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October 5, 2004

Ron Gardenhire


Q. Is Jacque Jones in your lineup tonight?

RON GARDENHIRE: Yes, he is, Jacque Jones will be hitting second and playing right field. He got in this morning somewhere around, I believe it was 7:38, I didn't ask the exact time, but he flew all night and says he feels fine, everything is going okay at home. The funeral will be Thursday day. He'll play the two games here and then fly back home to California on Thursday and then we'll have the service for his father and then he'll meet us back Friday. Yeah, he's going to play tonight.

Q. Would you speak about what Radke has meant over the years and the difficulty this year?

RON GARDENHIRE: I think we always talk about, you know, I know Santana has been the big talk of the year. Radke has had a super year. If you look at his numbers, wins and losses are not there, but as far as number of wins, he doesn't have that huge, huge number, but he's really pitched his tail off. It's the old, sue for lack of support. We haven't scored many runs for him. He's given our ballclub a chance to win pretty much every time out. He's had a couple of bad ballgames but other than that he's pitched as good as I've seen him. He's been the opening day pitcher for us here, I don't know how many years in a row. Very professional, leads by example, not a guy that goes out and "rah, rah" or anything like that, just comes in and works every day, pretty much has been one of the most professional pitchers I've ever known.

Q. Just judging by the numbers you've been pretty conventional in your use of Joe Nathan this year, one inning at a time. Would you be more likely to change that up since it is post-season here and ask him to get four or five outs?

RON GARDENHIRE: I think whatever it takes to win. If we feel that that's necessary. I've put him in a couple of games this year, unlike -- I didn't do that with Eddie Guardado at all. I've done that with Nathan. He's a stronger guy, big strong kid and I've always felt that he could do those things. Yeah, I'm not afraid to do that. If it comes up tonight, if it looks like that's your best chance to win, I'll do that tonight.

Q. When Brad resigned with the team in the middle of the season in 2000, was this viewed as a symbolic thing to, stay with the organization, at the time a player of that stature?

RON GARDENHIRE: Yes, absolutely and that's something the club has not done a lot of, it's done contracts in the middle of the year, but special case, Brad Radke. When he signed I think that set the tone for the way the organization was trying to go, trying to keep one of our better players around, and also by paying him a little bitty money. We call that little bitty money in Minnesota. I know 10 million, that's no big deal here, I know but that's a big deal to us, our organization, and it meant a lot.

Q. How do you feel about your clean-up hitter, particularly in these surroundings and is he nervous at all about this appearance?

RON GARDENHIRE: I just talked to him. I just walked by him and asked him that same question, I said, "How we doing, kid"? He told me, "Same routine, just another ballgame." I went, "Yeah, right. Just another ballgame son. We'll see." The good thing for our ballclub is we were here a few days ago and played in some very tense baseball games. The Yankees are trying to win, clinch their division. The games were very exciting and he was standing out there and got a little bit of a taste of it. I think he'll be fine. Not too many teams can say you have a Canadian at third and a Canadian at first, and we do. (Laughter.)

Q. Do you fear the Yankee lineup against the Twins starting pitchers, who in your mind is a dangerous hitter in the lineup? And also Matsui has been --

RON GARDENHIRE: Who in my mind and then you said Matsui. Who do you want me to talk about? (Laughter.)

Q. How will you set them up?

RON GARDENHIRE: It's a whole lineup. It's not just one guy. The Yankee lineup is full of professional hitters that have been doing this for a long time. We talked about the last series, Matsui, the ball must have looked like a softball to him. He was on every pitch we threw and had great at-bats. Their lineup in general is like that all the way up-and-down. They have got great hitters. Most of their hitters have a lot of Major League at-bats, so that tells you a little bit about how much knowledge they have. So you have to go out and make pitches each knot night. When we were here a few days ago you would take a lead, go back out and it would take one swing to give up the lead, one pitch and a home run. You have to have very good pitching to keep yourselves in the games. We've lived by pitching all year and hopefully we'll pitch well here.

Q. I'm wondering, Jacque is playing tonight and I wonder if you think that can potentially galvanize your team at all and why do you think it was so important for him to play tonight?

RON GARDENHIRE: For one thing, he catches the ball very well. We've got a very good pitcher on the mound. I think we had the kid out there, Kubel and A-Rod hit a ball that Jacque catches most of the time. Not blaming Kubel one bit; first time in Yankee Stadium. Jacque Jones catches the ball very well for us and Jacque Jones always comes up with big hits for that baseball team. He's been around here for a long time. He's one of the guys that guys look to. We put our best players on the field and Jacque Jones is one of those guys. That's why he's supposed to be out there. When you look at our outfield, the so-named Soul Patrol, they can all run the ball down.

Q. Are you looking forward to God bless America tonight?


Q. Are you surprised by the furor your reaction caused last year?

RON GARDENHIRE: Holy cow, I couldn't believe it. It's nothing against in this case, but I'm just saying, it's takes a long time and I was worried about my pitcher. He sat in the dugout for a while. I didn't know that I would be getting calls from the Third Army Brigade saying that I wasn't American. Believe me, I grew up an Army brat, lived on the Army bases with my dad and I'm as patriotic as anybody in baseball. I always worry about my pitchers when they set, even in long innings when we are getting our brains beat out and scoring a lot of runs, you always worry about those things. I tried to say that, I guess it didn't come out. I'm still getting letters. But I'll be on the top step, I guarantee.

End of FastScripts...

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