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October 7, 2015

John Gibbons

Toronto, Ontario - Workout Day

MODERATOR: We're going to get started, John Gibbons is here to take your questions and we'll take the first one for John now.

Q. How would you say the timing of the guys is holding up right now?
JOHN GIBBONS: They're all excited but they're pretty relaxed, too. Naturally start of the playoffs, there will be some anxieties, they're human beings. I've been seeing all year, there's something different about this group, they're very confident. We've added some key veterans to this team, we feel has definitely helped and should help from here on out. They're confident.

Q. David Price is coming into these playoffs with not that great of a playoff record, 1-5. Your thoughts going forward with that knowledge?
JOHN GIBBONS: I don't give that any thought at all. I know how good he is. Since we've acquired him he's been a key guy to get us over the top. That's the way playoff baseball goes sometimes, other guys out there that have some struggled, too. If I'm a betting man, you can't bet in this game, but I would bet on him.

Q. A lot of players on your team don't have playoff experience. what advice would you give them?
JOHN GIBBONS: Well, a lot that don't but a lot that do. Those are the guys to lean on. I think once you finally get through the hype and they get out there, get the first inning, first at-bat, what have you, out of the way it will be fine, it will just be baseball. One thing we've been doing out here in Toronto with the great crowds, intense crowds, everybody says it's like a playoff atmosphere, the guys that have been around here a number of years, so they're used to that a little bit. Of course the magnitude of the games are totally different but I really don't have any concern about these guys.

Q. You just touched on it now about the crowds this year. You've seen how they've been but how much bigger, what do you expect tomorrow for the first playoff game in 22 years?
JOHN GIBBONS: If you've been here these last few weeks, they've been all sellouts. From pitch one, everybody's been on their feet, really into it. I don't know how it can be much different, to be honest with you, as loud as it's been, as enthusiastic as they've been. We'll see, but I don't know how it can get any better, that's for sure.

Q. Who would you say are the key players going into the series on both teams?
JOHN GIBBONS: Well, you look at our two teams, a lot of similarities. Both teams have strong offenses. You know, the two teams basically did the same thing around the trade deadline, we went out and got David Price, they picked up Cole Hamels, we had some struggles in our bullpen. They did, too. They addressed those issues. A lot of similarities between both teams. They have good starting pitching. And some athletic teams really, both teams really live and die, not totally by the long ball, but it's a big part about who both teams are. When you get into playoffs, in the past I've been sitting home watching it on TV, I think everybody looks to your star players, this and that. And yeah, you need those guys to be good, but that doesn't always happen. There he is a player or two that comes out of nowhere that nobody really expects anything out of that rises to the occasion. But both teams have so many top caliber players, a couple of them always rise to the top.

Q. You like the hair cut?

Q. John, your club has a markedly better record with the roof open. Is that a statistical coincidence or when the roof opens, it changes the conditions to favor your team?
JOHN GIBBONS: You know, I don't know. I wasn't actually aware of that, to be honest with you. I know they try to open it every day they can around here when the weather's nice. Everybody likes to be outdoors. Somebody was asking me earlier about how the ball flies here. I do know at the beginning of the season they don't open the roof the first time until May, so when the thing's been closed all winter and through the spring, beginning of the spring, it always seems to fly, really jump early in the season. When they start opening and closing it, it's kind of hit or miss. Maybe it's wind or something, but I think if the temperature's right, everybody likes playing outdoors. We'll see. But that's one of the benefits of having the roof, too. If the weather is ugly, we're in good shape.

Q. John, Texas, I mean, they do have a handful of guys who run the bases real well, will try to steal some bases. Do you game plan for that or how do you counteract that if you need to?
JOHN GIBBONS: You look at our team this year, Russell behind the plate's been the top throwing catcher, so we've got that going for us. Even going into spring training this year, one of the focuses of our team was our pitching staff to give the catchers -- shorten some things up, give our catchers opportunity. And Navarro is so great all year, too. As far as how that goes we feel good with those guys back there. It just really comes down to whatever the situation, you know, the running game, make sure we give those guys a shot because Russell's been eliminating that all year.

Q. With the benefit of a full season's worth of hindsight what has the acquisition of Josh Donaldson meant to that team?
JOHN GIBBONS: Shoot. He's got a chance to be the MVP when it's all said and done. A few guys in our lineup you could stick that to really. I think in the beginning, we acquired him over the winter -- he and Russell, you can't leave Russell out of that. You could sense something different in spring training. They brought some confidence to this team but I think they also both brought some toughness to the team which I think we needed desperately and they both had great years. They really were carrying us a lot of ways until the trade deadline and we added some key pieces there and that's what set us apart really. We're definitely not in this position without those two guys starting the season with us, that's for sure.

Q. Besides his performance on the mound, what influence has Price had in the clubhouse?
JOHN GIBBONS: Well, you know, I didn't know David at all other than competing against him in Tampa and then a couple times here when he's in Detroit, so you always respect him as a competitor. I didn't realize he was the fun-loving, outgoing guy that is. From day one it was like he had been here for years, he really fit in with the guys. He's a character. He's really one of the characters of the game once you get to know him. That's big. I mean, it's never easy being traded, you go to a new spot, but, like I said, it was like he had been here for years and he fit right in.

Q. John, I want to ask you about Troy. I know it was a small sample size, his return to action this last road trip, have you had a conversation with him as to how he's feeling going into game 1? Would you classify him as a hundred percent now?
JOHN GIBBONS: Yeah, I don't know if it's a hundred percent but he's good enough. He played those two games down in Tampa to finish the season, and I thought he looked great. Really, he looked better than I thought he was going to be for the three weeks plus playoff. He timing was good. He threw some hits out there. One thing, he wasn't over-swinging, so he was under control and I think that will help him. And I mean, we need him on the field. When he showed up, he was playing shortstop for us every day. The record speaks for itself. He's made a huge impact here. When he went down to Yankee Stadium, there was some concern. And then the other guys filled in admirably, no doubt about that, but we're a better team when he's out there. And he's good to go as far as he tells me he's ready.

Q. What have you told the guys to get them ready for this next step?
JOHN GIBBONS: I don't think they need to be told anything. I'm not a big speechmaker anyway, but it's a unique group. Of course, playoff baseball is different than regular season but it's a resilient group. They have fun and they're intense and everything, but they keep that even keel, they really do, and they expect to win. Not many things bother them so it's not a group you really need to motivate. I'm not a big speechmaker anyways, so it's a perfect matchup.

Q. John, Gallardo's had some relative success against you guys this year. What have you seen from him in the couple starts he had against you guys that kind of gave you a bit of fits?
JOHN GIBBONS: Yeah, he's dominated us in those two outings. I look back, there's another kid, I think it's Morgan in Philadelphia, young left-hander, hit Tanaka a couple times, those are a couple kids that really jump out at you that have faced us at least twice that have shut us down. He has had a great career, he's been good in his days in Milwaukee so that didn't surprise anybody. He's just on on those days we faced him. He's sticking his fastball pretty good and really very few, if any, mistakes. So he's got to be confidant coming in against us, and really two overpowering outings against us, and we've got a real good offense, so it's not like we haven't seen this guy before, it's just when a good pitcher's on, they're tough to hit. We've got our work cut out for us.

MODERATOR: Thank you, John.

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