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October 13, 2004

Joe Torre


Q. Could you just talk about Olerud, how you got him and what he's given you?

JOE TORRE: Well, you know, when Jason went down and we were looking around to get some help for Tony Clark, there were a couple of guys out there at the time; McGriff and Olerud. I think the feeling in the organization was that, you know, Olerud had been more of a regular player at that time, and we just decided to, you know, pursue that. I talked to John, and just the way he is, is, you know, what you see is what you get. You talk to him on the phone and very calculated as far as, you know, what's my role, what do you want me to do, and short of making him any promises, I told him that he would get every opportunity to be an everyday player and maybe sit occasionally, and that's what we've done. You know, he decided to come to us, which was -- it was huge, because to me, I mean, John Olerud is quality. He had played here in New York. There were a lot of things that really made that a good get for us.

Q. If you can, can you speak of Lieber's effort tonight, and particularly that 16-pitch at-bat he had against Damon which was phenomenal?

JOE TORRE: It was a great at-bat for Johnny, and he kept throwing strikes. And the fact that it was 3-2. I tell you, Lieber, he walked somebody early, and then it just seemed once he settled in, he was just locked in, and he's not going to walk people. He's going to throw a lot of strikes. I mean, even when we took him out, he had 80 pitches or something, which was incredible. But, you know, the thing that makes this probably more impressive than it appears to be is the fact that he pitched against this same ballclub a couple of weeks ago on a Saturday afternoon and shut them down at that time, had a no-hitter going for six or seven innings, whatever it was. And to do that against a club of this caliber, you know, after they witnessed you a little bit and had a chance to hit against you, that makes it doubly impressive.

Q. The job that your guys did running up the meter on Pedro, just talk about the effect that that may have had cumulatively when Olerud hit the home run, I think he was over one hundred by then.

JOE TORRE: Early on he walked the first couple of hitters. But the one thing about it when you play a club as often as we've played the Red Sox is the fact that you know what you have to do. You can't think big against Pedro. And tonight, he was Pedro, all of the things about how we manhandle him or beat him, tonight he didn't give an inch and he had good velocity and good location, after that first inning. He had two strikes on John, made two pitches down, tried to elevate a fastball and Olerud was there. The but the fact that you have to make him work hard, like we felt we made Schilling work hard last night is really the only way to get it done, because if you give him three-pitch at-bats, or four-pitch at-bats, not only aren't you going to get a feel for what he's doing, but it's going to make it a lot easier on him.

Q. Being up two games now, can you give us an update on El Duque and would it be a possibility that he might pitch the fourth game?

JOE TORRE: Well, yes, that is a possibility. He did have a bullpen today. He threw, I think, 40 pitches. And he seemed to come through it pretty well and we'll see how he feels tomorrow, and then tomorrow we'll make a decision on what we're going to do. You know, this is the best news we've had on him since we've shut him down, and he seems to feel pretty good about himself. So we'll see how he is tomorrow and then Mel and I will decide.

Q. After you lost Pettitte and Wells and Clemens, starting pitching was a concern, but you've now given up one hit over 12 innings; can you talk about that?

JOE TORRE: Well, we knew going in what we had. The only thing that concerned me about our starting pitching is that we didn't have the numbers that we've had in the past. Of course, not having a left-hander, you miss Andy Pettitte, whether he was right-handed or he was left-handed. But the fact that we didn't have the depth that we've had in the past is the only concern I had in the spring. Because I knew, and felt after talking to Girardi about Lieber was one important part for me; that we had quality, even though we didn't have quantity. The last couple of weeks, we've been pitching well. And Browny just made it that much more comfortable for us, the fact that he pitched in Toronto and came out of it well and then pitched in Minnesota and got himself in trouble a couple of different times and was able to shut people down. And Moose, Moose has been there. So the fact that we have been pitching well, and I've mentioned it in here before, I feel good about our pitching right now. These two games were huge. Especially tonight, Curt didn't have his best stuff yesterday but Pedro was Pedro. To beat him when he had his stuff like this, it really gives us a lot of confidence.

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