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Okajima interview

Posted by Staff  April 21, 2007 10:56 AM

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Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima, who picked up his first save of the season with Jonathan Papelbon unavailable Friday night against the Yankees, was interviewed by NHK television of Japan after the game. The following is an excerpt from the interview, transcribed by Masahiro Suzuki and translated by Globe staffer Daigo Fujiwara:

Q: Your thoughts (Yankees-Red Sox)?
A: It's like we just won the pennant.

Did you know you were going to pitch today?
No, I didn't. But was ready.

When were you told to get ready?
After we came back on top. (7th run scored)

First batter was Jeter, what did you think?
Good hitter. Not a hitter that you want to face, but I pitched with my feeling.

First two pitches, you look like you were nervous?
I was trying to pitch quicker, maybe. I figured I had to try something.

Then you went back to your regular focused face?
(Laughs) Is that so?

Then you faced red-hot A-Rod. What were you thinking?
I was thinking, I can't let him hit a home run.

You got him out.
Yes, I was lucky.

Lucky?
I was helped by his mistake.

Did you think you can get a save for the team this early in the season?
No, I did not. I did not expect it.

Are you happy to be able to pitch well against Yankees in Fenway Park?
Yes. But this is only the beginning. I thank fans for the support and the loud cheering.

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