March 16 Edwin Rodriguez Postgame interview

Q.  Edwin, could you give us some information on Yadier Molina.  He didn't play.  What happened?

EDWIN RODRIGUEZ:  (From Spanish) Yes, Yadier Molina, we have repeated several times, all these players have their Spring Training season, so in Spring Training they usually do not play nine innings in a row.  And Molina played nine innings yesterday.  So when there is an opportunity to let him rest, I let him rest.  He played nine innings yesterday.  If he had played nine innings today, he would play nine more innings tomorrow after a trip to the West Coast since we qualified for the next round.  So I gave him the rest today.  But he's well.  He physically is okay.  He was just better off resting.

Q.  Talk about how you prepared the players mentally.  They have to make a trip to the West Coast, as you said, and they are going to play against the defender.

EDWIN RODRIGUEZ:  (From Spanish) Yes, the nature of the tournament is like that.  It's like a sensation that everything has to be in a hurry, quick, because they have to report to the organization for Spring Training.  But it could have been someone else other than the Dominican Republic.  But these players are professional, they know they have to rest.  They'll find time to do it, but the mental aspect is the one that has to take control from now on.  And most of them know how to handle these situations, the change in time zones.  But this is more mental than physical from now on.

Q.  You are facing tomorrow a rival that has been not only for several days on the West Coast, but is also resting for several days, plus the advantage of accommodating the rotation as they want, the pitchers, the bullpen.  On the other hand, you have had to play until today, you have to play tomorrow.  Do you think it's a disadvantage for your team or a great advantage for Japan, all of those factors that I mentioned?

EDWIN RODRIGUEZ:  (From Spanish) If we want to add that they have been practicing and playing together for several months already, yes, it's an advantage.  But we were also at a disadvantage against Venezuela and a disadvantage when we got here.  So the players and the team have already learned how to play in these type of situations, and we are still here among the first four.  So they know how to handle this type of pressure and disadvantage very well.  But yes, that's the nature of the tournament.  That's what we have to deal with.

Q.  Now that the second round is over, you have to get ready and focus on the next game against the Japanese.  Could you tell me your approach to that game?  And also, do you have any idea what type of team the Japanese are?

EDWIN RODRIGUEZ:  I mean, we have a pretty good idea.  We've been watching them for years, and they're the two‑time champions of the WBC for a reason.  They know how to play the game.  They put a lot of emphasis on the little things, on mastering the obvious, and they don't make many mistakes, offensively or defensively.  So we have to go out there and almost play a perfect game and try to attack the hitters and be aggressive at the plate, take the next base.  So we have to turn the page for today's game and go out there and try to play the perfect game against them.

From now on, four teams left, so I mean, that means those four teams, they know how to play the game.

Q.  Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Holland, as well, but talk about the players from this region and how does the Caribbean come out?

EDWIN RODRIGUEZ:  (From Spanish) Yes, that's one situation I feel very happy about, to mention Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and even Holland that has many Caribbean players, at least from Latin America.  And yes, baseball continues to be from this area of the world, even though Japan has won the first two editions.  I think that at least we have a very good opportunity to have a Caribbean champion on this occasion, and the Dominican team has not lost.  And I do hope that the decisive game will be between Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

Q.  Can you talk about the significance of Robinson Cano to this series?

EDWIN RODRIGUEZ:  To Latin Americans, it means a lot.  I mean, we are watching one of the elite players, defensively and offensively, of the game.  And watching him on the other side and performing the 100 percent on every game, every inning, every pitch, I mean, he is there for a reason.  He wants to show the world that Latin Americans, they know how to play games.  He's a very proud man with ‑‑ from this side we have a lot of respect for him, not only for him but ‑‑ now that you mention Robinson Cano, but for Hanley Ramirez, for Nelson Cruz, for José Reyes, Santana.  They're all here, but Robinson Cano is one of the elite players of the game, has been here and playing the game the way he's been playing, you have to tip your hat to him.