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October 2, 2003

Joe Torre


Q. How would you categorize the mood of your guys going into today's game?

JOE TORRE: I think we're fine. We sure as hell wish we could have played yesterday. After you lose a game like we did the other day, you want to get right back on the field as soon as possible. But I think the workout yesterday and the pregame stuff today, I sensed that we're ready to play and hopefully maybe not as wound up as we were the other day.

Q. Can you describe the lineup changes and the thought process behind them?

JOE TORRE: Not really. It's a change. I just as a manager you sit there, especially the extra day and you think about different things you want -- I mean things you want to do a little bit differently and it was just basically change in the lineup and you know, putting Jeter up where he probably has batted more times than not in the second hole. And once you do that, you know, that puts Nick down because he's not really a middle-of-the-lineup guy. Getting Bernie back from 6th, we're, you know, a little reluctant to do that but the way things were going I felt I wanted to and putting him back up in the 4 hole and just hopefully the fact that you know, just that it changes the outcome too. Not anything specific that you know, when you make a lineup, you say this and this and this, because we have lefthanders that are going to play against lefthanders, and the fact that I play Rivera tonight, I just think he may be particularly better than Garcia in the outfield....

Q. Last comment pertains to what I was going to ask you about: Just it looks like you are trying to put your best defense a foot forward with this lineup and maybe if you can just talk about the importance of that aspect?

JOE TORRE: Well, I have always felt strongly about that. I am always a little reluctant to have a team that's pitching strong and then on the other hand you know, think about scoring runs first. But I like to try to support my pitching best I can and the way you do that is to put your best defensive club out there. Again, I mean, Juan, he played postseason for us last year and seemed to hold together real well. He was swinging the bat real well at the end of the season. Again, it's not going to keep me from doing what I did the other day; you know, Ruben sitting on the bench and he's a good guy for me because he's a switch-hitter, where I can pinch hit and not worry about if Gardy makes a change in the bullpen. But you know, a big part of that's the defensive game that Rivera has.

Q. What did you mean by you hope your team wasn't as wound up as the other day?

JOE TORRE: I sensed we were just pumped up, maybe had a little bit too much energy and didn't you know, didn't channel it properly. Again, I mean, I don't think -- it's not a criticism. It is just something that human beings are subject to or vulnerable to when you play games that are important and get ready to play. I think I sensed that we may have tried a little bit too hard the other day and got a little bit, I don't want to say out of our game because you are taking something away from Minnesota if you say that. I just think that we probably were wound a little too tight. Must have been my motivation.

Q. Is Giambi, does he fall into the category of being too wound up and is there anything you'd like to see him do differently tonight to sort of get back into that patient style that works for him?

JOE TORRE: We talked a little bit during batting practice, you know; just try to be yourself. I sense that and you guys talked to him. Everybody that stops to talk to him, he never says I haven't got time or whatever, so I just tend that he feels a great deal of responsibility for what happens on a day-to-day basis. And I just try to simplify it and just get up and get comfortable. That's really my message to him, just get comfortable, and usually your reflexes and the way you respond will take over. But just don't try to be too much because, you know, it's really tough. In this game it's tough to be say the 7-foot guy that's going to dump the ball all the time. He has to be one of the players and I just sense that he was trying to take on too much responsibility.

Q. As you head to Minnesota tomorrow talk about the significance of the Metrodome as a postseason venue?

JOE TORRE: Well, I have never been there in postseason. I have watched it on television. We play there obviously every year and we may draw more people than other teams, but we know it -- it's not filled up, and we know how noisy it is. It's just one of those things. I was mentioning to somebody before the game that the players are certainly going to have to be reminded, with all the plays that you work, whether it's cutoffs and everything, that the players are pretty much on their own as far as making the decision themselves instead of waiting to hear somebody say cut it off or relay or whatever. I think that's going to be something that's going to have to be talked about and made -- have people made aware of. As far as the noise, we have been in postseason a lot of years, and there has been some noisy places. This may be noisier than most, but hopefully we'll be able to deal with it.

Q. Did you sense any change at all in Jeter's leadership after he was named captain in the middle of the year?

JOE TORRE: No. Maybe -- you know, Derek really from day one that I knew him in 1996, he didn't maybe say as much as he says now. But he's never been shy when you ask him a question about telling you how he feels or telling you what he sees with the ballclub. I remember going back to I guess it was 2000 when we were trying so hard we couldn't see we lost that last 15 out of 18 or whatever and I had a meeting, I said anybody else have anything to say? Jeter jumped up there and just basically tried to tell the guys to relax. This is three years ago. As far as being captain, I think now if it's affected him in anyway he may do more, going around and talking to players. But marginally, I don't think there's any great change in him.

Q. Did you have anything in particular to say to the team the other day after the loss?


Q. Is there anything that you might an able to share with us?

JOE TORRE: I'd rather not.

End of FastScripts...

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