March 9 Edwin Rodriguez & Orlando Roman interview, Puerto Rico

Q. Orlando, from what you've seen of the Dominican offense, is there anything new that you've gotten out of that, and what can you expect tomorrow?  And Edwin, what do you expect tomorrow, which is possibly one of the greatest rivalries in the Puerto Rican sport?

ORLANDO ROMAN:  Well, yes, they are a team that is very aggressive.  They're a team that runs, they hit and they have all the tools, but we're going to be working hard.  Yadier and I are going to work on that and be aggressive with them.  I mean, not get lazy or anything at all with them.

EDWIN RODRIGUEZ:  Well, in tomorrow's game against Dominican, it's a custom, yes, this rivalry between Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico fans.  The fans love it.  They enjoy it.  We enjoy that rivalry, the same as a rivalry with Venezuela.  I believe the talent that is on the field to enjoy it as fans, and we are ready for that.

Q.  Edwin, you made some changes in the lineup for today's game.  Talk to us a little bit about that.  And I would like to know, also, the field is going to be wet, how does that limit your ability to play aggressively in tonight's game?

EDWIN RODRIGUEZ:  Well, as to the changes in the lineup, I mean, when the team was drafted, it was organized, I mean, including the so‑called extras, to contribute greatly.  We proved that in the practice games that we had in Fort Myers.  I think we have a good lineup of position players, hitters.  And Maldonado, he's a proven guy, a very good batter.  I think he brings a little bit more offense to the lineup, and he plays very good at first base. He has been playing and practicing first base with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Beltran is DHing for many reasons.  First of all, you have to take into consideration that many of these ballplayers, it was the first time that some of them played nine innings for months.  They hadn't played nine innings, and we've been taking some of them little by little. And in the case of Beltran as DH, I think we can keep him in the game without the ailments that he's had in his foot hurting him too much.  It's something to be cautious with, but you have to address it and you have to deal with it.

As to the last part of the question in terms of running and being aggressive, the Venezuelan team also has great runners, and we're going to have to depend on the hit‑and‑run, and the pitching and defense.  The defense will be even more difficult than running the bases because with a wet field, the ball runs really quickly.

Q.  Edwin, Venezuela is getting Salvador Perez involved.  He's a player who's getting a lot of talk, and I want to know if there's any report on how to work with him.  He's the kind of batter that knows how to take advantage of the situations, and I want to know specifically how you're going to work on him, and how you're going to work with the other players.  and what will be the plan to attack Carlos Zambrano?

EDWIN RODRIGUEZ:  You're talking about Miguel Cabrera?

Q.  Salvador Perez.

EDWIN RODRIGUEZ:  Well, Salvador Perez I've had a chance of seeing him in the training camps.  I was with Cleveland in Arizona.  He's a good hitter.  That lineup of Venezuela, it's not only that it's a Big League lineup, it's a powerful lineup.

And how to pitch to the guys, we have an idea.  I'm not going to say it right now, but obviously we do have to be aggressive.  We've got to be aggressive, and we have to try to get ahead in the count.   

As to Zambrano, everybody knows Zambrano's quality.  We have to be patient, and we're going to keep the style of offense that we've had during the exhibition games, patient but aggressive at the same time. We have to try to manufacture runs, because up to now what we've seen in the exhibition games and yesterday, we're going to keep that style.

Q.  Edwin, the World Classic is a competition in the middle of Spring Training, and you also stated that yesterday was the first time that the ballplayers played nine innings.  How does that change the vision of a manager when he knows that at the same time there is pitch limit, and many of those ballplayers are not in shape yet?

EDWIN RODRIGUEZ:  Well, that's a very good question that many times the fans don't understand.  Many of these players are in the middle of Spring Training.  Their body is not yet in condition to play nine innings on the playing field.  Yadier Molina, it's the first time that he's catching nine innings for a long time.  And so I'm going to bear that in mind in today's game.  And the great majority of those that are on the playing field, not only Puerto Rico, all the teams that are here, there are very few that have played nine innings.  That's why we have to be very careful.  You have to think not only about the Classic, but their regular season and prevent them from being in a situation where they could be injured.

Q.  Orlando, you're going to pitch against Dominican Republic, have you studied the Dominican lineup?  What is your plan?  What are the batters that you have to take care of most?

ORLANDO ROMAN:  Well, I have to take care and be careful with all of them because they're all good hitters.  There's no easy spots in the lineup.  They're all aggressive, and they have a lot of experience.

So you know, I've studied a few players that I've not seen, and well, I'm going to be getting together with Yadier to be on the same page and have a good outing.