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October 7, 2019

Rocco Baldelli

Minneapolis, Minnesota - pregame 3

Q. In your career as an athlete, what's the best comeback you've ever been a part of?
ROCCO BALDELLI: The best comeback I've ever been a part of. Let's see here.

Q. Sorry to trip you up.
ROCCO BALDELLI: I would say probably the ALCS, which is probably not a traditional comeback, in 2008 with the Rays and Red Sox when actually we were playing well and thought we're in a situation in a game at Fenway Park where we think we're probably clinching at that point and ended up losing a game and ended up having to come back at home in a Game 7 and actually find a way to make something happen and get it done.

You never know how any of these series are going to play out, the beautiful thing about what we do. So despite being in situations that are not ideal, sometimes they're suboptimal, and you end up trying to find your way out of it. You see some really great things when you're in those situations, and I hope that's exactly what we get to see going forward here. Obviously, being down two games -- not where we probably drew it up and where we wanted to be, but that's okay. We're going to find a way to do what we have to do tonight.

Our guys, they're in a great spot right now. You go in there and look at them and talk to them and hear what they have to say, they seem fine. They're ready to play.

Q. This is related to Brandon's question. How does being in the postseason as a manager compare to being in the postseason as a player?
ROCCO BALDELLI: I would say going home each day as a player, I probably didn't have a ton going on in my head. When you're at the field, there's a lot going on. There's more media. There's more everything. And when the game starts, it's obviously a high intensity and you're there. But I would try to find a way to go home, and I would just probably sit there and watch some TV, as a player, and there wasn't probably as much to work through.

I think, in this role, it's a little bit different, and you have a responsibility to everybody involved and make sure that everything is going as planned. I think that I would try to -- I probably didn't try to do it. It probably just happened, where I would simplify it more as someone taking the field and trying to stay ahead of everything as someone in this role.

Q. You've seen Nelson address this group in key moments of the season before. How did this come about after Game 2, and what was his message to the team?
ROCCO BALDELLI: For one, most of what we talk about in our locker room, we don't normally share all of that, but I think one thing I can say about Nellie is that he's such an authentic human being, and when he speaks, he's not just speaking for the sake of talking. He doesn't like to hear himself talk. He speaks when something means something to him, and when he feels strongly about something and he thinks it's going to help others, he takes the time to do it, and that's why, when he does address the team, every single person in there listens, and it means an incredible amount.

Nellie's just -- he's a guy of great strength. He kind of exudes that strength, and when he tells people that we're in a spot where we basically control our own destiny and that we just need to go and play our game, everyone believes him, and it makes everybody feel a lot better.

Q. Rocco, after the first and second game, a lot of your pitchers expressed some version of the sentiment of, boy, we've got to be more aggressive in the strike zone. How did you feel about that after the first two games?
ROCCO BALDELLI: I would say, in general terms, obviously, you don't want to walk as many guys as we've walked and give up that many base runners. That being said, I also don't want our players to be overly hard on themselves, and I also don't want them to change anything that they've done to get to this point. I don't want anyone to try to redefine what they're doing. I want our guys to just go out there and play. Our guys have played so well for the last six months, like to the point where it's been amazing to watch them out there.

I don't want that to change. I want them to be confident. I want them to go out there and just perform, not have things going through their head. When they're having to answer questions after playoff games, of course they want to give an answer. They want to show that they're out there trying and doing their best. We know they're trying and giving it everything that they possibly have. Personally, I don't think they owe an explanation to anyone. I just think they need to go out there and feel good about what they're doing and do it.

Q. Rocco, was any part of your calculation of taking Jose out of the game after four innings in Game 1, was any part of that a consideration of maybe he would be available a day early for a Game 4?
ROCCO BALDELLI: I think it's a good question, but, no, it didn't have anything to do with that. I thought, as far as giving ourselves the best chance to win Game 1, that was the move that we were going to make. Jose pitched well. He gave us a chance to get us to that point in the game, gave us a chance to win. He could have gotten out of that four-inning outing without giving up three runs if we make some more plays behind him.

So really, that decision was basically just made on what gives us the best chance to win that game and not really looking forward.

Q. Rocco, I just want to make sure here. Marwin at first base, is it matchup based instead of C.J., and if it's not health based, is C.J. available off the bench?
ROCCO BALDELLI: C.J. is definitely available off the bench. This is just the best lineup we threw out there for today's game. It has nothing to do really with anybody's health at all. It's just simply us drawing up the best lineup.

Q. Traditional question. Have you planned out your Game 4 pitching, or is it completely contingent on what happens tonight?
ROCCO BALDELLI: Yeah, we have -- there are no plans for Game 4 right now. We're going to basically go at today's game with everybody available. We're going to give ourselves every chance to win today's game. We'll use whoever we have to. We're in an elimination situation. So that's kind of the only way that I know to go about this particular game. Hopefully, after today's game, we can figure out Game 4.

Q. Even coming home, keeping Rosie in right field, is it something about the Yankees in particular that you like about having him in right versus left?
ROCCO BALDELLI: No, it's not the Yankees in particular, but I will say, as the season went on as well, I think Rosie fit very well out there in right field for some different reasons, but there's not -- that's been a much kind of talked about -- kind of smaller point, but something that we keep addressing. There's not one particular big, grand reason for this. There's not one thing we can point to.

Rosie -- I was told very early this year, Rosie is very comfortable playing both corners. The way we kind of operated health-wise, when we had Buck and we had Kep out there in right, it kind of fit very easily where Rosie was going to stay in left field, and that was going to be kind of the easy answer on that, but once we started dealing with the injuries in the outfield and trying to figure out what we're going to do on a game to game basis, we knew we could move him around. So it's basically a comfort thing for everyone where it just fits better right now, I think.

Q. Rocco, is there anything that you learned from Games 1 and 2 that you may just adapt or do a little bit differently in Game 3?
ROCCO BALDELLI: Well, I think you're definitely going to do things different in Game 3 because, one, we're down 0-2. So there are definitely going to be things like pitcher usage and things like that, where you might see guys pitching in spots where you wouldn't normally see them. But as far as looking back on Game 1 and Game 2, there's nothing that I would look back and second guess or anything that I would do differently in that way of thinking. Could this game be run a little bit differently than normal, I would say definitely, but it doesn't mean that, if we were in a different spot, say it was 1-1 and we were not down 0-2, I would not be sitting here saying that we would be operating very differently.

I think it really comes down to, when you don't have tomorrow to look at and you have to win today, you stop thinking about Game 4 and you just focus on Game 3 completely.

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