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October 11, 2019

AJ Hinch

Houston, Texas - Workout Day

Q. Will you start Greinke in Game 1 and would it be Cole --
AJ HINCH: Is that who you would want me to start? You want me to start with Zack Greinke?

Yes, our rotation will be Game 1 Zack Greinke, Game 2 Justin Verlander, Game 3 Gerrit Cole. Game 4, as you would imagine, will be TBA based on how the first three go.

So pretty easy layout. They'll all be on regular rest. Three exceptional starting pitchers, and happy to line them up that way.

Q. How do you envision playing time in right field this series with Josh and Tucker? Do you sense there could be any sort of change, maybe Tucker playing more?
AJ HINCH: We'll see. If you can tell me who they're starting, that would be great. They haven't announced their rotation yet. That will kick-start the conversation on what lineup we're going to roll out there.

In regards to right field, it could be a number of options. As we did in Game 1, I started Tuck in one of the games and Reddick in the others. There's also maybe a consideration for D�az in left field and Brantley shifted over to right in a Paxton game. But that depends on a couple of different scenarios.

We'll talk about all this. I was very, very strict with our staff in our preparation for this series. We weren't assuming anything. We've had about 12 hours to dissect what is possible. So we haven't made any definitive decisions yet.

Q. Have you guys finalized your roster and how your bullpen --
AJ HINCH: No, not at all. We talked -- I just got out of a meeting, it would still be going on if it wasn't for this session. We're in conversation about that, as you would imagine.

I'm expecting to carry an extra pitcher that we didn't carry in the last series. I said that last time. But we haven't made any decisions yet. It's been a quick turnaround for us.

Q. And then on Greinke tomorrow, A, how much do you think the layoff may have affected him and his start in the DS? And with him, how thin is the margin for error just given his command and doesn't have the velocity he used to have?
AJ HINCH: To answer your first question, I imagine it affected him a little bit for the feel of his pitches, specifically his change-up. That's what we got burned on against Tampa. And some of that was just they put good swings on some pitches and some of it was he threw it in some areas they controlled the strike zone a little bit.

You put any pitcher, rested, not rested, extra rest, short rest, and you don't execute your pitches against these teams at this level, you're going to get hurt.

As far as margin for error, he's got the same margin for error that he's had for having a league-leading ERA the last few years, approaching 20 wins and Cy Youngs. His margin for error the last hundred starts that he's made plus has been the same.

What I've learned over the last few years here is every pitcher has a smaller margin for error than you can possibly imagine against elite teams. And when you miss your pitches, I don't care if you're throwing 90 or 100, these guys are really good on both sides at making you pay for it.

So pitch selection is always key. Zack does a really good job of disrupting timing, his delivery, his movement on his pitches, the slow breaking ball, the surprise fastball, all that is the art of pitching, it's how he does it. But I don't look at him -- I'm not walking on eggshells the days he pitches because he throws 88 to 90 miles an hour. And the other side is not completely comfortable just because the velo is not that insane rate that Gerrit Cole's is or JV.

Q. What are the lessons learned from the LDS that you apply here at the LCS? And what is your opinion of the performance of Urquidy and Osuna in this first chapter of the postseason?
AJ HINCH: First question is what lessons? You've got to win the number of games to win the series. We didn't really need that lesson, we've been here before. But I just think you play today to win today and not try to map out too much of anything for the future games.

I mean, that's a lesson learned in 2015 when we first made the playoffs as a group. And the more games you manage in the playoffs, the more comfortable you are with selling out to win every single game with your best guys, and how to manage in the postseason, which is different than how you manage in the regular season.

In regards to Urquidy, it was nice to get him in the game. I think he used a lot of pitches in the short stint that he had in Tampa. I'm glad he got that out of the way. I think that will pay dividends moving forward.

I think Osuna, as much conversation there was about the rocky start, I think he was exceptional last night -- start to that series, I thought he was exceptional last night, his tempo, his stuff. We couldn't throw Choi strikes the entire series. And he attacked him to get that last punch-out.

I trust him at the end of the game. It doesn't waiver one bit just because of the stuff and the pitchability and his demeanor and his calmness. I look forward to him closing out some games in this series.

Q. Because you and your team have been here before, is it easy to say, Celebration over, move on, focus on the Yankees?
AJ HINCH: Say that again.

Q. Because you guys have been here before, you and your team, is it easy to say, Celebration over, move on?
AJ HINCH: Our celebration, we respect what it takes to get here. We enjoyed last night. We enjoyed winning the division a couple of weeks ago. We also are really good at turning the page and getting to the next series.

We don't have a lot of time. This happens fast, you get to Game 5 -- we didn't have the three or four days off that the Yankees had. We were here late last night, appropriate celebration, we should tip our caps to the organization, to us, to our fans. Thankfully we have home-field, we didn't have to travel, and we get to open up the series at home.

I think we've been good at that every day and every series; we just get to the next thing. There was a lot of anticipation of this matchup, there was a lot of anticipation of what this series could become. We did our part to get here and our guys showed up today with a lot of enthusiasm and ready to work out before the series.

Q. This is a two-part question. I know you haven't set the roster, is it fair to say that Brad Peacock will be on this roster? And also in terms of the Yankees being a little better at working counts maybe than the Rays, a lot more patient when it comes to your bullpen, how does that match up?
AJ HINCH: I haven't even seen a player today. I want to make sure I talk to our players before I start making announcements. We are going to carry an extra pitcher. It's very highly likely that Brad Peacock is one of those guys that we're going to talk heavily about. I trust him.

It's one of the reasons we kept him off the first round was to build him up a little bit. He did his work in between. So I'd say highly likely, but until I am able to get him in front of me and talk him through what I would expect, I'd like to wait on that.

How the bullpen matches up. You can draw this up and map it up. This is a really good offense across the way, we know how much damage they can do. We know how patient they can become. You've got to beat them inside the strike zone. But we all chase. Everybody chases. If you're in the strike zone enough you can expand and get them to chase in your areas that you want.

But trying to map out exactly how these games are going to go and how the bullpen goes I think is foolish. You have to read the games. And of course Will Harris is going to be given the daunting task at the highest leverage points. Ryan Pressly is going to do that, Osuna is going to do that. I think Joe Smith is a very key part of this series with the angle and the movement on his pitches, the different look that he can give to guys. You've seen me go to Josh James in the last two postseasons in big spots because of the 95 to a hundred and the plus secondary pitches.

So it's not a lot of secrets. We have to figure out where the extra weapons are going to be in our pen and where do we carry length, do we carry more weapons in terms of how to get some of these right-handed hitters out.

But how it maps out per game I think we've learned in the postseason, all of us managers are willing to do anything out of order or out of ordinary to try to get your outs. That's a lot of guys that I named that I believe in, that I trust, and that's not even counting the balance of the bullpen that we're going to name over the next 24 hours.

Q. Last night you alluded to the fact that the Yankees have some structural similarities with their pitching staff to the Rays. In what ways do they provide a unique challenge to what you saw the last time?
AJ HINCH: I think it's changed over the year watching them from afar. And you pay attention to what they're doing. And how they've gotten healthy as the year's gone on. I think with Paxton, their rotation kind of starts with Paxton and then Tanaka. And we know that to be true. Getting Severino back I think is a unique challenge because he's super fresh and hasn't pitched all year. Looks like they had just enough time to build him up to handle some of the workload.

And there's always that unknown of how they're going to use their roster. They use the opener. The Yankees use the opener, it's official, it's part of baseball now. And that challenge that they have, there's so many guys they can go to in creative ways. Is Ottavino going to face lefties, where does Britton fit in? How many innings can Chapman throw? Those are high, elite arms. Kahnle throws the ball hard. They have velocity, they have weapons.

They've shown -- Booney has done a really good job of breaking into the mold of using your pitchers creatively. And I don't know what the balance of their roster is. That's one of the weird parts of the way the LDS and the LCS, they collide and all of a sudden we're going to find out tomorrow, three hours notice, it feels like, what the rosters are.

But they have a lot of weapons and they've gotten healthy. And depending on how they use their rotation will impact how they use their bullpen. Coming off the Rays series, we're about ready for anything. There's nothing going to surprise us after playing the Rays.

Q. This is a matchup that kind of seemed inevitable all season. What is the feeling now that things have kind of mapped out the way everyone thought they would and you're on the eve of it?
AJ HINCH: I think both teams got here and they earned their way here maybe not as easily as people want to think. I think both teams had injuries. Both teams played well in the face of expectations, and it's just not a simple plug-and-play season. 162 games will expose you to a lot of different challenges.

We're excited that we're here, the fact that they're here, congratulations to them. I think this is a matchup that a lot of people around baseball expected. But how we got here was maybe a little bit different. I don't think that it was -- it's not as simple -- both teams deserve credit for winning as many games as we did and doing it with a lot of different names and a lot of different configurations of the roster.

And now we're here. Seven-game series, there's going to be a lot of emotion. This is a rivalry that's been created over the last few years, and everybody will think back to the 2017 epic seven-game series and expect this to top it. I hope it does. And I hope it's the same result. I liked celebrating at the end of that one.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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