October 23, 2003
MIAMI, FLORIDA: Game Five
THE MODERATOR: First question for Joe.
Q. What did Wells tell you after the inning that he pitched?
JOE TORRE: Actually, during the National Anthem Mel, made his way down the dugout, he wanted to know which alternative way we were gonna go. You always have to be sort of prepared. You never like to even think about it with Boomer with his back. I didn't talk to him. I just talked to Mel. Then he said that he had trouble loosening up the first time he tried. Then when he went back and tried it again, he was able to loosen up. That's why he started the game. Then after he came in the first inning, he couldn't go back out. You could see just by his body language in the first inning he was having a tough time just bending over and trying to throw his pitches.
Q. I personally didn't get to see if he was somewhat involved in the bunt by Juan Pierre. Was he involved in that? Because it seems to me in Chicago there was a play like that and he had that problem in Chicago.
JOE TORRE: Wells?
JOE TORRE: No, Wells wasn't near the bunt. It was Nick Johnson to Wilson and Boomer wasn't there.
Q. Did Contreras have enough time to warm up?
JOE TORRE: Yeah, Contreras had plenty of time. The umpire was giving him as much time as he needed on the mound. He had started warming up. He had got in a situation there where he looked like he was trying to rush himself, overthrowing the ball. He couldn't get the ball down because he was muscling it. Roger's gone through it, too. He looked like he was getting anxious trying to throw the ball. When he tried to throw the fastball too hard instead of staying within rhythm, he couldn't get the ball down. Gonzalez and Penny got him. It was unfortunate. He seemed to settle in. He had plenty of time. Eddie Rapuano, I had gone out there and mentioned it to him and he went over and talked to Jack about it. There was no problem in getting him as many pitches as he needed.
Q. Looked like you had Jason in the seventh and pulled him back.
JOE TORRE: I was sort of anticipating we'd get one run home some way. Then have him hit and then when we didn't, when Booney popped up, I decided to -- that that's the spot I wanted to use Ruben with two men on base in that situation. Then he struck out. It was basically because of the opportunity with the guy who's used to pinch hitting coming off the bench. He's my best pinch-hitter.
Q. With a couple key guys injured or slumping and the bullpen having been used as much as you had to use it tonight, have you entered a key game like you're going up in 6 with as many issues as perhaps you have now?
JOE TORRE: No, we haven't been down this road many times. We've been fortunate when we won these World Series that it was done -- I think six was the longest for us. But you really don't think about what you don't have when you're playing. First of all, you shouldn't think that way any game you play at 162. But certainly, when we hope there's still two games left in the season, you can't afford to even think that way. You just got to see what you have and it's gonna have to be good enough to get the job done.
Q. Almost another great rally by the Yankees in the ninth inning again, did you think Bernie had enough to get it out?
JOE TORRE: You get to the point, when you sit where we sit, you want to think that, yeah. But when he hit it, I knew he hit it better than the one he hit with the bases loaded. When I saw it, Encarnacion heading in that direction, I was just waiting from the look up. Unfortunately, I didn't get the good look from him. I thought when he first hit it, it had a shot. But that's a long way out there.
Q. Any thoughts what you'll do with the line-up now? Is Soriano back in automatically? Is Giambi well enough to DH?
JOE TORRE: Yes, Giambi will DH. It doesn't bother him when you have to go up there four, five times a game as much as it would standing out there, moving around first base. That was the big problem. As far as Soriano, I'm gonna have to look at it and see. We have a day off. We're not working out tomorrow. I'll come in and figure it out by Saturday.
Q. Will you talk about trying to fight off an elimination game on your own turf and whether, in your mind, some of the pressure might be back on Jack and the Marlins to figure out what they want to do, bring people back a little early or not?
JOE TORRE: I have my own team to deal with. We're obviously a very confident club. I think when you lose your starting pitcher like we did tonight, and then make an error and cause a couple more runs and fall behind by five, you have two good clubs playing here and you don't quit. I was proud of the way my ballclub just kept it together and kept coming back. So we feel very confident that we have Andy Pettitte in a situation that he's been in many times, where we need a win, and he's on the mound Saturday. And then Moose will pitch Sunday. So, going into a sixth and seventh, certainly I'd rather be up 3-2 than down 3-2, but I feel good about who we have pitching.
Q. Can you talk about the decision on Giambi, how it came about late in the day?
JOE TORRE: Yeah. I was watching him out there and he seemed to be limping a little bit more than I normally see him. So I sort of cornered him and asked him about the knee, because I had been there earlier in the trainer's room and he was getting some work done. And he sort of didn't really answer me. Knowing him for the last couple years, I just told him, "Let's play Nick tonight. If I need you to pinch hit, you'll pinch hit." That's the way it turned out.
Q. Was there a breakdown on the play where Wilson had Rodriguez?
JOE TORRE: What happened, Booney made such a great play and he was at that deep spot that when he got up, he gave up the ball probably sooner than he normally would. But because of his angle, he gave it up, and then when Wilson was running back, he didn't see anybody covering third. Booney, the job is to get out of the baseline and head to second base, and when he didn't see anybody behind Booney, he wanted to give it up real quick back to Booney and really Booney wasn't looking for it. Yeah, it was an error, it looks bad. But there was a reason it happened and unfortunately, it did.
End of FastScripts...