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October 7, 2002

Ron Gardenhire



Q. What will the rotation be for the series?

RON GARDENHIRE: Mays, Reed, Milton, Radke. It sets up pretty good. I'll just take my chances. Come on, second-guessers, throw them out there (laughter).

Q. Do you see yourselves as an underdog in this series?

RON GARDENHIRE: If you get to a League Championship series, there's no underdogs. We beat the Oakland A's, one of the best teams in the game, and they beat the New York Yankees, another one of the best teams in the game. We just see a great Anaheim team. We don't see either of us as underdogs. But if you guys want to pick an underdog, it would probably be us.

Q. Do the Twins use an underdog role as a rallying cry?

RON GARDENHIRE: You have to be able to motivate them some way. We weren't surprised to be here. But there's a lot of incentive in winning. Winning is good enough. We believe there's enough incentive out there without having to rely on this for motivation.

Q. Could you talk about A.J. Pierzynski's ability?

RON GARDENHIRE: He had a great year. He does get overlooked when you're pitching well, but there has to be a catcher down there putting down fingers. He's being a little overlooked right now. They're talking about the bullpen. He can take a licking and keep on ticking. I can't believe I just said that (laughter).

Q. Do you see the Angels as similar to the Twins?

RON GARDENHIRE: They're a very aggressive baseball team. I've seen the whole package from them. They don't strike out much. We are similar. They have some veterans in the middle. We've got some guys at the top who can fly around the bases.

Q. What is the status of Denny Hocking?

RON GARDENHIRE: He was taken off the roster for the series. He got spiked right through the nail. It went into the flesh. There was no break. The earliest he could be back is by the weekend, but we can't afford to go a player short. We'll activate David Lamb and we'll also take Bob Wells on the roster for Tony Fiori. Wellsy needs to be on the roster, trying to get everyone involved.

Q. Can you talk about Sunday's game? It wasn't easy. The A's hit a three-run home run in the ninth inning to make it 5-4.

RON GARDENHIRE: Actually, when they cleared the bases, I felt better, I was like, "Now we can start over." We expected to come into the inning with a one-run lead and Eddie pitching. So we were back to that one-run lead. I wanted to kill Eddie actually (laughter). My pitching coach was telling me, "I think he's rushing." I said, "Rushing, he's not rushing. This is taking forever."

Q. How will you be able to replace Denny Hocking?

RON GARDENHIRE: Lamb will do a good job. Denny means a lot to this baseball team. The sad thing for us, not only did we lose a good player, but he's been through battles with us. He's a very important part of this baseball team. We will miss him. Hopefully, if we can get through Anaheim, get on to the next series, Denny will be back with us.

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