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October 11, 2017

Joe Girardi

Cleveland, Ohio - pregame 5

Q. I know yesterday, you said the DH spot was going to be a tough decision. What made you go with Jacoby?
JOE GIRARDI: We just kind of talked about it as a staff and we continued to go back that Jacoby has probably had the best at-bats off of him and offers us the most speed of the three DHs, and that's why we went.

I mean, Corey Kluber, you know, his history is -- a lot of people don't have success off him. So we looked at who's had the most, the speed option, and that's why we went with Jake.

Q. Everyone in the clubhouse says they have a ton of confidence in CC Sabathia, that he can get the job done. What makes him right for tonight?
JOE GIRARDI: We've seen it so many times. It's in personality. He's had the experience that he's been in these type of games and he doesn't change. I think he embraces them. I think this is -- you look at when he signs up for a season, this is what he signs up for, these type of games. And I think that's why we all have so much confidence in him. We've seen him do it so many times.

Q. Joe, in the same topic of Sabathia, please talk to us about the difference between two years ago, he made that very difficult decision to not pitch in that game and put himself in rehab, going through such a tough personal time. And now he is up there for the Yankees, showing up in an elimination game.
JOE GIRARDI: You know, of all the things that I've ever seen CC do, from afar, obviously, watching him pretty closely in Milwaukee and what he was -- and how much you admired what he did, having a chance to watch him pitch for us and be the big game pitcher and lead us to a World Series, I admired that moment more than any because he put his family first and his life in front of the game.

Sometimes, we get really caught up in our jobs and love what we do, and we forget what the most important thing is, and CC did not. He knew his health and his family were more important than the game of baseball. And as much as it probably killed him inside, he knew he had to make a choice.

I probably admire him more for that than anything he's ever done on the field.

Q. Joe, I don't know if you followed the controversy around the Nationals the last 24 hours with Dusty and Strasburg. My question is how much have you learned the value of being on the same page with your front office and your trainers about being sure the proper information, particularly about injured players, gets out.
JOE GIRARDI: Sometimes it's hard, because you're trying to protect maybe a team trying to do something against your team or that sort of thing. It's not that you don't want to disclose the information because you don't want it to get out, but you don't want to disclose it because you might give -- you feel it gives the team an unfair advantage.

And that's the tricky part. The more I do this job, the more you realize that it's very hard to keep secrets today. So a lot of times, it's just easier to disclose. And maybe -- you know, sometimes you want to go back and talk about it one more time as a group before you make a decision so you don't want to say, well, we're deciding because this guy is sick, where Tanner Roark's mind is up for grabs in a sense. You want Tanner to stay locked in.

So there's a lot of reasons we do things that maybe doesn't make sense to everyone else, but it makes sense to us. But if you can put it out there and it's not going to affect everything, it's always easier.

Q. Joe, how does knowing Encarnacion is in the Indians lineup change your team's game plan or approach, if it does at all?
JOE GIRARDI: We know how dangerous he is. But the people in front of him are dangerous, the people behind him are dangerous too. And we've seen him do it to us for a long time. Before, it was in our division for the last few years, how dangerous he is.

So, I mean, we're going to approach him the same way we did in Game 1 and Game 2, carefully. But you've got to make your pitches on him just like anybody else.

Q. Joe, from the outside, it seems that your team has sort of embraced fun and like a little more individualism among the players than some of your more veteran-led teams. I'm wondering where you think that attitude is coming from.
JOE GIRARDI: Youth. I think we're living in an age where youth does that, where before it didn't necessarily happen here. And it's kind of fun to watch and to watch these kids do what they're doing.

Maybe I, in a sense, understand it more because I have teenagers. I have a 15-year-old and an 18-year-old, and they have -- I look at some of my son's outfits, and I say, Ooh, you know. But, you know, he likes the style and that's not something that is necessarily in my generation but it's in his and I respect it.

You know, he has his own taste and Starlin is his favorite dresser, and it is what it is. So I kind of like it. I think it shows the youthfulness of this team, and sometimes you get to laugh about it, some of the things that you see.

Q. Joe, this team's back was really against the wall in this series, down 0-2. Is there a sense of pride in just the way that they've battled back and have been able to force a Game 5 today?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I'm proud of the way they've battled back all year. I'm proud of the way they battled back Tuesday in our first playoff game against Minnesota, where you get down 3-0 in a hurry. Your ace is knocked out in the first inning.

Yeah, I am, because this team has never stopped fighting and never stopped believing. I think that's the mark of a very good team. They know how to persevere and continue to grind out everything, whether it's an at-bat or it's on the other side, you're facing a batter, how you grind it out.

So there's a lot to be proud of the last three games, in a sense, that we've had in those situations.

Q. Joe, I'm looking at some of these Cleveland averages, and your pitchers have done a pretty good job this series. How important is advanced scouting coming into a series like this?
JOE GIRARDI: Oh, I think it's really important. I think the job that Larry Rothschild does, preparing our pitchers, this guy watches countless hours of video. I mean, so many hours that I'm amazed. I watch a lot of video. Nothing like Larry.

And he knows. And he lives and dies with every pitch. He does a tremendous job of preparing. Our advance scouts went out and probably watched Cleveland for a month. Gave us information that was really helpful. It's all part of it.

You get to the middle of September, and all of a sudden you're sending ten groups out, eight groups out to go watch teams and you're not sure who you're going to face, and they're there for a month following a team and it's a lot of work they put in. We're very appreciative.

Q. Joe, regardless how tonight turns out, what do you personally think about the future of this club?
JOE GIRARDI: Oh, I think it's really good. I think it's really bright. When you look at the youth and the talent of the youth that is here now, the youth that is really close and then the youth that might be a year or two away, I think it is extremely bright.

I think the Yankees are set up for a really good run, and there's a lot of things that have to go into that. Health has to play an important role. But you look at the impact players that are youthful now that we already have, that's big. And you're not talking about 7, 8, 9 hitters. You're talking about middle of the order hitters that are big and can be extremely productive.

So I think the future's very bright.

Q. How has Holliday handled this situation?
JOE GIRARDI: I think about as good as you can. I mean, I've been there, where Georgie and I had the guys that we each caught. And I wanted to be in there every day and Georgie wanted to be in there every day, and sometimes you have to make sacrifices for the good of the team.

It's not easy, because it's harder watching than playing. It's much easier playing, because you feel like you're into the game and you can change the game. When you're watching, it's really difficult.

So it's been hard, but he's been very professional and he's trying to stay ready.

Q. Joe, you get to a day where you've spent four, five days and now this is your third game sort of on this brink, this edge of, you know, is it today?

Q. Personally, how does that treat you? Do you end up getting to this afternoon feeling wrung out or inspired? How are you feeling today?
JOE GIRARDI: No. I think what you're feeling is there are a million things going through your mind all the time. And they do a little bit during the regular season when you get in some series that are really pivotal, but not like these games.

And you're trying to go over everything, and what you realize is you've seen this team for four days in a row. You saw them in August. You saw them, you know, for six games, I think, in the month of -- we've seen them a lot.

So there's not really a whole lot that we haven't uncovered, but you're still thinking about every situation that can possibly come up.

So how do I feel? I feel my mind is on the game more than it ever is. That's how you feel. That's the difference.

Q. Following up on Ken's question about communication and injuries and that kind of thing, how important and how involved is the process when you get together with, like, your training staff, your PR staff, your front office to sort of figure out what you want to say and how to say it?
JOE GIRARDI: We try to communicate, the group of us, so we're all on the same page and we understand what -- you know, so that there's no miscommunication.

The one thing that you don't want people to think you're doing is lying to them. And there's a difference between lying and not disclosing something because it might -- you might feel it puts you at a disadvantage. And I was probably as much closed as anyone in the beginning of my career, and I'm a little bit different now because I learned some of the controversy that it can cause.

I mean, I can go back to Mo in 2008, when he had that little thing in his shoulder that was going to, I believe, require a cleanup. But it wasn't going to affect him pitching. Sometimes players don't want you to say anything, so you've got to respect that.

But it's important that you're all on the same page and that you talk about it. I don't think that managers are trying to be dishonest or trying to fool anyone or trying to give anyone a story before anyone else. I think it's just you always worry about we want to keep our advantage and our edge, and that's our thought process.

Because you look at the teams now, we're all really close, and so whatever edge you can keep, you try to keep it.

Q. Joe, you've managed a long time against John Farrell and his contract was not renewed by the Red Sox today. Just your feelings about that?
JOE GIRARDI: I feel for him. I've been there. My heart goes out to him, because I know how much he puts into the job and how much you put your heart and soul into a job.

I don't care what level it is, where you're at in your life, when you get not retained or fired, it's no fun. And it hurts, because of -- you know, in your mind, you've put your heart and soul into something, and it's someone saying that we think someone else can do a better job or we're going to go a different direction. And it hurts, and I feel for him.

I was saying earlier in my -- when I was talking to our beat writers, I'm a huge college football fan and my heart goes out to those coaches that are under fire. Because as much as you're under fire, for me, personally, I worry about my family being under fire, you know. I don't know what kids do today, they tweet or all that stuff that they do. They're defensive, and it hurts them.

So John Farrell has a family. He has a son that's in the big leagues. I'm sure it hurts him. So my heart goes out to him.

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