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October 5, 2003

Dusty Baker


THE MODERATOR: Okay we're ready with Dusty Baker.

Q. Could you talk about the health of your players, particularly Farnsworth?

DUSTY BAKER: Right now, we're not really sure about Farnsworth. I heard he's okay. He's a little sore. He's going to be, and Eric Karros is sore also, but our fitness and medical staff is doing whatever they can. They slept with cold presses on, a lot of ice, a lot of heat today, and some medication. Come game time, I'm hoping and I'm pretty sure they'll be ready.

Q. How do you adjust your bullpen if Farnsworth is not available?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, I adjust it depending on who's coming up for them. Our bullpen is in pretty good shape other than Farnsworth as far as over activity and over work. The guys went one inning yesterday. Most of them went a third. It'll have to depend on the score. Just take into consideration as many variables as possible to try to get the job done.

Q. Have you talked to Zambrano or Prior about possible relief work tonight?

DUSTY BAKER: No, Larry talked to Zambrano. He was ready to come out here at 1:00. He was the first player I saw when I walked in. He's ready and he's relieved in the past. We'll have to give him a little more time to get loose. As far as Prior is concerned, he's not even in the picture as far as relieving is concerned right now. The risk of injury is high because he just pitched a few days ago. Zambrano this is his fourth day, so he's in much better shape to relieve if necessary.

Q. Is Eric in the lineup?

DUSTY BAKER: Yes, I'd have to fight him to keep him out of the lineup today.

Q. What's the rest of your lineup?

DUSTY BAKER: The rest of my lineup is much the same. Lofton leading off, Grudzielanek, Sammy, Moises Alou, Ramirez, Karros, Gonzalez, Miller, and Kerry Wood.

Q. How did Smoltz look to you last night? Did it appear that he was making a lot of effort or struggling and how does that affect your approach tonight?

DUSTY BAKER: He didn't look like he was struggling to me. He was throwing 96, 97. If that's struggling, I would hate to see when he wasn't struggling. The major difference was he just didn't throw his breaking ball or split-finger much. He wasn't struggling. He was throwing the ball hard. As far as Smoltz tonight, I hope that we're not in that position to find out actually that we got the lead late and keep him in the bullpen. When you're facing closers like Smoltz, Gagne, Wagner, the game plan is to keep them in the bullpen and you've got a good chance to keep in front.

Q. Did you see that he was in pain, grimacing after every pitch?

DUSTY BAKER: You guys have a better view of that than we do. You guys can see the grimace. My eyes go from him to my batter right

away. You got the close up bird's-eye view. At this point in time in year, there is a lot of people out there in pain.

Q. As a competitor, how exciting is it to have everything come down to one game?

DUSTY BAKER: It's very exciting. I was just in the same position same spot one year ago with the Giants. Hopefully history will repeat itself and the same thing can happen tonight.

Q. Do strategies change because it's a deciding game, particularly early in the game?

DUSTY BAKER: Everybody has a game plan, but how the players perform, the scoreboard, the inning, who's available for us or them, the strategies change. I mean, you can't let the magnitude of the game really change how you manage that much. How the players perform dictates if the strategy is changing.

Q. Can you talk about your first year with Wood? He has a reputation for being a little inconsistent, but he's been very good the last seven starts.

DUSTY BAKER: He's been great. Every since he hurt his back and started coming back. He's been getting better and better. I don't really concern myself with raps too much. Everybody's got a rap. Most of the time it's negative whether it's there or not. Some of you guys have a rap, you probably can't spell, but you have WordPerfect to help you.

Q. MLB fined Fick for his actions. Are you happy to see that was done?

DUSTY BAKER: I'm not happy. Whatever they did, I think it's appropriate. I had MLB take some action against me a couple times this year. They're doing their job. That's what they're there for, to police the game to make sure things are played and run properly.

Q. Is there any feeling that you have more desire to get something accomplished here because it's been so long for the Cubs as opposed to other cities?

DUSTY BAKER: That's part of it. The main thing is you want to do it because it's there to do. If you do it because it's there to do and you do it for the team and yourself, it's going to do it for the city. We want to do it for Chicago. That's not your primary motivation at this point. When you get this far, you want to take it to the next level, and that's our main goal to win, take it to the next level and hopefully go on to the next level. The fans in Chicago come into play. The main factor is it's a game to play, a championship game, you want to win. It doesn't matter if it's marbles, jacks, you just want to win.

Q. When you saw the ending of yesterday's game with the Giants, what were your thoughts about the way it ended?

DUSTY BAKER: I didn't see the play. I heard about it. I think during our game or something. I don't know. I hate that San Francisco was eliminated in the first round. I've got a lot of friends and guys over there. I was looking forward to going back to San Francisco and playing against the Giants and sleeping in my own bed and seeing my dog again. I miss my dog. I haven't seen him since April. You guys laugh. I'm serious. I hate they were eliminated. At the same time, that's part of baseball, and now we have to hopefully beat the Braves and look forward to playing for tomorrow.

Q. Did you talk to anybody from the Giants?

DUSTY BAKER: I talked to Righetti and I called Ron Wotus. I didn't get him because they were flying. But I talked to Righetti.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Dusty.

End of FastScripts...

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