China postgame interviews March 4

 Q.  It was a tough game, wasn't it.

JOHN McLAREN:  We knew this was going to be a very difficult game for us, because Cuba is so good, so powerful, and we had limited pitching today.  Playing three games in a row, we had to spread our pitching out, so we are in good shape for tomorrow night against Brazil, and what can I say about Cuba, it should be a good game with them and Japan.  They are a powerful club.  They always have been.  They are a baseball factory, and I wish them the best of luck.

Q.  Okamura got a base hit, what's your impression, as a skipper?

JOHN McLAREN:  He's well prepared, he studies the game, and I think he's got a nice future.  Right now, he just needs to play a lot of games to get more at‑bats and get stronger, and I like him a lot.  He's a good kid and I think he's got a bright future.

Q.  You lost to Japan last night and you lost to Cuba tonight.  Once again, if you can compare to both teams, what's the strong point for both Team Japan and Cuba?  I know it's a tough question, but which team is more difficult to defeat?

JOHN McLAREN:  Cuba has more power.  That's the biggest difference that I see.  They have more power.  I think Japan and Cuba are very aggressive.  They hit‑and‑run.  They put the game in motion.  To me, it's going to come down to pitching, which the game has always been about.  It should be a very good game and I'm looking forward to watching it.

Q.  Talk about being a part of the WBC, you got a base hit in your first at‑bat.

SHU OKAMURA:  Yeah, Team China cannot as good a result as personally, so once the game starts, I try to be as prepared as what I can do.

Q.  That was a close play, and you got the base hit from Team Cuba.

SHU OKAMURA:  Yes, finally I got a base hit.  I'm very satisfied with what I did.  And later on, my emotion of joy is coming from inside.

Q.  Right now you are participating in being part of the WBC, you have great experience and as a player.

SHU OKAMURA:  Yes, I was born and grew up in Japan, but this time I am happy that I can be a part of Team China.  And throughout my experience, I can learn a lot about international baseball experience; Japan, Cuba, Brazil we played against, and I watched a lot of good play with these countries.  So I'm eager to learn.

Q.  You had some tough lessons out there on the diamond today.  I have to ask, what did Shu tell you when he came off after he stole second?

JOHN McLAREN:  He said one of the Cuban infielders said it was a foul ball, so he just turned around and went back to first base.  It's a lesson learned.  The umpire has got to tell you.  I'm not going to comment any further, leave it alone.

Q.  Certainly some learning experiences out there on the field for your team today, but from talking to a lot of the scouts who are watching the game today and have followed this team over the last ten years or so, their impression was that the level of fundamentals and baseball understanding has really improved over the last four to eight years; what strides have you seen China make in that time?

JOHN McLAREN:  The times that I've been at the club since September 2011, I'll be honest with you, first time we were together as a team, we had trouble playing catch.  We just started tightening things up on a daily basis, and a lot of credit goes to Bruce Hearst and Wally Joyner who was here as hitting coach for a year and Art Howe and my two Chinese coaches do a great job.  I appreciate their efforts.

It's a thrill for me to be part of this just to help the Chinese Federation get better, and it's very gratifying because being in the game as long as I have, I'm trying to give back, and this is how I'm doing it.  So like I say, I'm proud of these kids, and we play hard every night.  We're looking forward to battling Brazil tomorrow.

Q.  Please excuse, can be a rude question, but if you are still a manager for the Major League ballclub, are these clean‑up hitters, like three, four and five hitters for Cuba, are they able to be part of the Major League level?

JOHN McLAREN:  I see a lot of Major League talent on the Cuban team.  The three, four hitters, shortstop, there's great talent.  I mean, you look at their physical tools and their body, that's God given.  And having the love of baseball in Cuba, that's what they are all about.  I'm anxious to see how some of these players keep playing internationally and I'm sure they wouldn't want to lose any again, but the Japanese players, getting to see them play last night, and the Cuban players, Chinese Taipei when I saw them, so I follow international baseball, so I'm anxious to keep following the Cuban players.