Spain postgame interviews March 8

Q. Can you talk to us a little bit about what you feel about the team's performance.  Many thought that it was going to be a bigger deficit after that first inning, bases loaded, one out.  And the team not only hung on, but at times put Puerto Rico on the spot.

MAURO MAZZOTTI:  Well, yes, today before we left the hotel, MLB TV said that they would have the first knockout of the tournament, and I'm sorry for him.  And we started a little bit tense, a little bit nervous, a little bit of fear, and we faltered for an inning.  But I think that after, we played good and we had some good at‑bats, and we had our chances, but a double play that surely killed our chances.

But we played a game, and wet our feet in the tournament, and let's see.  Let's see what comes next.

Q.  Mauro, do you think in Spain they were following what was going on in San Juan?

MAURO MAZZOTTI:  I'm not going to tell you.  It's pretty important.  Well, when the game started it was 11:00 at night in Spain, and now looking at my cell phone, I saw a lot of people saw the game, made comments and pins and messages, so I think they saw it.  And they didn't fall asleep after the first inning.

Q.  Tonight's confrontation presented a match with a debuting team with zero experience in this kind of tournament against a team with so much baseball tradition, and you lost 3‑0.  Do you interpret it as a moral victory, so to speak?  A moral victory for the team?

MAURO MAZZOTTI:  I believe that when you get here, you have to show that you can play at the level of those people.  We played only one game, and now we have to show that we can play and we have to try to win.  Nobody likes to come here and go back after three days.

We started, as I said, take away the first inning, we played good.  First inning was a lot of noise, made defensive mistakes, people couldn't hear each other in the dugout. Sergio said he was a little bit nervous in the beginning.  But afterwards I think that we got in sync, and in the end we had our chances.

Q.  Many people would say that Puerto Rico has good hitting, but not necessarily do they have the best pitching.  Tell us about the job Puerto Rico's pitching did in today's game.

MAURO MAZZOTTI:  I think they pitched good.  I think they pitched good especially with the limited number of pitches, which is very important in the tournament where there is limitation on pitches, and they stayed right there.

Pitching cannot be anything else other than stopping the other team, so we had a chance of cashing in, and there was a double play that ended the rally.  So I think they did a good job tonight.

Q.  John, could you talk to us about your impression and your sensations facing a team like Puerto Rico having on the other side of the field, having players like Beltran in a tournament of this magnitude?

YOANNER NEGRIN:  It was an excellent game.  Despite our defeat, we gave a good effort.  Despite that first inning we did more, but they left with the victory.

They earned it.  They played very good, and the pitching was excellent and controlled, and that's where their success lies and the job that they did, and the bullpen.

Q.  50 years ago Puerto Rico went to Spain and taught baseball to the Spaniards.  A game 3‑0 says that it's very close.  It's not a victory, but it's a country that didn't know baseball and is now playing Puerto Rico.

MAURO MAZZOTTI:  Well, we feel good.  We started losing, but then I think we played quite good, and we hope that will repeat itself tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow after playing at the same level, and if we have a chance, we'll win.

Q.  You saw the game between Venezuela and Dominicans, the game and the lineups.  You're going to face them in the next day.  Talk about the Dominican team.

MAURO MAZZOTTI:  Well, the Dominicans I don't have to explain here.  Their pitchers, we saw them yesterday, and we all know.  But it's three hours of a game.  I mean, three hours of a game you can see how baseball is.  We started in the first half hour, people were thinking it's a knockout.  And then the game went so quickly with the batters having difficulty and taking a different pitching rhythm.  We're going to try to play our game, which is maybe not force against their force, it's to play intelligently.