Italy postgame interviews March 9

THE MODERATOR:  We'll start with questions for Team Italy.  Open it up for questions.

Q.  Marco, could you give us an evaluation of your team's performance over the three games?

MARCO MAZZIERI:  Our team performances?

Q.  Over the three games.

MARCO MAZZIERI:  Well, I think what we showed tells a lot.  I think we played a pretty good game tonight.  We couldn't pitch ahead in the count in the middle part of the game, and that's what hurt us.

But I think these guys went a long way to show that we deserve a little bit more respect from anybody here.

Q.  For both of you, can you describe what today was like finding out before the game that you had advanced to Miami and kind of contrasting the emotion of finding that out with having to go out and having to play a ballgame as well?

NICK PUNTO:  It was very exciting for us.  We just sat in the hotel room.  We had a big old room where the 40 of us were in there watching the game together, and it was exciting moment for all of us.  We were in there celebrating, knowing that we're moving on to Miami no matter what.  So it was a special moment for the guys.

MARCO MAZZIERI:  Of course last night's game kind of gave us a little worry, but thanks to God we were able to go out and play this game like a preseason game.  We kind of had all our pitchers working out a little bit, and throughout the middle of the game we decided to rest some of our guys.  And of course it made a difference to know that we were advancing no matter what.

Q.  Marco, with the next round being relatively quickly moving on, how are you y'all set up for Tuesday and kind of that?

MARCO MAZZIERI:  I think we're set up just fine because we have all our pitchers ready.  They're rested.  The team will just go fly out tomorrow and have a workout on the next day.  We're ready to roll again on the 12th.

Q.  What's your feeling about playing either Puerto Rico or the Dominican over there?

MARCO MAZZIERI:  Well, I said this all along:  We really don't care who we're playing.  We want to play our game.  Whoever is on the other side, it's not that big of a problem.  We need to focus on what we can do good.

I've been saying this many times:  We need to minimize mistakes to maximize results.  We need to play almost every time a perfect game.

But I think that we're just going to focus on ourself and focus on what we do good and use our weaknesses as a strength.

Q.  Marco, what sort of boost will this be for baseball in Italy?

MARCO MAZZIERI:  Well, it's hard to tell right now because I don't know what the media coverage has been the last three, four days.  But from texts that we are receiving, e mails and stuff, it looks like there's a pretty good excitement over there, and hopefully it will help us to develop the sport more than what it's been the last few years.

Q.  Nick, I was curious, you've been to the postseason many times, you won a World Series, the celebration you had today, how does that compare to some of those moments you've had with your teammates here in the States?

NICK PUNTO:  Every celebration I feel is unique in its own way.  And to get to celebrate with new teammates like we did today is always special.  This is playoff atmosphere, March 8th or wherever we're at right now, and it's exciting baseball.  And it's always exciting to get to celebrate, to go on to the next round.

So we're looking forward to getting on that flight tomorrow to go to Miami, and we'll see what happens.

Q.  Marco, you mentioned kind of resting your regulars.  What's the overall status of the health of the guys?  Do you have any concerns about   

MARCO MAZZIERI:  Everybody is a hundred percent ready to go.

Q.  Do you have a starter for Tuesday yet?

MARCO MAZZIERI:  Not yet.