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September 30, 2003

Joe Torre


Q. Can you tell us how you saw the play in centerfield with Bernie?

JOE TORRE: It looked like the ball, he was almost there and the ball looked like it scooted. It looked like it was sort of bouncing on the way out and it just looked like it, you know, sort of slid on him, went under his glove. I'm not saying he hadn't made the play and that he didn't feel he should have made the play. It just looked like the ball did something different.

Q. Joe, did the effectiveness of the Twins bullpen surprise you at all today?

JOE TORRE: No. That's why they are here. You could talk about a lot of things, but they have certainly pitched well as a pitching staff, and, of course, we were not thrilled that Santana was hurting. But the fact that getting him out of the game, we felt that whatever it was, it couldn't be worse. We certainly didn't have a lot of opportunities, and when we did, we didn't get the base hit up until that ninth inning. And Stewart made that play in the ninth, but who knows what would have happened at that point.

Q. On the role of Soriano in the third inning, did he have time to glove that ball and throw?

JOE TORRE: No. That was a do-or-die play. Guzman runs well. I sit next to Zimmer, the toughest critic of all, and that was just one of those plays that either you make it or you don't.

Q. Go back to the Bernie play, because it went from being a play that we're used to seeing him make and then the whole thing becomes a mess. This has been a team of play-makers for a long time and that's a mess of a play that ends up costing you the game.

JOE TORRE: It looked to me that when they threw the ball in, Soriano had home plate in mind and then saw the runner and he didn't have a shot and threw to third and was high. That's a play where the pitcher is between third and home, you see where the play was going to be and Moose was favoring home a little bit and he was not behind third. It was unfortunate, but you have to make the plays, obviously, when you play in post-season because they are magnified. We know what we're doing. We just didn't do a good job of it on that play.

Q. Specific thoughts of LaTroy Hawkins, how he approached his pitching to your batters and he challenged with his fastball?

JOE TORRE: He's got good stuff. He's had good stuff for a long time. The only problems he's had over the years is being able to control it. He kept the ball down and he has a real good fastball. You're right, he did challenge us. They challenge us as a pitching staff, and we had a couple of opportunities and couldn't do much with them.

Q. More struggles for Jason. How do you get him turned around?

JOE TORRE: Well, the only thing you do is keep writing his name on the lineup and patting him on the rear end. I sensed him trying a little hard, maybe a little too hard today. He knows he's in the middle of our lineup and how important he is for us. But these are the things that you can only do, get the support from your teammates, and he certainly has that.

Q. You talked about how it seemed Jason might be trying too hard. He was chasing some pitches out of the zone. Is that a direct result of when you're going bad, just trying to do too much?

JOE TORRE: In Jason's case? No question, you get a little anxious when you are not swinging the bat well and you may enlarge your hitting zone a little bit. But for sure, he knows that we depend on him a lot, and I think the fact that he carries that weight with him maybe puts a little extra pressure on him.

Q. When you face pitching like you did today, does that make everything fall apart the way it did, good pitching sometimes does that?

JOE TORRE: Good pitching always stops good hitting. I don't care when the game is played, how much the players make; that's always been a truism.

Q. Is that depressing because of that?

JOE TORRE: You get in the post-season, you realize, it's a five-game season, and you certainly go out and maybe go out there and try a little too hard. But when is trying too hard worse than not trying at all? So you've got to find that in a tense situation. I sense the guys were pumped to start the game, maybe too pumped, but again, that's something that you have to deal with.

End of FastScripts...

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