Team China Postgame Interview March 3

Team China Postgame Interview March 3

Q.  For your Team China, this is the very first game for the 2013 WBC.  What was the impression?

JOHN McLAREN:  Baseball is new in China, and this is just another step forward.  I thought the guys played really hard, and we didn't hit much until there at the end.  But we are just trying to get better every day, that's all we're saying and I was proud of the kids, the way they competed tonight.

Q. You played against Japan, very solid team, what do you think about the Team Japan?

JOHN McLAREN:  They are not the team they used to be right now, because they don't have the thunder they have had in the past.  They don't have the power.  But it looks like they are getting better every game, and this game is about confidence and I've seen them on TV, I've seen them play last night, and it looks like every game they are playing with more confidence.  That's a big key in our game, to play with confidence.

Q. You've played three straight games, what's the strategy for Team Cuba?

JOHN McLAREN:  I don't want to give the game plan, but we are taking it one game at a time, I'll just put it that way.  We know Cuba is an outstanding baseball club, and they have a lot of great players.  We are looking forward to the challenge and competing with them, and like I said, we are looking forward to tomorrow with Cuba.

Q.  You got a double in the fourth inning.  What is in your mind right now after you've played against Japan?

LI LEI:  Well, first of all, Team China is very young team, we don't have that much experience.  We need an international competition such as this, we have a very limited opportunity.  The younger players are nervous a little bit, but we never give up in the game.  So I think I'm satisfied.

Q.  Your first at bat and your second at bat you faced against Maeda, and also you faced against Utsumi; what is your impression?

LI LEI:  First, the lefty, Utsumi, I don't have that much information for Maeda, and Utsumi, as well.
    Generally speaking, all the Japanese pitchers has a great command and have a great speed.  All I can say is we have to hit the base hit.

Q.  Seems like a lot of people may have expected this game to be a blowout, and you hung tough, and except for one inning, your pitchers were able to perform tonight?

JOHN McLAREN:  Our starter did a great job.  The main thing I'm taking from this game was our team never quit.  There's a lot of enthusiasm in the dugout in the ninth inning, and we had a lot of fight in us, and like I said, we haven't been playing baseball as long as Japan and Korea, but we are getting better and working at it hard.  They are starting to play baseball on a regular basis in China.

So we just want the fans in China and the young kids to see us playing on TV, give them inspiration to play the game like Li Lei and become better.  I thought our pitchers responded very nicely.  And we have a long way to go.  We strike out a lot and we don't work the count.  But like I said, give us time, give us time.

Q.  You were a part of team USA, you coached as a team and you played against Ichiro at the time.  Your experience compared to 2006 and 2013, is it a big gap in between these two as of your view?

JOHN McLAREN:  Big gap between the two teams?

Q.  Yeah.

JOHN McLAREN:  I'd have to say yes.  They have more star power.  It's not a negative towards the Japanese club.  It's a complement to the 2006 team.  They had a great team.  They had great team.  No disrespect to this team.  This is a good ballclub.  But that ballclub there, they were loaded.

Q. Your starting pitcher tonight was not lighting up the radar gun but seemed like he was keeping the Japanese hitters off balance.  How was he able to do that?

JOHN McLAREN:  He moved the ball around and he was changing speeds, and he was getting ahead of them, and when you get ahead, I don't care what level you are    there's a lot of pitchers in the big leagues that doesn't throw hard and have a feeling for pitching.

I was really proud of him.  He didn't know until game time he was pitching.  He probably heard on the Internet but we shuffled our pitching around a little bit.  There were some things that we saw that we just felt like, to put ourselves in the best position, we shuffled some pitchers around, and he stepped up to the plate and did a great job for us.