March 18: Dominican Republic's Tony Pena, Samuel Deduno, Moises Sierra and Edinson Volquez postgame interview
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for the Dominican Republic team.
Q. (Not in English.) Before this game, Edinson, you're saying that this would be the most important game, maybe, in your career. Now, once this game is over, do you still feel the same way, that this is the most important one?
EDINSON VOLQUEZ: (Not in English.) Of course, when you're representing your country, and you're making your country proud of you, that's amazing. That's awesome. It's not something that you can do every day. And we're able to win. It's like we have this one mission, just winning, and winning as a team.
Q. (Not in English.) Ricardo was in the left field, why did you make that last minute change? And can you tell us about the performance of the gentlemen who are here with you today?
TONY PENA: (Not in English.) When I set up this lineup, I asked Nanita how he felt, if he felt a hundred percent up to it. And immediately I went to him, I said, Moises Sierra didn't play much, it's not because he can't play, he's very talented and he's been in the major leagues. Today he showed the kind of ballplayer that he is and all of his amazing talent. That's one of the most important parts of this game. And there was a double that he made which really helped us here.
Q. (Not in English.) Before the last match in Miami, Rodriguez, the Puerto Rico manager said, I want to see Puerto Rico/Dominican in the finals.
TONY PENA: (Not in English.) Whoever wins the Baseball Classic is really going to be the Caribbean's. It could be Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic, but it will belong to the Caribbean. And they have had a great performance, just like us. We respect each of the teams in the Classic.
And that's been one of our goals, is to respect our adversaries and to get prepared mentally and physically in order to play a good ballgame. Now tomorrow, the Baseball Classic will be decided. We'll see who wins there.
Q. (Not in English.) Moises, Tony, congratulations. You're one of the star players here. You're facing off against two major teams. How was this experience? Tony, the lineup, you had so many veterans. Tomorrow, will you have the same lineup or will there be a switch up?
MOISES SIERRA: (Not in English.) Well, we're thrilled. Thank you to all of you for this opportunity. This has been one of my greatest experiences. To be able to represent my country has been the best thing that's happened to me. Thank God I was able to do it well and I performed well. Thank you.
TONY PENA: (Not in English.) Well, I don't like to get ahead of myself. Okay. We won today. Tomorrow, we're going to get out there on the field and we'll see.
Now definitely we have tried to play four players in different positions and, you know, we might use the same lineup tomorrow. We don't know. I can't tell you right now.
Q. For everybody, do you believe in the power of Fernando Rodney's magic Plantain?
EDINSON VOLQUEZ: I don't know, man. I was pitching. I don't know. I was away from him. He hit pretty good with that. Keep it. Why not?
TONY PENA: You know, baseball is just about to have fun, and those guys, they tried to motivate themselves doing the little things, the little things motivate themselves. The thing is that you need to find a way. How are you going to lose the stress? How are you going to keep your whole group of players laughing, keeping loose.
So I got surprised when I saw Rodney with a banana, a plantain on the side. I think he pulled them out, I just laughed. Right in the middle of the game, this made everybody laugh. And the ballclub, the game like this, you need to have a little bit of fun. You need to find a way to loosen up. And I'm glad that he did it.
Q. Moises Alou was talking about how important Robinson Cano has been as a leader talking in the meetings before the games after you, Tony. What are some things he tries to emphasize and how have you seen him grow into that role?
TONY PENA: Cano has grown so much. Not only has he grown up as a player, but also he's grown up as a person. And just through the time and the years that he has spent and played with the New York Yankees has made being with this group of guys, he felt like he needed to step forward and this is what he has done. He's just stepped forward and tried to keep everybody the right way.
Like today, Hey, guys, we swing at a lot of pitches out of the strike zone. Come on. Let's concentrate a little bit more, let's take the at‑bat, let's make him work, and you will get a pitch to hit.
That means a lot, because now he tried to pass the word to the whole ballclub to be disciplined at the home plate. And it worked. Little things like this are the things that are going to make him a good leader on any ballclub in the future.
Q. (Not in English.) Congratulations to all of you for representing the Dominican Republic. This is the third edition of the World Classic. Samuel, tomorrow you're going to play again. How do you feel knowing that the Dominican Republic and the whole world will be watching that game?
SAMUEL DEDUNO: (Not in English.) Well it's a major challenge. I like challenges. I'm grateful with God. Now, I believe in God, and if we believe in God as a team, and we are united and we have faith, because faith is the main thing, then we're going to play well tomorrow. We will win tomorrow.
Q. (Not in English.) In terms of the opener, Tony, we saw that the Dominican Republic pitcher who opened, you transferred the first batter. You didn't take him out, you obviously trusted and you had Volquez in there. Now was there a revenge because Holland had already eliminated us before?
EDINSON VOLQUEZ: (Not in English.) Well, it was difficult, especially pitchers with experience who have been in the Big Leagues. I've pitched quite a bit, you see yourself and you see that opportunity to do it. I did it four innings, you always have to try as a pitcher to give, to use that opportunity.
TONY PENA: (Not in English.) Unfortunately these things happen. We want our opening pitchers to be giving good pitches. Why? Because that will position us in a different way. Because when we start the game, I have all my pitchers. I know how I'm going to use each one. If my opener, I don't trust him. And that they will be able to replace each other among themselves. The starter is different from the person who is the relief. The starter has to do five. So it's like taking food out of his hand. So you're saying that I'm not doing well, I have to wait five days to pitch?
Unfortunately, this is difficult when you are in a problem. Then, you know what, this game is not going to come out of my hands. We have had 11 guys in that bullpen, and I trust those 11 men.
Q. (Not in English.) First of all, Tony, and Volquez, all of you, I want to congratulate you for your work. All of the Dominican Republic are super proud of you. We have two challenges. We have shown ourselves to be the second power in baseball, and we have also been the only ones undefeated. What does this mean for you?
TONY PENA: (Not in English.) I don't want to get ahead of myself. We are very positive. We are very positive we're going to play tomorrow and God is the only one who has the power to decide and to answer that question. So we're optimistic. We're positive, but we're going to wait and see what happens tomorrow.
Yeah, we have some confidence, but we're not going to just be alone in this.
Q. (Not in English. ) In Santo Domingo, we interviewed you for first time, Tony. You said, This is not my ideal team, but we're going to play. Do you feel that this is your ideal team?
TONY PENA: (Not in English.) I think that we have a lot of unity in this team, that is what has brought us to where we are right now.
When I said we didn't have the ideal team, that's because we have more players than what we have in our lineup here. Now, if those people had been here, maybe Sierra and Deduno and the other boys wouldn't have had the opportunity to do what they have done today. All I'm saying is that this is a group of players, and you know what, I feel really proud of them. Because they were here today, they went out there and they gave everything for our country.
If you ask me if this is the ideal group, I would say yes. I would say this is the ideal group. Because they're the ones who are here today.
THE MODERATOR: Great job, you guys. Congratulations. We'll see you tomorrow.
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