Javier Vazquez: Ready To Rumble Again !

Special For The Puerto Rico Daily Sun

MIAMI- “Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding”. It is the first “round” of Round 2 at Miami’s Dolphin Stadium of the World Baseball Classic.
In one dugout Team Puerto Rico. In the other dugout Team United States. And as veteran announcer Michael Buffer will
call “Let’s Get Ready To Rumble”!

And really ready to rumble is right-hander hurler Javier Vazquez.

“I want everybody to know that I’m 100 %. It is a very important game for us and I’m ready”, Vazquez said. “I’m to
the challenge again”.

For the veteran Ponce native to be in the tough spot once again is no news. He have learned to simply accept his role for
Manager Jose “Cheito” Oquendo who consider him the ace of Team Puerto Rico.

Tonight Vazquez and undefeated first round Team Puerto Rico faces Manager Davey Johnson‘ USA squad, winners of two
out of three games in the first round Pool C competition in Toronto. Venezuela won its Pool C defeating the USA 5-3 in the bracket contest. Venezuela plays the surprising Team Netherlands earlier in the afternoon (1:00 P.M.).

San Diego Padres ace Jake Peavy, who started the Americans’ Classic opener, got the nod against Puerto Rico.
Peavy allowed two runs and two hits in three innings against a strong Team Canada in the USA opening game.
He has gone 2-0 in three career Classic starts.

Saturday’s game against the United States will mark Team Puerto Rico’s first ever World Baseball Classic game outside Puerto Rico since the event began in 2006. It will also mark the first World Baseball Classic meeting between Team Puerto Rico and the United statesas both teams were eliminated in the second round last time around.

“I will try to throw strikes and be the most possible in the game,” Vazquez said.

And by fact Vazquez know best when he is needed. Vazquez tossed 4 1/3 shutout innings in Puerto Rico’s opener against Panama
yielding four hits and a walk while striking out three. He owns a 2-0 lifetime record in World Baseball Classic play with 10 strikeouts, three walks and a 1.46 ERA over 12 1/3 innings.

Vazquez pointed out that this game is also very important for him personally. He want to showcase himself to
his new team the Atlanta Braves that he can still be a realiable starting pitcher.

Vazquez, who is expected to be the number 2 or 3 Braves starter this upcoming major league season, has churned out
at least 200 innings in eight of nine seasons and recorded at least 190 strikeouts in six.

Vazquez owns the strikeout record for a Puerto Rican born pitcher with 2,015 career strikeouts, ranking
him ninth among all active pitchers.

Vazquez also has won at least 10 games for nine consecutive seasons and pitched more than 200 innings in every one except 2004, when he worked 198 innings while going 14-10 for the New York Yankees.

He slipped to 12-16 with a 4.67 ERA in 2008, after 15-8 with a 3.74 ERA in 2o08. He has a 127-129 career record and 4.32 ERA in parts of 11 seasons in the majors. He’s under contract for $11.5 million in 2009 and $11.5 million in 2010.

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