Workout day interview with E. Rodriguez and N. Figueroa

Q. Nelson, you have pitched a lot of big games in your career. The one tomorrow do you consider the most important one?

NELSON FIGUEROA: (From Spanish) one of the most important ones for the tournament and for the team that fought so much last night. I want to help this team in everything I can tomorrow. Yes, it's going to be big, but it's not like I'm not going to sleep because I expect a lot of success tomorrow.

Q. Edwin, whoever you play against, United States or the Dominican Republic, they're going to be favorites. Is that a weight off your shoulders?

EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: (From Spanish) well, the question is whether it motivates us or something. Motivation has always been from the inside of the team, not from outside. The boys know what they're doing. They are representing a country. Each member of the team is on the team they want to be on, and they are enjoying the moment, and they have assumed the responsibility that each one has. So motivation continues to come from them, from the team and not from the opposing team.

Q. Nelson, do you have any preference between the United States and Dominican Republic? Do you know the Dominicans best because you were there the whole winter? Do you have any preference?

NELSON FIGUEROA: (From Spanish) no, the preference is to win, no matter who it is, no matter who is in front of me. I am playing with this team which I support, Puerto Rico. It doesn't matter whom I face. To me they are both powerful. They are great teams, great talent, no doubt. But I think that the one who's going to lose today is going to come tomorrow, and so we have some motivation to get our team ahead, and that's what I'm going for.

Q. Edwin, do you have a particular plan for David Wright, pitch around him or any particular plan for him?

EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: (From Spanish) well, no, I think that we have plans for David Wright when we faced him the first time. It was a matter of executing, and so we're just going to keep the same plan, and hopefully we'll be able to execute, I mean, according with the plan.

But there's no secret. I mean, that's why he's one of the best hitters in the game, because of his ability to make adjustments during the game. So we'll just go out there and make sure that whenever he comes out there's nobody on base, at least not the bases loaded. We don't have a specific plan to attack, to pitch to David Wright. We're going to keep the same plan as we had before. What we're going to try to focus on is to execute, to put that plan into action. That's what we failed. But David Wright is David Wright; he's one of the best hitters in the major leagues, and because he has the ability to make adjustments in the course of the game.

Q. Having runners in scoring position has been a problem in these past couple of games. Is that a point of emphasis or what can you do to have more success with runners in scoring position?

EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: Well, at least we're getting runners in scoring position. That's a plus. Now we're trying to get the offense to the next level. I think that we have to keep in mind that a lot of these players, this is Spring Training for them. They're not in their best playing condition.

So hopefully they will be able to make adjustments and come through and make -- because our lineup has very good RBI players, and they've been showing that for many years. So I'm pretty sure that hopefully by tomorrow we'll be able to make adjustments, first getting runners in scoring position and then try to bring them in.

Q. Edwin, do you like the changes in the lineup that you made yesterday in the bullpen?

EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: Yes. Tomorrow we'll have Nelson and we'll have Giovanni in the bullpen. Everybody is fresh. And yes, what we've done, if I have to do it again, I'll do it again. Each of the boys knows his role, and that's important.

Q. Nelson, there's 80 pitches in this round. Can you get up to 80?

NELSON FIGUEROA: (From Spanish) yes, that's the goal I have. If I can throw 11 pitches, six, seven innings, I think we'll be winning. We'll be in the game. The game is close, and I'm doing my job, and that's the best I can do. But in the last two games, I felt that I was improving, finally pitching the way I could pitch, and I had to be out. I'm used to 50 pitches, something like that, so with 80 I want the same thing. I want to get the outs for each batter. I'm not going to give away anything to anyone. I'm not going to give anyone four balls to put someone on base. It's the same plan to take him out with three pitches.

Q. With a pitcher like Nelson, with experience with so many batters, was it coincidence?

EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: (From Spanish) I would say it's coincidence. Ever since we had to play the game yesterday against Italy, I saw the possibilities more positive than many fans did. We were able to win yesterday the way we won, and I feel confident and the team is very confident for the very fact that I just mentioned: Having Nelson Figueroa pitching for us. So that will give us the certainty that we will stay in the game. But we need to have runs and support his work.

Q. Keeping that positive mindset, who could be pitching on Sunday for Puerto Rico?

EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: (From Spanish) we have always tried to keep the rotation. In the event that Giovanni Soto does not pitch tomorrow, then he could pitch the next day. He's a starting pitcher, but it depends on how the game develops tomorrow.

Q. Could you describe the emotions of the team the past few days?

EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: (From Spanish) yes, many emotions, from the eighth inning to this moment, many emotions. I can tell you the positive mind and the self confidence of the team remained even when we were down in the game. But even in the way that we were able to react in that eighth inning gives us more confidence and gives the team additional strength.

Also taking into account that we did not bat the way we should have batted, and still we could win. That's why I look at it from a positive point of view. We did not bat as we should have, and I view it as a glass half full. I would like to look at it from the positive side.

When we have Pagan, Rios, Beltran, Molina, Aviles who have been proven by many years, that's what you can expect.