Canada Pregame Interview March 10

Q. I suppose very good news to hear that no one was suspended and, I guess even better, no one was hurt yesterday.

ERNIE WHITT: I'm more concerned yeah, it was nice to hear. I think they did the right thing. There's still a game to be played today and again. It was an unfortunate incident that happened yesterday, but I think they did the right thing by looking at it. We had a meeting last night with them.

So we'll just go on and play the game today.

Q. Any changes to your layup? Gillies has been struggling at the top.

ERNIE WHITT: I don't know who else we can put up there to lead off. Hopefully he'll click today and get on base for us.

There's no question, we know that. In a short tournament, it's awfully hard to make some changes. If we had other options, as far as a leadoff hitter, then we might consider it. But Tyson is probably our best defensive outfielder at this point in time, and we're just hoping that maybe he can get on base and that will put some pressure on the defense.

Q. Obviously you're happy to have your players back, but do you think there needs to be firmer rules in place to prevent something like what happened last night in the future?

ERNIE WHITT: Well, no one likes to see that type of stuff. That's not what baseball is all about. We're out to play the game in a professional way.

But as I said yesterday, they need to make some changes to this format. If they do that, then I don't think you'll have that type of incident that happened last night.

There's always going to be emotions involved when you play the game and you're representing your country. You can't get away from that. And I don't want to get away from that. But they need to make some changes to the format.

Q. Any suggestions to the tech committee?

ERNIE WHITT: That's not my position to do. Other than state that if you play the game the right way, the professionalism comes into play and everyone knows how to play the game the right way, in most cases.

Q. Obviously it wouldn't have been fair to issue any suspensions because Mexico wouldn't have suffered, you guys would have suffered from it. But from a broader perspective, is there a concern that since there's no punishment some players might look at it as there's no deterrent or no consequences for throwing at a guy or letting things get out of control in an elimination game at this tournament?

ERNIE WHITT: I certainly hope that that's not the case. I know it's not the case with our team in there. We know how the game is. If there is any we know that there's a possibility of suspension. We had guys that were worried about it yesterday, because of the fact of what happened. I think that if it was to happen again, then there would be suspension.

The sad part about the whole thing is that we had a lot of great performances yesterday and that was overshadowed by this incident. And you look at the pitching of Leroux and Albers and Magnuson, you look at the offense that we put out there with Morneau and Sanders, I mean, unfortunately, that was overshadowed by an ugly incident.

So hopefully we'll just get back to playing baseball, we forget about what happened yesterday, and move forward.

Q. Last night when you were in here you were still emotional 30 minutes after the game. What were you most angry at about that whole incident?

ERNIE WHITT: Well, the fact that some of our players could have gotten hurt. Cheap shots that are going around, again, it's just to me, it's a black eye on baseball. But, again, we're going to stand up for what we feel is right.

It was very obvious that the intent was on the Mexican pitcher to hit our hitter. It took him three tries to do it. I guess that's what really angered me the most. In professional ball, to me, you get one shot. The good thing about it, he didn't throw at our head. So I compliment him on that. He tried to hit him in the body. Which if you're going to take care of business, that's usually how it's done. You get hit on the first pitch. If you miss, then you know what? Shame on you. Then you move on. But it took him three tries. And that angered me.

Q. Ernie, you mentioned Mike Sanders. What were your impressions of him coming into this tournament and what have been your observations over these two games?

ERNIE WHITT: I've always been a Mike Sanders fan. And unfortunately he probably doesn't get the media coverage that some of the other people would if he was playing in New York or Chicago or any of the bigger city markets. But Michael has always been a good player, and unfortunately he plays up in Seattle where he doesn't get the coverage.

So I was expecting good things out of him. I'm expecting good things as we go forward. And I'm expecting good things for him in his career. Maybe this tournament might put the spotlight on him a little bit more.

Q. You guys scored four runs in the first inning yesterday. How do you plan to face Derek Holland today?

ERNIE WHITT: Hopefully we score five today. I don't know. We will come out and we'll compete. That's all I can say. We don't know what the outcome's going to be, but we'll we're going to be here. We're going to grind every at bat out. Every pitch that they throw, we're going to try to fight it and hopefully put the ball in play and find some holes.

Q. In 2006 Adam Loewen kind of put himself really on the map with that big win over the U.S. You got another first round pick in Jameson Taillon. Do you look at this as a great opportunity for not only himself but your team?

ERNIE WHITT: Jameson comes in obviously highly regarded, as Adam did in 2006. So we'll see what happens. This is a big stage for him. Is it unfair for us to put him there? I don't think so. I think sometimes the big stage is good for these young guys. The biggest thing for us is controlling his emotions, and hopefully he gets over that quickly and starts throwing strikes. And we'll see what happens.

But we do have a full our bullpen is full today. We have got a lot of choices to go to. But we're hoping that he can give us 60, 65 pitches and we're still in the ballgame.

Q. I was just going to ask about the bullpen. Is John Axford available? And I was wondering if you debated maybe saving him for today yesterday with the big lead in the ninth inning?

ERNIE WHITT: Unfortunately, we had no one to use in the bullpen other than John. If we would have used Molleken, he would have been not able for today. Jay Johnson was kicked out of the game. So Axford was our only choice at that point in time. And I talked to him, and he wanted to throw the ninth. He wanted it because he hadn't pitched in three days.

So we have already made contact with the Brewers. We have got the approval from them that we can use him today if needed.

Q. Did you stay here and watch last night's game or just go back to the hotel and kind of relax?

ERNIE WHITT: No, I just went back and relaxed. But we did come back here about 11:30 last night for our meeting. So it was a nice brisk walk.

Q. From the 8 6 win in 2006, what are the memories that stand out for you personally?

ERNIE WHITT: Oh, boy, I don't know. The disappointment of not moving on, I guess. I think there's always that rivalry that we have between the Canada and the United States. And I don't see it's going to be any different today.

Everyone knows what it is. Winner goes on, loser goes home. And I would like to be going to Miami.