Tony Peña pregame interviews March 13

Q:  We already know that the Dominican Republic's rival is the United States, so what's the lineup you plan for?

TONY PEÑA:  Definitely already know that it is the United States.  We are getting ready.  We know who is going to be their pitcher.  He's a pitcher with many resources.  He can go far in the game.  And that's one of the things we're going to get ready as if we were playing in our park.

Q:  You said yesterday in your press conference post game that the United States is still the team to beat here.  Do you still believe that, and nothing obviously changed your mind from last night, but why do you say that?

TONY PEÑA:  Well, because it is.  The United States is the best team.  This ballclub is deep, deep, deep, offensively and pitching‑wise.  Whoever said Dominican is the favorite, great.  But we know; we feel good about ourselves and they have to beat us, but we have to beat them.

Q:  They've been saying throughout the tournament that just having USA on their jersey puts a bull's eye on them.  Do you think that that's true?

TONY PEÑA:  I don't think it's the letters that have anything to do with the baseball.  We have Dominican on the front, and that's the reason why we're here.  From the get‑go we have been saying, this is one of the toughest tournaments that you'll ever play, because it's only three games.  Tomorrow is only one game.

Q:  Plus you guys are the two teams that are stocked with Major League players, so really no matter what Japan does this time, from top to bottom you have to say that you guys are the best teams.

 

TONY PEÑA:  Well, we don't have to say we are the best team.  What we say is that we believe in ourselves.  We believe in ourselves.

 

Q:  Can you tell us about how Cano is playing so well, about José Reyes possibly for tomorrow and whether it's possible for Miguel Tejada to play tomorrow?

TONY PEÑA:  The kids are playing really well, not only Cano and Reyes.  In the lineup, yes, I will play Tejada tomorrow against their knuckler pitchers.

Q:  What can you tell me how this Dominican Republic team has represented their country in this event?

TONY PEÑA:  Look, I am surprised.  I am surprised by the way that these guys have integrated into the team, and as I said, we are representing the 8 million people of our country.  Ten million people on our island, we are representing them.  And this group wanted to come here to represent our country in a dignified manner.  We are giving a good game, and we will continue to do so.

Q:  With the pitching game, it was said that Volquez was not going to go 75.  He pitched 74.  He will go tomorrow with the maximum for this round.  Are we going to continue having our bullpen as our vanguard?

TONY PEÑA:  We saw a pattern in the second round.  The pitchers can get to 80 pitches, but that does not mean that I'm going to wait for him to do 80 pitches for me to do the change.  I continue to manage the way I know how to manage.  The game tells me what I have to do.  When the game tells me what I have to do, I'll do what I have to do to win the game.  If God doesn't will for him to get to 80 pitches, but in my head, I'll be thinking whom I am going to use because if I get the load in the fourth or fifth inning, I have to go with my bullpen, which is the strength of this team.  I will not wait for something to happen for me to use whomever I have to use.

Q:  Why the choice of Deduno and not Wandy for tomorrow?

TONY PEÑA:  (From Spanish) Deduno is on his fifth day.  Wandy is not scheduled to pitch tomorrow.  He has one less day than Deduno.  We cannot use a starter with less than his scheduled days.

Q:  Everybody is in good health, nobody has a physical problem?  Because there are rumors of injuries.

TONY PEÑA:  (From Spanish) no, I have no complaints.  Every day the trainer comes to me and gives me a report on a daily basis.  After the game I have to give a report on how each of the boys is doing, and everyone is okay.

Q:  You're playing under the same restrictions that Joe Torre is with spacing of days, getting guys their work, doing all that kind of stuff where you're mixing strategy and trying to get guys ready for Spring Training, aren't you?

TONY PEÑA:  Yes, indeed.  You're correct.  They are not at full strength yet.  Some players, they look really good.  They look like in mid‑season form.  But some others, they don't, and we have to watch.  We have to watch those guys because we are here to win, but also we need to protect our players. \

Q: You were a coach on the Yankees under Joe.  What's it going to be like to manage against him tomorrow?

TONY PEÑA:  You know what, I think about before the game, but during the game I'm just going to think about one thing.  I love Joe.  He's an unbelievable person.  He's the type of guy that would give you everything he had, and I will respect him, but we come to win, too.

Q:  In Puerto Rico you said that Miguel Cabrera will win a game or Carlos Beltran.  We are talking about the main players of the opposing team in the first round.  Here with the U.S., there are many players who can win the game.  Understanding that you also know them and so forth.

TONY PEÑA:  (From Spanish) look, when you have a team that is like that, full of good batters, you cannot focus on only one.  You have to focus on the moment.  There are certain batters in that lineup that you can say, no, this one will win for me that is back here, like Mauer.  If Mauer is going to bat and I see that Mauer is a better batter than the one behind, Mauer is not going to win the game.  I want to have the other one win the game for me, and like that in the lineup.  And that is how I think to manage the game tomorrow.  Each batter has to be respected, and I'm going to respect them.

But we are there to play as good as we can.  What do we know how to do?  Play baseball.  They have a good team; we do, too.  It's going to be a good game, a good game.  But we're going to throw with all the confidence in ourselves to go play the game and enjoy our game.

Q:  What do you call that encounter of the Dominican Republic and the United States, the two best countries?  When you talk about baseball, this is the first time in this type of event that we will face each other.  I'd also like to know how you'll face your teacher Joe Torre having him in front of you managing for the United States?

 

TONY PEÑA:  (From Spanish) well, your question is more or less the same question that he asked me and this gentleman here asked me.  I don't have in my mind ‑‑ I haven't been in the Classic before.  I didn't know whether the Dominican Republic had faced the United States before.  I don't have names for the game.  I only say it's one more game.  One more game.

 

What I can assure you, the one thing I can assure you is that the boys are ready.

I told him the same thing.  I was a coach for Joe Torre and I love him and he's a great person, but I'm going to be thinking before the game about Joe, but during the game I'm going to be thinking about winning the game.