Team Japan interviews March 16

Q. You've been able to you had some really good performance in the WBC thus far. How have you adjusted to the ball during the tournament and what do you expect going forward, how do you expect to attack the Puerto Rican lineup.

KENTA MAEDA: (Not in English.) So I have pitched for two games and I know it is very important to understand them, but I really want to stick to my own pitching style. So I will pitch against different teams, but I will stick with my own pitching style.

Q. Japan has won the Classic the two times it's been played before. Is there any pressure for you guys and do you believe that you're the favorite to win again?

KOJI YAMAMOTO: (Not in English.) I have been feeling the pressure from the first pool. And I have survived up to here.

Q. (Not in English.) I know that you originally had the practice during the daytime, but because of the accident, you have to have the practice during the night. So actually you will have the time closer to the actual playing time. How do you feel about it?

KOJI YAMAMOTO: (Not in English.) So the timing of the practice could change, I knew that. I was prepared. So I will just practice wherever I can.

Q. (Not in English.) Same question for Kenta.

KENTA MAEDA: It's closer to the actual time, whether it's the temperature or the wind, so I think I can predict it, so that's in favor of us, I think.

Q. I understand Japan had a scout or a representative watching the games in Miami. What is your opinion of the Puerto Rican hitters and how do you plan to attack them?

KOJI YAMAMOTO: (Not in English.) Of course I've watched them through TV, but I would like to have Japanese style baseball and then I want to also utilize the analysis of the score and I will come and set up the strategy.

Q. How has the WBC experience been for you and do you have any thoughts about ever pitching in the United States in our Major Leagues here?

KENTA MAEDA: (Not in English.) It's a very difficult question to answer for me. Of course I have pitched twice for WBC and this was the first international match for me, so this was such a great experience for me. The next match will be the biggest experience for me. That's going to be a really good personal experience for myself. And for the next question, the second question, it's really hard for me to answer, so please let me say just no comment. But I'm delighted that I could pitch on the Major League grounds here.

Q. (Not in English.) During this game, the strong teams have been falling away one after another, and so this has been really thrilling for me, as well. Now that the US team is gone, and for the press, it's very refreshing to see the Puerto Rico team coming up. So how do you observe this game so far?

KOJI YAMAMOTO: (Not in English.) With baseball, anything could happen. Anything could happen until the game is over. In that sense, WBC has incidents of seeing such strong teams falling off, so I don't want to give or speak in favor of other teams. I've been just focusing on how to win. So I don't know what's going to happen, but it's really exciting.

Q. For Kenta, have you seen the ballpark and do you think it's similar to the park you play in in Hiroshima, very big and hard to hit home runs in?

KENTA MAEDA: (Not in English.) The atmosphere is similar. But as I walk out to the ground, it's very different. So I had a very fresh feeling that, Oh, this is the ground of the major baseball team.

Q. The U.S., with all its Major Leaguers, is knocked out once again. Japan has won twice. You have none of our major Leaguers in it, what does that say about Japanese baseball? You guys are still playing, still winning, and might win it for a third time.

KOJI YAMAMOTO: (Not in English.) As I said earlier, we don't know what's going to happen with the baseball and each day has different things happening. So the condition of the opponents, I can't know. So I just have to focus on my own team. I just have to make sure that my team is good, in a good condition.

Q. A lot has been made here in the U.S. of the way that Latin American teams have celebrated, the way that their fans have acted. It's different than we see here in the United States normally. Is that the type of celebration that you see and what are your guys' opinions on it?

KOJI YAMAMOTO: (Not in English.) Of course every country has differences. So I'm sure it is okay to have differences. It's hard to give you a comment on this.

Q. It seems in the Tokyo round your hitters really started to come around. Especially Sakamoto and some others. Has that been able to carry over from Tokyo to now? Do you think that your guys have come from the break in good condition still at the plate?

KOJI YAMAMOTO: (Not in English.) Hitters have a good continuance throughout the game, so I think that's leading to scoring. So including Ae and Sakamoto and other players, they are maintaining a good condition.

Q. (Not in English.) Sorry about this kind of question, this is to Kenta. In Arizona you have met the players who have experience with past WBC's. Were you able to receive any specific advice that you were able to make use of?

KENTA MAEDA: (Not in English.) Right. Well, there are things that I cannot really tell you here, but they have told me that the day I will feel a lot of pressure or that I will need to go through a lot of tension. So it may look easier from the outside. But there are things you never really understand until you really do it yourself, so that was the talk we had.