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October 9, 2004

Joe Torre


Q. This is old news but would you talk a little about the move with Arod, the decision behind it?

JOE TORRE: For the longest time, it just looked like -- and we still see it from time to time, Arod, I think he's so talented that he tries to do so much, so Don Mattingly and I talked about it for three or four weeks, I guess, trying to figure out what the time to do this would be. We thought we wanted to try it, and then I think there was a time when the lead-off guys were basically Lofton and Bernie Williams, and we just decided that this move with Jeter, and once we did that, we presented it to Alex, we told him before we did this to make sure he wasn't blindsided. He was enthused by it, and it looked like a whole transformation in him. It seemed to make him a little more consistent in his approach to hitting.

Q. Joe, if this series should have to go back to New York, it appears you're really well set up?

JOE TORRE: We feel good about it for sure. You know, we have done the three-day thing before, and there are a lot of times when you really set it up that way because you feel comfortable with that way, but Mike has had some physical problems before, and we don't want to really push that envelope, basically. We feel that, you know, if we do go to a Game 5, I would rather have him on full rest, and the fact that if he pitched on short rest in Game 4, then I'm going to have to have a guy -- have him pitch on short rest in Game 5. That certainly wasn't attractive or appealing to me. We took our chances and it made it possible to have Mike Mussina be a Game 5 pitcher.

Q. Joe, is there something you're looking for, specifically early, that would sense he's going to have a good day?

JOE TORRE: Yeah, we saw this in Boston when he started up there, it's basically to stay back, not drift, not jump at the hitter, just try to stay back and be aggressive but let your arm come through. I think when that happens, he has a better chance of locating his fast ball. When he starts getting a little anxious or throw too hard before he really gets set, he starts forward in doing that, that's when he sort of throws uphill, and he really doesn't have the command he needs to have. Early in the game, if we can see a good tempo from him, I think that would be a good indication for us.

Q. Have you spoken to Sturtze today?

JOE TORRE: He just said good morning to him this morning, he's going -- you know, we usually know after batting practice, they'll tell us how they feel. My guess would be he would be available for us to get an inning or something like that. He's probably the one guy who took more abuse than anyone, warming up three different times. That's what happens when you get in the series. There's certain people you want to go to, but I would say if anybody was close to being unavailable for us, he would be the one.

Q. Joe, what kind of statement do you think your starters have made so far? Is it a matter of drawing on their experience?

JOE TORRE: I think that's the key. The experience, Kevin Brown, I know he's walking around like a robot today. He's obviously stiff and sore, but normally a pitcher will be stiff and sore anyway. He's had a history of problems with his back. It magnifies the problem. I think it's just been basically experience that has gotten us there. Some experience that we've gained here this week, because John Lieber had to pitch post-season and gave us a huge game in Game 2 and Javy today, this is his first post-season start. I think the fact that there are a lot of players in that clubhouse that -- I don't want to say settle people down, but I think they're there as a safety net or a security blanket for the guys who haven't done it before. That clubhouse is pretty calm, comfortable and confident. Not overconfident. That's one thing, I think, when you have the experience, you realize how things can get away from you very quickly. We certainly try to guard against that.

Q. Is El Duque available for bullpen work or do you not know?

JOE TORRE: I do not know. Yesterday when we spoke here he had not played catch yesterday, and then before game time it wasn't what he hoped it would be when he played catch. I think -- guess we'll have the same thing today. He will go out and play catch and see if it's better, but after yesterday, just being sort of okay, you know, I'm doubtful that he would be available today.

End of FastScripts...

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