confidence.¬† I mean, they made some great plays on defense.¬† Gonz√°lez and Aviles and Rosario, they kept the score close early in the game with those plays they made.
But we're ready to play and we're playing hard, and I couldn't ask for anything better than what we have.

Q.  Do you think in the broader sense U.S./DR not matter what the year is emblematic of what this tournament is supposed to be?
JOE TORRE:¬† I don't think there's any question.¬† It's a Marquis matchup, and again, this is a stepping‑stone for‑‑ both clubs feel the same way.¬† It's a stepping‑stone to where the finals are going to be played, and that was our goal when we started this thing.

Q.  Gio, you're an excitable pitcher and you're pitching in front of your home crowd, and yet you were fully in control, didn't give up any walks.  Did you have to do anything in particular to keep your nerves in check?
GIO GONZALEZ:¬† Yeah, I was talking to Greg Maddux about that and asking him questions, how can I tunnel that, the noise and everything, and he just broke it down to something simple, think of fielding a routine ground ball and just fishing or something, just take your mind off of it, and I understood it immediately where it was almost to the point where it was just like make that small adjustment, just tune it out, just think of something real simple and try to pound the strike zone.¬† But again, it made it easier when you have a big frame like Joe Mauer and a guy who's just‑‑ I was going on him.¬† I think I shook him off one time, and it was just‑‑ we were right on the same page every pitch, and I felt confident enough to go at it and pound the strike zone.
But again, my job was to try to minimize the damage and get these guys in the dugout as soon as possible.

Q.  You talked about the other day that this was going to be a dream for you, Gio.  I was wondering how the reality measured up to that dream and can you talk a little bit about your friends and family here and what it was like for you in the hometown?
GIO GONZALEZ:  It's still a dream, just to play for these guys and to represent Team USA and be here in Miami, and like I said a small town kid from Hialeah, Florida, it's truly a blessing.  You couldn't have scripted this any better, to pitch the first game and help these guys out as much as possible and try to be a part of it.  I think that, again, this was a blessing to be alongside some of the greatest.  And to say that I pitched in front of my home crowd and to win, it's truly a dream.

Q.  Gio, is your Spanish okay?  Can you give us a brief analogy in Spanish?
GIO GONZALEZ:  (From Spanish) my Spanish is more or less, but I felt okay to pitch here at home with my family and my friends and also to represent Team USA.  This is a gift of God and the biggest dream that I'm still dreaming.  Please don't wake me up.

Q.  Gio, I know the past couple weeks you've been saying you feel like you don't have anything to prove, but how were you able to elevate your game compared to pitching in a Spring Training game tonight?  Did you feel like the stage provided you an opportunity to do that?
GIO GONZALEZ:  I think Davy and Cat were helping me out a lot in Spring Training, and to come over here and have Greg Maddux come in and give me a few pointers, I think when you get some of the greats of baseball to help you out and control your composure and just keep your tunnel vision, I mean, that's the best you can do.  I turned a couple of times to Joe and I was telling him to smile and stuff like that.  It's something I did with Davey a lot, that's what he did, just kept me loose and tried not to put too much pressure.  I know from experience in the postseason, I was overwhelmed by all the noise and stuff like that.  But now I look at it and try to do the same thing, what Greg did, take that away and try to minimize it and think of something so simple that can help you tune it out.

Q.  Joe, how many starting pitchers have told you during games to smile before?
JOE TORRE:  Not too many.  Not too many.  What I usually say is I am smiling.  The way these guys are playing, I may smile a little bit more, too.  (Laughter).

Q.¬† I know you don't like to usually look ahead too far, but positioning now, basically the worst thing that could happen to you guys is that you'd have to play either Puerto Rico or Italy again, and those are two teams you've beaten by a combined score of 13‑3.¬† Do you feel that you're in a good position here now?
JOE TORRE:¬† Do I feel we're in a good position?¬† I mean, we want to win every game we play.¬† That's the only way we look at it.¬† We can't start trying to figure things.¬† You have to remember, I'm the same manager that had a 3‑0 lead on the Red Sox in '04, so don't give me that numbers stuff.¬† I don't buy it.
No, we need to go out and play hard every game because you don't know what's going to happen.  You can say we beat a team by so many runs, but at any given time any one of these clubs can beat you, so you just have to be ready to go.

Q.¬† Just for the record, you brought up the 3‑0, I didn't.
JOE TORRE:  Brought up what?

Q.¬† The 3‑0.
JOE TORRE:  You think I've forgotten that stuff?  Are you crazy?

Q.  David, the other day Joe talked glowingly about managing you.  What's it been like for you playing for Joe?
DAVID WRIGHT:¬† It's been awesome.¬† I mean, obviously playing against for a number of years you always wonder what it would be like playing for.¬† And he allows you to go play.¬† He obviously treats us like men and lets us go about our work.¬† Obviously when he speaks, we listen.¬† I think that that first team meeting, I think everybody left pretty fired up.¬† It's just one of those things where it's awesome to be able to‑‑ for the rest of my career to be able to say that I played for Joe Torre.¬† Obviously it's an incredible honor.

Q.  Gio, what does it mean to you to play this game in front of your fans and your family here?
GIO GONZALEZ:  (From Spanish) yeah, in front of my family in Hialeah, but also to pitch for Team USA was a gift from God.  I was confident to attack the zone, and also, as I'm saying, last year was last year.  This is a different year.  I didn't have a pitcher like Greg Maddux who was controlling me, and thank God I have Davy Jones and Steve McCatty.

Q.  Your parents are Cubans.  Would you like to have played for Cuba?
GIO GONZALEZ:  All Cuban Americans want to pitch for Cuba, but for me I want to pitch for Team USA.  That's where I was born in Hialeah, Florida.

Q.  As a challenge for you and for your team to win the Classic?
GIO GONZALEZ:  Of course, to win for all Americans and Cuban Americans.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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