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October 6, 2005

Joe Torre


Q. Giambi was voted the American League Comeback Player of the Year and wonder if you can just talk about how his season went and what he meant to the team?

JOE TORRE: Well, I didn't know that. That's great news. He certainly is worthy of it and worked hard to get it. And not that anybody wants to win that one twice, that's for sure. But it just means a lot to me. When we started spring training, knowing what went on last year and over the wintertime, I really didn't know what to expect and I certainly didn't expect the power numbers to come back as quickly as they did. And again, I know the players were all happy for him because for a long time, he really wasn't getting it done, and they knew how hard he was working. So I'm just very pleased for him. I think that's great and he's meant so much. I mean, he's made an impact on our lineup, when you consider we rearranged it to put him in the three-hole, you have to come a long way to do that.

Q. Do you anticipate any changes in the lineup for tomorrow night?

JOE TORRE: You know, I really haven't. Basically take today off and I'll get to the park early tomorrow. Joe Girardi and Don Mattingly, and we sit around and figure it out. You know, I've been asked a number of times because Jorge Posada is not catching tomorrow, if there's a chance he'll DH; I doubt it, not discounting it, but we'll look to tomorrow and decide what our options are against Byrd and go from there. Right now, the first five guys will stay the same and then we'll arrange it from there on out. But as I said, the only question I've been asked pretty consistently has been Jorge, and I'm not saying he won't be the DH, but I think it's doubtful.

Q. On that note, do you think that Ruben might have a better chance at DH, since he's had good numbers against Byrd?

JOE TORRE: Well, no question, Ruben, because he's probably the most adept at it. He's had the most experience. You know, he loves the pressure and all that. He certainly would be a consideration. He would be the first; I think he would be the first consideration, and then you work out and match them up from there. But again, we want to get him involved because we know what he can bring to the table, especially being a switch-hitter, and they don't have a left-hander coming out of the bullpen. The fact that Ruben has been down this road before, he would probably be the No. 1 guy we would look at.

Q. Are there any minor issues with injuries that people in New York are not aware of since we were not there?

JOE TORRE: Issues with injuries, nothing I think -- I don't think there's anything more than what's already been going on. You know, Jeter's been playing through some leg issues and all that stuff. Just your normal, every day player having to deal with whatever he has to deal with on a regular basis. But there's nothing new that's come up that we're alarmed about or we're doubtful that it's going to keep should be out of a ballgame.

Q. Last night with runners in scoring position, was it just one of those things, or a matter of players trying to do too much?

JOE TORRE: Well, you know, Sheffield with second and third, put the ball in play so Alex scored from third. You know, Matsui hits the ball to a man at third base and Figgins makes one of his two spectacular plays. I know it shows up as a failure, but I think it was more the ability that they had to stop the inning. I mean, that's what they do. They do a lot of things very well, even though they don't knock your socks off with the power that they potentially don't show you. But they do a lot of the little things, and in the defensive part of it. And Figgins, he can play second, third, centerfield and he's in the just a utility man that fills in. He plays extraordinary at all those positions. It doesn't concern me. Our guys right now, win, lose or draw, we feel pretty good about ourselves. I think the pressure is all about getting to post-season, and we certainly don't feel that that was as much of the pie as we wanted, even though it was satisfying to get one there. We finally started playing on a level playing field where we didn't have to dig ourselves out of a hole. Hopefully we can get a lead in the series tomorrow night.

Q. Randy has lost seven straight Division Series games; is that how unpredictable this series can be?

JOE TORRE: It is unpredictable, there's no question. Every time you think something favors you, something happens to keep that from being the case. With Randy, we have so much confidence in Randy at this point in time, the way he's handled a couple of pressure situations, the Boston game on Saturday, the Boston game on Sunday before we left on that next to last road trip where we beat them 1-0. You know, he certainly has been conditioned to do this before he got to the Yankees, but I think once he got through that adjustment period with the Yankees, he certainly has been everything we hoped for. Plus we mentioned the other day, of all the starters, he's been the one who has taken the ball on a regular basis and we have not had to shut him down. And as I say that, I'm knocking on wood. (Knocking on wood).

Q. If there are any rainouts or weather delays tomorrow night, do you anticipate any changes in your pitching rotation?

JOE TORRE: I think we're just going to have to look at it. If we get rain, you can't mess with nature, I guess. I have into no clue what's going to happen, other than Randy will pitch and it will be Chacón following him. I don't see us rearranging that to accommodate any other situation, so I don't think we'll do anything with our pitching. The only thing, and I know Mike Scioscia feels the same way, you certainly don't want to start a pitcher and have one of these on-and-off games where you're going to wind up losing a starter. That would be probably the worst scenario for our ballclub at this point in time if that were to happen if we had one of those rain-stop-rain situations tomorrow night .

Q. Do you recall your sense of going against Randy Johnson the first time you faced him in post-season, how you felt about facing him?

JOE TORRE: Well, you know he's a dominating type of guy. I mean, it's like facing a Clemens or a Bob Gibson. It's just something that you don't think too big about. You've got to think about trying to stay with him. When we faced Pedro a number of times with the Red Sox, we knew facing him that you could not paint too big of a picture. You have to really pay attention to detail and I'm sure, of course that's what the Angels are all about. But he could be intimidating. He dominates so many games when he is on his game and you know he's one of the few pitchers that has ever pitched in the Major Leagues that you do major re-hauling of your lineup against him, because he's so dominating left-handed.

Q. You spoke about handling pressure, can you talk a little about Robinson Cano and the way he has handled his first post-season, especially at the plate?

JOE TORRE: Robinson Cano it a special young man. We felt that in spring training, and he played an awful lot in spring training for us. When we sent him out, the one question we had for him, it looked pretty easy, he had a good spring for us, but we're going to the Minor Leagues but we don't want you to think that's just going to be a walk-through for and you continue working. He's a real good kid. His dad played in the Major Leagues, so I think he has a little feel. I felt that I had a little bit of an advantage in playing professional baseball because my brother, Frank, had played in the big leagues before me and you sort of have a feel of what to look forward to. But he has handled about every adversity, and a lot of similarities between Robby and Derek Jeter in '96 where they made an error or made the last out of a ballgame, they never lived there; they just moved on. And that's very unusual for a player with such limited experience, especially coming here where everything is magnified so much. But I think that his upside is really going to be incredibly high as long as he stays focused on what he does.

Q. The Angels say coming to Yankee Stadium they have done that before and they are also confident because their big hitters haven't hit yet; what do you say to that?

JOE TORRE: Well, we know that. I mean, we know Garrett Anderson hasn't really made an impact, and Guerrero really has not made an impact, but they are two ballgames that have been pitched very well. The last time we faced them back in 2002, we didn't pitch well at all. You know, post-season is all about how well you pitch. There's very few games you're going to try to outscore the opposition. But we need to dominate. We need to control the game with pitching, because if you don't, with their type of offense, they can be distracting and do a lot of things. So we've been fortunate, we've kept Figgins off the bases, that's given us a chance to win. We had a lead last night and we won the game the night before, and based on the fact that we were able to get the first hitter out. We certainly know they are capable of getting base hits and all of those things, but again, good pitching has always stopped good hitting. We just need to continue to be efficient and maybe be a little tighter defensively than we were last night.

Q. You mentioned your confidence in Randy, he's obviously done a lot over the years but only one year for you, does that change as the year goes on, do you kind of grow with him as he pitches for you?

JOE TORRE: Yeah, you know, I think the big part about my confidence level is once I sense that he is more comfortable with his surroundings, I start getting a little more comfortable with him. Because it's not like Chacón comes on the scene and you don't read on every single page of the sports section about what you expect there him. You know, Randy came here with high expectations, and there's no question that unless you're completely devoid of any kind of feeling, you know, it's going to play into it. I think once we got through that and he started, you know, being able to just block everything out. On the days he's pitched, I've become more comfortable with it because he's become who he is. But when there are a lot of things swirling around, it makes it a little more difficult for him to be comfortable. But I think over the last probably 10 or 12 starts, he's been easy to watch for me, that's for sure.

Q. You got the split on the road, but the fact that you lost the last game you played, does that temper your enthusiasm or momentum coming home?

JOE TORRE: Well, no, it doesn't. We come home, we have Randy Johnson. You certainly as a manager, you don't think in terms of, well, what we have to do is win one game here in Anaheim. But once you come home that way, you realize that you're coming home, you have two games here, we have the ability to win at home. There's no reason why we shouldn't be able to win these two games, but again, that all comes back to being able to control the game, being able to get some key hits and all that. This ballclub that we're playing certainly isn't intimidated by the New York Yankees or Yankee Stadium or anything like that. But, yeah, in a short series, there's no question that you feel a lot better about yourself than if you won the day before. But you also understand that, you know, each day takes its own group of circumstances and the way this ballclub of mine over the last month has bounced back from games that maybe have been a lot uglier than yesterday. There was one most recently in Baltimore where we got our rear ends kicked and we were able to come back the next day and win 2-1. So we have been able to rebound and do things like that. I think post-season just sort of turns the volume up, where I think our experience at least is able to put that bad game aside and see what tomorrow brings.

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