Interview with Edwin Rodriguez

Interview with Edwin Rodriguez

Q. (Not in English.) Your message on Facebook came out in a lot of the media, talking about how important this is for Puerto Rico. Aside from what this means for the sport, tell us about what it means for the guys and for Puerto Rico.

EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: (Not in English.) Well, I wanted to bring the same philosophy, the same message that we have here as a team from day one. It's easier to use that message as a society, that kind of philosophy. It's a group that knew each other, but they had never worked together. They have been successful having merged as a team. I thought that this was the perfect time to share that philosophy.

Q. (Not in English.) Oftentimes the story of these short events, which are not very well known, are important games. Tell me about Giancarlo Alvarado, his qualities and the reasons that he is important to start for Puerto Rico.

EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: (Not in English.) First of all, we started a rotation from the beginning, from round one. We have always kept that rotation for a number of reasons. First, because we saw good results, and also because this is training, this is training for many of them. They're going to be throwing these days, and also because of the importance of this tournament.

Giancarlo is a veteran. He's been in a number of leagues. He's not been in the major leagues, but in Japan, he's done well. And as a pitcher, he's always used to these major crucial games. I think this time when he got called to throw the ball and facing off with an important team, I think he's the right one not only because of his talent, but also because of his experience. He has the emotional state which is adequate for this job.

Q. (Not in English.) We know it's a little uncomfortable for a pitcher to travel to different stadiums and different conditions. How has the pitching staff been able to work so that the pitchers don't feel so uncomfortable pitching in these conditions?

EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: (Not in English.) As professionals, as all teams, all the teams are playing under the same conditions, the same advantages and disadvantages, but my guys are used to the changes in temperatures, changes in conditions.

Also, the enthusiasm and intensity of this championship, you know, those factors are secondary, really.

Q. How would you describe the rivalry between these two clubs playing tonight and yourself and for the team? What's it like to be taking that to this world stage?

EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: Yes, being so close geographically, definitely for these teams have been meeting for a long time, not only in baseball, but other disciplines of sport, like basketball and all of that. So this goes back for many, many years. It is very friendly, but at the same time it's very intense.

We have a lot of respect, not only for the Dominican Republic players, but also for the Dominican community, which is a huge one in Puerto Rico. We all know that they are all watching, not only the Dominican Republic in Puerto Rico, but the public in Dominican Republic, and it's a very friendly one.

And since day one when we were in San Juan Puerto Rico, Tony Pena and myself were talking about this day today, and we were looking forward to this day. And back then, they were talking, Yeah, Dominican Republic will be there, but Puerto Rico, that's a long shot. But we are here. So we're enjoying the moment and we're having fun.

Q. Talk to me about your center fielder and lead off batter, and Angel in his hometown here, a place where he competed in the World Series less than six months ago, now representing his nation. How important has he been to your team and really being a veteran presence and a leader there?

EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: Well, Angel Pagan, he shows the intensity that the club has been performing throughout the tournament, the commitment that the club has for the country. And I think that the Angel Pagan represents all of that and the talent that the club has on the field.

They call him Crazy Horse for a reason. There's a reason for that. He plays like that. He's always been playing like that. I was a scout back then when he was a player in high school, and he always been like that, very intense, a lot of passion for the game, respects the game. He respects the opposing team and he plays the game right. So he means a lot for the team.

I think that if you want to pick a guy, a player on the team that would represent all that, him, along with Yadier Molina, I think those two guys are the main guys. With all due respect with the other guys, but those two guys. I mean, it means a lot for the team, for Puerto Rico, too.

Q. (Not in English.) Is there a certain motivation for Dominican Republic winning?

EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: (Not in English.) No, I don't think so. I think the major motivation has always been on our side coming from within us. This is a competitive championship, but, yes, to a certain extent, there may be some motivation. We've already beaten by them twice, maybe that's true. But I think that first and foremost, this is a championship. And second, we are each representing our countries, and so that's almost a hundred percent of our motivation.

Q. (Not in English.) Molina yesterday was making some comments about the score. How does he feel today? Is he prepared or not?

EDWIN RODRIGUEZ: (Not in English.) Yeah, he's prepared. Physically, he's doing well. He did have a cold, but it was a cold. He wasn't injured. He is a hundred percent ready, and emotionally he's doing well.

Like I said, this kind of championship, this kind of game, he does very well. He performs very well in these types of situations. He hasn't shown that on the field if he's been affected by something like that.