Q. Can you talk about some of the younger players, you have your next generation guys like Rosario and Berrios, and also if you considered bringing Correa to this tournament?
EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: Yes, I did consider to bring Correa, but he played for me in the winter in Puerto Rico, and I thought that he still needed a little bit more work offensively. So that's why we stayed away from bringing him in here this tournament.
I tried to bring him as a -- I extended an invitation, but MLB did not allow him. But other than that, I think that eventually he will be here.
But José Berrios, I think he only just turned 19. He signed with professional baseball less than eight months ago. Now he's facing the USA lineup and the Dominican lineup with All Stars and in front of 30,000 plus fans.
Not only did his 98 miles an hour fastball impressed me, but the poise that he shows on the mound. There is no fear, and he attacks the hitters, and right now with a 99, 98 miles per hour fastball, with the big league changeup, he already has two big league pitches.
Eddie Rosario, a very good athlete with the Minnesota Twins, although he's been playing outfield, I think the Twins have been trying to make a conversion for him at second base, so he shows a lot of power, speed, plenty of arm strength. So he's a good athlete that eventually three or four years from now he's going to be an All Star.
Q. And two other guys I want to ask you how do they fit into your future, Javier Vazquez and Francisco Lindor?
EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: Oh, those two, I think Puerto Rico is in a very good situation in the middle of the infield, now with Correa, Lindor, and Javier Vazquez. We also had Chris Colon with Kansas City. He plays second base. I think we are in a good situation with the middle infield. I think Francisco Lindor eventually, two years from now, I would say he would be in the Big Leagues playing every day. Javier Vazquez, I haven't seen him play much, but talking to people that have seen it, they project him more as a third baseman, power hitting third baseman, than as a shortstop. But he's still playing shortstop. So right now Puerto Rico is in a very good situation with those four guys that eventually they're going to be the main guys providing the offense and defense and they're going to be a huge part of the Puerto Rican team for the next Classic.
Q. What is in store for you? Is it a challenge to be the best figures in view of the fact that this is being played in the middle of Spring Training? What things should be considered? And the same question for Ricky, from the point of view of the pitchers, what type of experience and how does the pitchers affect it at this time of the year?
EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: (From Spanish) it is difficult to be able to choose a date in mid season. I'd say it would be possible to set aside this tournament for three weeks and for the players who have had 150 innings. So the winter rules affect the winter leagues, so even though it's not the ideal season, it is the most suitable one.
In the case of making adjustments, yes, there is space to make adjustments, but I think it is the season that is most suitable, though not ideal.
And I think that the reason for the WBC is to internationalize baseball, and I think it has met that purpose when we have Holland, China, Taipei, Italy and Australia and Spain. I think that purpose has been met, and I think that it's a matter of going ahead and making some adjustment.
RICKY BONES: In the middle of the tournament, looking for a date as the most appropriate one, well, you have to make adjustments in everything in life and in sports. I think it is the most appropriate thing with respect to pitching because it gives the momentum and the time to warm up because if it is at the end of the season, these young people have already done the most innings, and the superstars were not exposed to. So the performance has been great. As he said, we have gone to the corners of the world where baseball was not popular, and it's been done.
So it's driving and it's giving a positive point to the young people in order to prove their own skills. In our case we have Berrios who's so young with so little experience, and Jesus Correa, he was in the WBC, he's facing up to the best lineup in the world. So that is a very positive injection for young people to get ready for their future and to become superstars and to have pitchers from other places where we still haven't seen any talent.
Q. Edwin, as a leader you worked with Giancarlo Stanton because of the Puerto Rican blood. Did you get to talk with him? Did you try to recruit him at some time?
EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: I had Giancarlo Stanton. At that time he was Michael Stanton, 18 years old. I worked with him when he was a rookie, and eventually in the Big Leagues. And he told me he believed that his great grandmother was Puerto Rican, but nobody in the family could give us concrete information whether it was the great grandmother. And if it was a great grandmother, he could not be included in the Puerto Rican team. But yes, the arrangements were made and he had the desire.
But when he was in the Big Leagues, the things that he decided for the U.S. team, although I don't think -- he was not free to play ball for Puerto Rico.
Q. Can each of you talk about Italy?
RICKY BONES: (From Spanish) we have a few scores, a few information that we have put together for Juan Lopez, who has done great work, in which the technical team of Puerto Rico we have put together some information in order to have a game plan and a pitching plan. And we are about to get together with all the pitchers and to show them the Italian team. We know that in this tournament there are no small enemies, they are all big, and they have batters. You've seen them and we have all seen them, and they have batters that are up to the task of competing and can put the game in their favor at any time.
Q. Edwin, when you heard for the first time that in Holland and Italy, countries such as this, baseball was played --
EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: (From Spanish) well, when the Classic started, there was already knowledge that baseball was being started to play in these countries. Remember that most of those baseball players in Holland, Italy and Spain, they are not natives of those countries but rather they have family relationships through their parents or grandparents, or in the case of Holland they come from Dutch territories.
But independently of how they are participating in those countries, I think that the countries, per se, when they say that there is this international boom in this sport, I think that now in Holland they are building a big stadium which will be the biggest in Europe, and that's what WBC is about, to internationalize the sport and to see we're included in the Olympics.
Q. Speaking for the guys here who covered you with the Marlins, we all enjoyed it when you were the manager here. My question is: Have you had any conversations with teams about becoming a big league manager again and is that something you would like to do down the road?
EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: Oh, definitely, I would like to do that down the road. I haven't had any conversations regarding being the manager. Some organizations have been calling me about the possibility of becoming a coach. Since 2011, when I left the Marlins, and then 2012 the same, 2013, they've been contacting me. But at this point in my career, I'm more interested in keeping managing than coaching. I don't want to take anything away from coaching, but at this point in my career I would like to stay as a manager regardless what level it is.
Q. How does Stanton compare to when you had him in Miami, the development he's had these few years? What are you seeing from then until now?
EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: Well, right now he's a huge improvement, and you can see Stanton getting better and better, not only every year and every at bat, when he was down in Minor Leagues, every game, every season, getting better and better, and at this point in his career it's scary that I don't think that he's even there yet as a player. It's scary because right now he's a superstar.
But I can see Stanton two years from now being an all around player, and we call that a five tool player. But in Stanton's case, that's a huge five tool player. So it is scary, and I saw that when he was 18 because of the way he approached the game, the way he approached his career, and that's only his physical ability. When you put all that together, when you're looking -- scouting players and trying to develop players.
Q. Did you think he was going to catch up on that rundown last night?
EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: No, I thought he had no chance, and then that huge body was right under the ball, long arms and all that. But the instance -- that's what I'm talking about, the instincts that he has developed in the outfield is amazing. We're talking with a guy, with a player, that he was thinking about going into football four years ago, and now he's a superstar in the Big Leagues. He's an amazing athlete.
Q. The opportunity you had to manage the Marlins, can you tell how you increased your profile in Puerto Rico so that it would open the doors for the World Classic?
EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: (From Spanish) yes, the opportunity that I had to manage in the Big Leagues with the Florida Marlins back then, yes, it has opened many doors for me, and one of them to manage the Classic for the Puerto Rican team. I'm always grateful to the management, Mr. Loria. But yes, it's given me the opportunity.
So to say, to make myself known and even more so in Puerto Rico, maybe I was better known in the United States than in Puerto Rico as a manager, and it has given me that opportunity.