Sunday, March 15, 2009

Final words from Higinio Velez before the game against Japan today

"A lot of people are saying this is a retake on what we did last year. This is not like a rematch, really. This is just another game," Velez said. "I just see this as a new game, a new opportunity and a wonderful one."

"I don't think that we've changed a bit. Not at all," he said. "The Cuban team is a team. The players of three years ago did their jobs. The team we had in 2006 was a great team, and so is this one."

"I don't think we learned a lot. The rest learned a lot about Cuba," Velez said. "I don't think you knew the Cuban ball players and nobody really thought that they were at the level that they were. We have a great league in Cuba. We play all year long, and I'm telling you, be patient, wait to see the Cubans."

"Matsuzaka is always an outstanding pitcher, and we will also have a great pitcher," Cuban manager Higinio Velez said after his club worked out at PETCO Park on Saturday. "We respect him, but we will do absolutely everything possible to win the game. We know, as you know, he is an outstanding thrower, and he has demonstrated this over and over again in the Major Leagues. This is not a fluke of the last World Baseball Classic, and we are prepared to see him again."

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