Special For Puerto Rico The Daily Sun
FORT MYERS, Florida-
As the catchy phrase made popular by the high rated TV show American Idol, Yadier Molina is confident Puerto Rico will make it all the way to the finals in this upcoming second World Baseball Classic.
“Every team that is participating in this tournament wants to win. We also want to win it all too. As people say, from here we all want to go to Hollywood”, Molina said during the exhibition road trip in Florida.
For a little reminder Hollywood, famous for the movie and TV industry, is city is next to Los Angeles where from March 21-23 the final round will be play at Dodger Stadium.
“I’m very happy right now. I can’t wait to arrive to Puerto Rico”, Molina said.
Puerto Rico starts play this upcoming Saturday against Panama at Hiram Bithorn Stadium. However the 2008 National League Gold Glover will not see action until Game 2 of this first round.
Manager Jose “Cheito” Oquendo assigned him to catch in the second game in battery with right-handed starting pitcher Ian Snell. The assignment of Game 1 corresponded to Ivan Rodriguez in battery with right handed starter Javier Vazquez.
” For me is no problem. Ivan is a legend in Puerto Rico and I respect that. He deserves opening the first game”, Molina said.
For the 26 -year old who he misses as teammates are his major league brothers Bengie (San Francico Giants) and Jose (New York Yankees).
“As proud puertorricans they feel they should have been with us but no hard feelings. They know and I know there is good competition. We have three excellent catchers here”, Molina said.
The third catcher of Team Puerto Rico is National League Rookie of the Year Geovanny Soto.
“There are in this team too many good people. There are too many good ballplayersI thank God everyday that I’m here and I receive the opportunity to play in the Puerto Rican team”, Molina said.
Actually with teary eyes Molina admitted whom he will really miss on the stands will be his number one fan. His Dad.
Don Benjamin Molina past away last year.
“I know he will be with us watching me from up there”, Molina said pointing to the skies. “I know in my heart he will be watching me that I honor the Molina family and Puerto Rico. I intend to do that”.
Molina pointed out that after the Classic his looking also for another great year with the St. Louis Cardinals.
“I’m the same ballplayer when I’m playing for Puerto Rico as well for the Cardinals. I’m the same. I always give 100 % in the field”, Molina said.
“We have a pretty good team (St. Louis). We have a young squad with everyone with a lot of energy. I think in paper we will do a good job”, Molina added.
Molina is pretty confident that with hard work the Cardinals can dethrone the Chicago Cubs “equipazo” in the National League Central Division pennant race.
However, for now his focus is to go to Hollywood and bring the Classic championship to Puerto Rico.
PUERTO RICO NOTES
Today’s game against Puerto Rico is a sold-out game. The City of Palms Park (Red Sox) sellout streak for Grapefruit League is at 77 consecutive games….OF Hiram Bocachica celebrated last night his 33rd birthday with his teammates at the Puerto Rico clubhouse before the Tampa Bay Rays exhibition game….Rays Manager Joe Maddon praised Team Puerto Rico and what seen in paper no doubts Puerto Rico should be in the Classic’ final four….Minnesota Twins’ spring training batting instructors hall of famer Rod Carew and former all-star and batting champ Tony Oliva also praised Puerto Rico as a possible finals team …..Los Angeles Dodgers Joe Torre announced Ivan de Jesus Jr. will miss all the 2009 season. According to reports, the 21-yera old prospect required a surgery on a Phoenix hospital to fix his broken right lower tivia. The Dodgers minor leaguer broke his right leg sliding into home plate last Monday in a spring training game against the Milwaukee Brewers. He is son of former major leaguer and Team Puerto Rico Coach Ivan de Jesus.