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October 6, 2016

Dusty Baker

Washington, DC - Workout Day

Q. How is Danny Murphy? Is he ready for Game 1?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, he looked pretty good. And you know, he says he's ready and so, therefore, you know, we think he's ready. He did about everything that you could do simulating the game. Everything but slide. But yeah, he looked pretty good.

Q. Are you prepared to tell us who is starting Game 2 yet?
DUSTY BAKER: No, not yet.

Q. Why not? What's the thinking behind that? (Laughter).
DUSTY BAKER: Well, we just haven't decided yet. I mean, you know, we're just thinking of as many scenarios as we can, and if things go great and if things go poorly, and that's why we haven't, you know, decided on it yet.

Mike Maddux and Rizzo and myself, we'll probably get together even this afternoon to discuss that. It would be easy if we had Strasburg.

Q. Can you talk about Severino and his development as a catcher in the majors? And how do you plan to handle the catching situation now that you don't have Wilson?
DUSTY BAKER: Okay. Number one, you know, Severino is catching tomorrow. You know, he's pretty good against left-handed pitchers. I don't think he's seen one quite like this in Kershaw before. He's worked with our guys and you know, Lobaton is a little bit injured and that's one reason why he's not catching tomorrow.

Lopez has done an outstanding job for us. I know he's a rookie, but he has good stuff. He was strong down the stretch. And you know, we have full confidence in our young guys, including Difo. Difo is on our roster, as well.

Q. I guess if you could explain the reasoning for Difo to make the roster?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, number one, he's a switch-hitter. You know, he has speed. He's very good from the right side and also he can play all three infield positions, and with Daniel Murphy still coming off an injury, he gives us a possibility at second base late in the game and run for Daniel Murphy, as well.

Q. You guys had some pretty tough decisions to make in the bullpen. Have you come to any conclusion about lefty, righty makeup and who might be there?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, I mean, that was really -- that was tough, as far as the last decision on whom. You know, we haven't released that yet.

We do know we're going to go with three left-handers in the pen, I can tell you that much now.

Q. When you're talking about options for Game 2 starter and you need to see how some things play out, are you considering having Tanner and Gio available in the bullpen during Game 1?
DUSTY BAKER: No, no, no way.

Q. So what do you need to see play out?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, we just have to decide before I tell you (smiling), and we haven't made a decision yet. I know the Dodgers have made their decision, but we haven't made our decision yet because we're conferring back and forth on pros and cons of pitching at home, pitching away, you know, following Scherzer, possibility of a Game 4, Game 5.

I mean, we are a little bit banged up in our pitching staff. Like I say, it would be very easy if we had Strasburg, I can tell you that right now.

But as it is right now, no, it's not a secret. We are not trying to hide anything from you. Just we haven't decided yet.

Q. When you say Game 4, do you mean Max possibly in Game 4?
DUSTY BAKER: I don't know. Maybe. Probably not.

Q. Since you're talking about the roster and everything, you talked about three left-handers in the bullpen. Is Burnett one of them? And also, has Goodwin made the roster?
DUSTY BAKER: Like I said, right now, we haven't released it. I shouldn't have told you I had three in the bullpen (laughter). But I can't say yet until we talk to those guys, you know.

And the same with Goodwin. Have to talk to him, as well.

Q. You brought Tanner out of the bulletin in New York against the Mets just before the All-Star Game in a big spot. Is part of your decision-making that he might be available out of the bullpen in Game 4 if he pitched Game 2?
DUSTY BAKER: No, no, that's not -- that's not -- that wasn't even part of our decision. The decision who we pitched in New York, that was what you usually do, you know, right before the break. If you need somebody out of your bullpen and you have an extra arm, an extra long man, a guy who has started before, so that was a completely different scenario than now.

Q. Is Solano here because of Lobaton's health situation and what's wrong with Lobaton right now?
DUSTY BAKER: No, Solano is here actually in case something happens to Lobaton or Severino. We just didn't, you know, feel that if something happened to those two guys -- you know, Kieboom is up here first, but Solano has more experience than Kieboom.

So we are going to have some guys that are supposed to go to Florida -- you know, how you have like a taxi squad, and they are supposed to go to Florida. But because of the hurricane, they are going to work out in Potomac. So Solano is one of the guys that is going to work out with a group of guys in Potomac.

Q. Obviously there are several things you guys are still trying to sort out and have questions about, and you know your Game 1 starter obviously. How comforting is it to know that you have Max for that game?
DUSTY BAKER: Oh, yeah, very comforting. You've got a 20-game winner and you have a bulldog on the mound and a guy that's risen to the occasion and been in this situation before.

We have an equally tough competitor on the other side, and so it should be a heck of a ballgame. But it's great to have Max Scherzer on your side and also a healthy Max Scherzer. You know, he wants the ball. Max wants the ball, especially in big games.

Q. When you were a player, I remember you had one big post-season series where you had eight RBIs in one series. Does it help in future series after that to have had success, even though you know you're a good ballplayer?
DUSTY BAKER: Yeah, it helps a lot. You're referring to Daniel Murphy maybe? (Laughs). Yeah, it helps a lot. You know, your confidence is at an all-time high and you know that you're unfazed by almost any situation.

I think at the time, that was my first playoff, and they didn't have an MVP in any series up until that point. I was MVP of that playoff. Yeah, it helps a lot, because you know certain guys have gone through playoffs and haven't had very good playoffs or World Series. And that plays on some of the guys's mind, and the sooner you get that off your back, the sooner you can be yourself.

Q. Can I follow-up by asking about Barry Bonds, you've had a long history and a lot of experience, he had a lot of off-years in Pittsburgh. Can you talk about that whole process and how he got out of it, what you might have said to him?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, you know, it did make it tougher on the teams I was managing, and for Jim Leyland, too, when your star doesn't have a very good playoff. I mean, you hope and dream that your stars have had playoffs the way that Big Papi had a World Series up in Boston. When he did have an outstanding playoff, you see what happened, he went to the World Series.

It helps to have a big bat, and similar to Daniel Murphy last year, they carried him through the Playoffs, and that helps big time because it takes the pressure off everyone.

Q. The other day you were talking hoping to be the first African-American manager to go to the Hall of Fame. This year is going to feature both African-American managers in Major League Baseball right now. That's the first time that's happened in a post-season series. What's the significance of that to you?
DUSTY BAKER: Well, I mean, I was hoping that it would be Ron Washington and myself in the World Series before. I mean, significance is, you know, it gives us some pride in being African-American to show people that, you know, not only can we do the job, but we can do the job better than most. Especially this year.

You know, hopefully it motivates other organizations to get some African-American managers, also to motivate other players that are playing now, and former players that have managerial aspirations. It probably brings a lot of pride across America and not only African-American people, but everybody.

I was telling the story today, that I remember when Lasorda was bragging about, you know, how many Italians they had (Laughter.) In baseball, and you know, he says, "We're taking over."

I says, "What do you mean you're taking over?"

And he goes, "Well, we got Joe Altobelli.

I said, "Okay."

He said, "We've got" --

And Joey Amalfitano was --

"We've got Joey Amalfitano, and we've got Billy Martin."

I go, "He's not Italian either. His mom's Italian."

He goes, "We've got Chuck Tanner."

I go, "He's not Italian either. His mom's Italian."

We've got Tony La Russa.

And I said, "I thought he was Cuban."

He goes, "But, yeah, the name La Russa. We got Lou Piniella."

So we went on and on and on, there was some racial pride in him (laughing). And he always was talking about being Italian. He even told me to tell some of his friends I was Italian.

And he says, "If he asks you, you tell them you're from Abruzzo."

I said, "Okay."

Q. You said before, talking about Difo making the roster, I know you said you had decisions to make in the bullpen. Have you decided on your bench, can you say about the makeup of your bench?
DUSTY BAKER: Asking me about Difo, I know he's more concerned about Latin Americans here, but I can't divulge exactly who my bench is before we tell the players. I don't know when the deadline is -- Friday morning, so I guess that's the deadline when we have to, you know, say who is on our roster.

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