March 9 Tony Pena, Nelson Cruz & Samuel Deduno interview, Dominican Republic

Q.  Can you talk about the last inning.

TONY PEÑA:  As I said before, they are not an easy opponent.  You can see how in that baseball game, when you thought that the game was easy, in the end you could feel things a little bit tense.  But we had a great closer, and that's what we saw.

Q.  Tony, first the team didn't start hitting and then gained momentum.  Do you believe really that it was a case of getting to know the pitcher?  And for Deduno, the other way around.

TONY PEÑA:  Look, in the beginning we didn't know anything about this kid who pitched, Negrin.  So thank God the guys were patient with him because he's the kind of pitcher who has stays around the plate.  That's why we saw so many pitches that he made.  And then as I said before, the team for Spain, nobody knows anything about, so they brought a pitcher that pitches and we had no idea about those guys.

One of the things that you have to give them credit is they were throwing strikes and getting us out off balance.

Q.  Can you comment on the hitters, Samuel.

SAMUEL DEDUNO:  Really I didn't know most of the batters.  We focused on throwing strikes, and the strikes were moving pretty good, and everything came out fine, thank God.

Q.  How is the mood for the game with Puerto Rico?

TONY PEÑA:  Well, it all depends on what happens tonight.  I mean, we are in a very good position.  I mean, it's not only that we won two games and we still are in, but we're going to pay attention to what happens tonight in this game.

But the guys are good, they're fine.  We're here to get it all.

NELSON CRUZ:  We came here to not give up.  We have three games and we're going to give 100 percent in each of the games, regardless of what happens today.  Tomorrow we're coming with the same intensity.

Q.  What can be done since practically you're close to the second round, what can you do to have better knowledge of those unknown pitchers that you're facing?

TONY PEÑA:  Well, look, the only thing we can do is go to Google and on the internet and see what each one of those pitchers has, like we did with Negrin.  If there are players that are in an organization, in the Big Leagues, in the Minor Leagues, we have a certain idea of those players.  The ones that we don't know, we've got to Google them and maybe give out reports to the guys, so they can have an idea.

Q.  Getting off the subject of the Classic, but with regards to baseball there was an announcement today that is very relevant in New York with regards to the retirement of Mariano Rivera.  What do you think about his decision?  And Nelson also who has faced Mariano for a long time, and what do you think about his announcing his retirement after the season?

TONY PEÑA:  I believe it is news that maybe will hurt a lot of fans because Mariano Rivera had a great career.  And I believe that for you to make the decision of retiring, well, you have to be sure of what you want to do.  And I believe that Mariano Rivera, he's very sure of what he wants to do.

Retirement, we cannot all make a decision.  Not everybody can say, well, I'll retire.  It's more difficult to accept that.  But thank God he has been able to make that decision to take that step, and you've got to respect it.

NELSON CRUZ:  Well, we have to congratulate him on his career.  He's done good things, and I won't have to face Mariano anymore.  But I like him, I like to be with him, not so much against him.  But I love to watch him, I like his demeanor.  He is so calm and I admire the kind of person he is as a human being.

Q.  What caught your eye the most of Spain today?

NELSON CRUZ:  Well, I would say the pitching.  They had a great number of pitchers, as we said before.  We didn't know most of them, and in the case of Cruz it was the only one that we had some knowledge about.  And they never gave up, as we said.  There is no weak opponent in this Classic, and we have to stay on top of them for nine innings.

Q.  Now with the victory before today, Dominican Republic has 15 runs and officially Dominican Republic is in the second round.

TONY PEÑA:  Well, until the games are over, I don't count the victory.  We won and we'll come into tomorrow and we're going to play with the same intensity.  And I'm sure that group of players that is representing the Dominican Republic are going to do the same until we're done with this.

Q.  Tony, the Spain team, even though they have not won, they did not win, they played good games against Puerto Rico and against you guys.  We've seen other teams from Europe, Italy, the Netherlands, looking really good.  I would like a comment about what you think the game ‑‑ it's picking up in Europe, and the way they're playing in this World Baseball Classic.

TONY PEÑA:  Well, Major League Baseball's ideas of opening up baseball worldwide, baseball is being played in Africa, baseball is being played all over.  I know there's a professional league in Italy, and maybe there will be one in Spain soon.  So globally baseball is starting to move up.  We see Taipei China and Korea that are improving a lot better every day, and I think that's Major League Baseball's idea in this Classic is opening the door for all those countries to start playing baseball and having better knowledge of the game.