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October 9, 2003

Joe Torre


Q. You always talk about Andy Pettitte's ability to stay cool; did the first two innings really epitomized that?

JOE TORRE: He didn't stay cool. (Laughter.) Mel had to do some therapy on him. He was really wound up. He's not afraid. He just got so pumped up tonight, I think the little extra rest, and he felt strong as a bull and he just was trying -- not trying to be a power pitcher, but he was overthrowing the ball. It was a huge double play we got, that first and second, nobody out and to he escape those first couple of innings only giving up one run that, was a big list for us.

Q. Did you talk to Nick Johnson at all before the game? It looked like you might have had something to him at the batting cage and what was that?

JOE TORRE: Just some non-baseball related stuff. Nick, I think he's everybody's favorite because he's got this dry sense of humor when you can get him to talk. But nothing to do with hitting or anything like that. It was just this running joke that we have with each other, basically just non-baseball related. I'll tell you what happened tonight. Last night when I went out to the mound, when I took Nellie out last night, I had seen Millar tag up. When he started taking off, I turned to Mel, I said -- I think White was coming in -- I said, "Is White ready?" And he said yes. So when I went out to the mound, Millar was standing there talking to the coach. I just assumed he was going to go first to third base to tag up. I'm telling Jorge to throw -- they have two hits, he has first and second so I get on in this case about why do you tell me this? Why do you let me embarrass myself? He picks right up on that. So tonight when I came out, he says, man at first base. (Laughter.) That's him. That's Nick and that's the running thing we have going with each other. And at first he got me because I was doing one of his acts. I said, what? And then I caught on when he gave me that little smile. So that's basically what we do with him.

Q. Knowing what to say to Nick, what to say to Jason these past couple of weeks, how to treat the team after these Game 1 losses, when did you develop that and how did that develop through the years and where do you feel you are now with all of that?

JOE TORRE: I think a lot of it comes from playing and how bad you want to do something sometimes; that you realize something other than talking about baseball has got to help them. And letting people know it's okay to be nervous at times or it's okay to be excited. That's all part of the human being that you are. That's really just knowing how I felt as a player, when I hit into a double play, which unfortunately was quite often. You know, to lose a game I felt responsible. So I think I just took my experiences and just tried to just relieve some of the tension, because there's so much more tension now than when I played. First, I never played on a pennant winner; secondly, there's so much coverage and so much more scrutiny now than there was back then.

Q. As far back as spring training, you've been talking about the type of role for Contreras; was that as perfect as you had envisioned it?

JOE TORRE: Really, could have brought Nellie but I just liked the way Contreras threw the ball tonight and he's possibly a little more foreign to these guys than Nellie at this point in time. Knowing Nomar, he doesn't hang around and wait for a pitch. He's going to hack at you. It looked like it had a little bit of movement, that first pitch when he popped it up. His ball has been reliable the past few nights.

Q. Did it go pretty much towards your game plan tonight? You got your go-to guy, Andy Pettitte, on the mound; goes to the seventh inning, Contreras, Rivera?

JOE TORRE: As it turned out but after those first two innings, I didn't even want to ask Mel how many pitches he threw. He was throwing a lot of pitches and a lot of that stuff was self-induced but again Andy needs some time just to get into the game. He gets so prepared and sometimes overprepared, and I think the fact that he's gotten a little bit stronger over the last few years, has gotten him to the point where he muscles a little bit too much. After he settled in we got the lead and I think once we got the lead and added on that extra one, he seemed to settle in and become the pitcher that pitches down. Then I started counting the inning, because the eighth inning, I knew his pitch count was going to be where it was and it was going to be Rivera and once we tacked on the couple of runs, Jose went back out there.

Q. Is a performance like that more impressive than when he has his great stuff, to be able to bounce back when it looks like he's not going to last?

JOE TORRE: That's what -- I don't want to say unique, I'd like to believe all my pitchers have that ability. It was very similar to a game he pitched against Pedro in Boston on that Saturday afternoon. He threw twice -- threw badly twice to second base in the first inning and gave up four runs and he didn't come unraveled. He kept it together and we wound up winning the ballgame. But yeah, he's a guy I didn't know anything about when I got here in '96 and he did a number of things in '96 that trust will never leave me. Especially after the way he pitched Game 5 in Atlanta, 1-0. That was huge for us.

End of FastScripts...

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