Dominican Republic postgame interviews March 10

Q: For Tony Peña, a great rivalry between Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic, finally the Dominican Republic came out with the victory. How did you find the game?

TONY PEÑA: Incredible, incredible, because we knew that all of the games were going to be difficult. Today we played a very difficult game again, and two teams that are very good, these teams, and in the end, well, we came out victorious. But it's a great team, and we're both going to face each other in Miami again.

Q: Robinson, 15 runs in these three games. What has been the key for you to have that timing at this height of what would be the training camp?

TONY PEÑA: Well, first of all, I want to thank God. Really, how can I say, I was well prepared, and how can I tell you, you go to the plate and you leave everything in God's hands to look for your pitch and make swings, and everything came out better than expected, and follow the same approach. Go to the plate and play the same game, knowing that you want to win the game.

Q: I guess it'll be an early first game Tuesday at 1:00. Your thoughts, Tony? And secondly, Robinson, the mentality of the ballplayer, because Italy surprised a lot of people by winning its first two games.

TONY PEÑA: Well, as I said before, there is no weak opponent. Italy for whatever reason went down to the second round. It's not a bad team. For some reason they got there, but we have the same mentality. We're going to study them and see what they have, and then from then on we're doing to know what we're going to do.

ROBINSON CANO: Well, as a player the approach is going to be the same. Go there, do my job, not trying to do too much but doing the little things. When you start little, you get big, and as Tony says, there is no easy opponent. And everyone who's here I believe is here because they have a good team, and whoever goes to the second round it's because they won the games that they had to win. We are going to go with the mentality of playing tough and winning.

Q: Tony, you don't change your winning lineup, but you have guys that showed they want the chance and they are showing it. What could Tony Peña do to alternate these young kids, who belong on the team, with a superstar like Miguel Tejada who's playing also on third base?

TONY PEÑA: Well, as I said before, I want to play everybody. I want everybody to play, and I can only have nine playing at the same time. But you know, one thing I let all my kids know is I'm going to let them all play. Moises came in to substitute De Aza, and look at the play that he did. He saved the game with that play.

So these are young kids who are around all of these superstars, and all of these great ballplayers that we have. The only thing they do is make them feel good and make them produce. Francisco, the catcher, Moises, Leury Garcia, they are here because they want to represent our country. They want to represent our country, and they came for a purpose, not simply to be sitting on the bench and watching others play. That makes them feel a lot better, and so I'm sure next time when they get onto the field they're going to be more loose.

Q: In the eighth inning with a man on third and Carlos Beltran comes up and you went out to the mound to talk to the pitcher, what did you talk about?

TONY PEÑA: Well, simply to remind him what we wanted to do with Carlos Beltran, and he is a batter who is a complete hitter. He has power and he can hit the ball out of the park. It is not the pitching that he wanted to throw, and he almost paid the price.

Q: Robinson, how do you feel being the Most Valuable Player in this World Classic?

ROBINSON CANO: Well, it feels wonderful but it feels great to win and go on to the second round because we weren't able to do it last time, and as I said, it's a bitter taste to have to go back early, but this time it's been different. As Tony said, we have a great chemistry of young guys and veterans, and I believe that that's what has helped us win.

Q: The Dominican Republic got what it expected to go on to the second round. The next game is Tuesday at noon, specifically with Italy. Italy we know it is a European team, they don't have that much tradition in baseball, but they have their work cut out for them.

TONY PEÑA: Well, it's not that it's a European team. Why, because they have a lot of Big League players. They have any Punto, who knows how to play baseball very well. So they know how to play. They have a lot of ballplayers. It's not such an easy team. We are going to study them. But the fact that they belong, that it's a European country, it's not that all their players are from Europe, they have a lot of players that are descendents from Italians, but they have a good team.

Q: Tony, beyond what we always say, that there is no easy opponent and that each game is different, playing as you were playing, your team at this time, is there any team in the Classic that can beat you guys?

TONY PEÑA: We're not robots. We are human beings. But I can tell you that when you want to, you can do it.

Q: Robinson, you've played second base for the New York Yankees, played under a lot of pressure there and played in a lot of important postseason games. Compare the environment of playing for the New York Yankees and playing for your country in the World Baseball Classic.

ROBINSON CANO: Well, the environment is a little bit different because here you have Aybar, Tejada, Encarnacion and other players. We also want to have fun, but I have to remind them one guy makes a joke, and you say, well, I feel so much the pressure of the game, and thank God in all of the games we been able to score some runs, and that is important and takes a little bit of pressure off you.

Q: Tony, you're the bench coach with the Yankees. Answer the same question.

TONY PEÑA: Well, all I want is for the kids to have a good time. I don't know if you've noticed the chemistry and how much fun they're having, each one of them, not only before the game, but they're enjoying it during the whole game. When they're not playing, their job is to be a cheerleader. Their job is to keep the team relaxed. It's an extraordinary environment. We have only one thing in mind, and together we are going to achieve it, God willing.

Q: In November it was expected that you were going to be the favorites here in San Juan. What is the pressure for Miami and then up to San Francisco?

TONY PEÑA: Pressure? There is none. We are going to keep on having fun. We have a goal, and that goal is if we achieve it, we're going to achieve it working, because no one is going to give us anything ‑‑ no team is going to give a game away. We're going to keep on going forward, and it's because we're going to go play tough and we're going to win each game. We're going to play the game inning by inning, pitch by pitch, out by out, and try to make runs. And if we can, who knows where we can go.

Q: Robinson, you won MVP, that home run to tie the game, what did it mean to you?

ROBINSON CANO: Well, you know that there's always been that rivalry between Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. You can see the difference how the stadium was today, and when they saw that home run, the stadium almost fell apart. My mentality wasn't to get hit a home run but it was to get on base, so it ended a lot better. And it gives me so much pride to do that in that situation with the team that was there, what everybody was expecting, and that was what raised our mood. Then the next inning we took the lead, so the team's spirits went up.