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October 17, 2021

Adam Ottavino

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Fenway Park

Boston Red Sox

Workout Day Press Conference

Q. Adam, for so many teams what the roles are during the season change very dramatically during the postseason. Is that something difficult for a pitcher to get used to, or are you sort of expecting that to some degree?

ADAM OTTAVINO: I think maybe for some guys, but for me it doesn't really bother me. I pitched in every role you can pitch in, so just try to roll with it. I think we kind of know what's coming ahead of time with the way Alex likes to run it, so just get on board and keep going.

Q. For you and for your family, what has it meant for you to have this experience of pitching back where you went to college and how has that maybe helped you reconnect with all the people at Northeastern as well?

ADAM OTTAVINO: It's been amazing. When we got traded, I thought it was kind of a shock, obviously, to come here, but then we thought about it, we were, like, this is a really good opportunity. We love Boston. I went to school here. My wife went to school here. For both of us it's kind of special. We would always come back in the winters and stuff and kind of be in our old stomping grounds again, walk around, feel young again, I guess, and introduce our girls to the city.

Also, with the school stuff, too, getting texts from teammates and my old college coach today, and everybody is very encouraging and that sort of thing, so it's really nice. Even one of the grounds crew guys that's with us in the bullpen was a Northeastern graduate assistant coach on my baseball team, so I've known him forever, and I've been able to reconnect with him. It's been surreal, but trying to enjoy it.

Q. What's impressed you most about the rookie pitchers you guys have who have done so well coming out of the pen this postseason?

ADAM OTTAVINO: Well, first of all Whitlock, from day one he has been impressive, and he really hasn't waned at all. He has been awesome the whole year. I just think he is going to be truly special for his whole career. It's been awesome to see him from day one, and Tanner too. He has unbelievable stuff, and I think they both are starters in the future, but this year they're kind of our super weapons in the pen. It's great to be at a point in my career where I can be so pumped to be a part of it for them and help those guys on their journey as they're starting out.

Q. Adam, as a guy who has spent a good chunk of recent years in the American League, how eye-opening has Kiké's performance been with you? You, obviously, were teammates during the regular season, but he has taken his game to another level in October. How much has that surprised you in terms of what he has been able to do the last five or six games?

ADAM OTTAVINO: To be honest, I played against Kiké a long time when he was with the Dodgers, and I was with the Rockies, and I think the Dodgers were always so talented that he was kind of an afterthought, for us across the way, but then slowly but surely over the years started noticing how good he was and how much better he was getting, and then that kind of just continued for me this year, now getting to see him play the whole year.

Especially defensively I didn't realize how special he was, and he obviously loves the big moments, and now he has a lot of playoff experience coming into this thing. So he has been a leader for us. You're always surprised when somebody is this hot, but at the same time I've been appreciating his game more and more over the years, and this year he has taken it to another level for sure.

Q. Just your thoughts on how Alex has used the bullpen in this series. Just maybe more generally about how the role that relievers have taken on in the postseason so far, particularly in ALCS, and obviously, the Rays series?

ADAM OTTAVINO: I like it a lot. Teams kind of went to the bullpening model a couple of years ago, but that was only using relievers. Now Alex incorporates the starters into it as well, which I think is great. Those guys are chomping at the bit to impact the games. Pivetta, I always have to tell him you're going to get your chance. Don't worry.

I think it's great. He is mixing and matching. We're not facing the same hitters over and over and over again. Giving them fresh looks every time is beneficial for us, and one of the strengths of on our team is how deep our pitching staff is. There's a lot of good options, and he is using everybody. I think it's really good.

Q. You mentioned the starters being in the bullpen. You guys have a lot of rituals, I'm sure, during the season. How much has it changed having those guys now down there with you?

ADAM OTTAVINO: It hasn't changed at all really. They just kind of get on board with the crazy stuff we do and calling home runs and doing all sorts of funny little things when things go well. I think more than anything just trying to coach some of the guys through it who have never really been down there and don't have a routine.

Pivetta in general. He has so much energy that he is bouncing off the walls from the first pitch of the game. So just trying to channel that, and that way we can unleash him when we need to.

Q. I also wanted to ask you, when you were with the Yankees your first year, did you ever run across Whitlock in Spring Training or meet him or anything like that?

ADAM OTTAVINO: He says he talked to me, but I don't remember, so I don't know. I think it was maybe my first day ever with the Yankees. I think I ate with him in a Minor League food hall, but at that time I didn't really think anything of it. Anybody that I hadn't seen before, I just -- I'm pretty quiet at first, but I couldn't be more excited that he is on this team. We kind of have a shared, obviously, journey in that we both came from over there, so it was really great when we were able to win that Wild Card game, and he was able to get those last outs. I felt that that was really kind of a good moment for him.

Q. The first week or so of the playoffs you get a lot more rest than you were used to during the season. How much do you think that might be benefitting you now and kind of help to go into the outings you had this weekend in Houston?

ADAM OTTAVINO: I don't think I needed any extra rest, to be honest. I've been feeling good. I prepare myself to throw a lot. I don't ever let the workload get to me. Honestly, most of the time when I pitch more often I'm sharper.

But honestly, I struggled in September this year, and other guys were really hot. So I think it was the right move to go with those guys and let them do their thing, and Alex tried to sneak me back in there when we were down in Tampa, and kind of got my feet under me again. I appreciate my arm not falling off or anything like that, but at the same time I'll be ready for whatever.

Q. If I'm not mistaken I think you hit ten years of service during the course of this season. What did that day mean to you, and who were the people, whether it was in baseball or family, that you were reflecting on about their roles to help you get there?

ADAM OTTAVINO: It meant a lot to me, to be honest, because I've never really had any type of huge moment in the game to hang my hat on, but for me just the longevity and how many times I was kind of dead in the game and then kind of survived it and moved on to the next year, for me that's been the story of my career. Just trying to outlast everybody.

And it wasn't just me. Obviously, my family and everybody that kind of conditioned me for that growing up back home in New York. So just really everything I felt like for me getting the ten years made me feel like I really did it, and I was a real Big Leaguer and can't count me out in that way.

I don't know. Meant a lot for me. Hopefully my moment is still coming and winning the ring would be the one for me, but the ten years was something I was looking forward to for a long time, and I wanted to make sure I hit that.

Q. Can you explain that shirt? What are we looking at there?

ADAM OTTAVINO: This is a Verdugo shirt. I don't know where it came from, but it's got his chain on it, and maybe that's his alter ego there. I don't know. Yeah, he handed them out, and we've been winning since I had this shirt on, so I'm keeping it.

Q. Close game in Game 1. Winning by four in Game 2. Talk to us about the team's confidence moving forward and potential for closing it out here in Boston. You guys haven't lost a game here at Fenway in a long, long time. What's the confidence of the team right now?

ADAM OTTAVINO: I think we like where we're at. I think offensively we feel like we're going to be able to score against them. I think that's going to be the key. If we can beat Urquidy in Game 3, then there won't be too many guys on that pitching staff who haven't given up some runs against us, so I think we're feeling pretty good offensively. Pitching-wise we still have a lot of guys that haven't even thrown in this series, so we feel good about our depth. Plus playing at Fenway is momentum.

Can't think about closing them out, winning all three. We just have to win Game 3 first and then worry about the rest of them. Being here is a huge boost for us.

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