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October 11, 2002

Ron Gardenhire


THE MODERATOR: Ron Gardenhire is here. We'll take the first question for him.

Q. Rightfield is going to be a game-by-game situation now?

RON GARDENHIRE: Yeah, we'll just mix it up. Looks to me like there's a premium on catching the ball, defense. Any time you make a mistake, this happened in the Oakland series, too, it ends up costing you a ball game. Right now, I think just continue Mohr, definitely he's our best rightfielder. We want to catch the ball. We can't make any mistakes. I got Milton going tonight, power pitcher, going to get some fly balls. I put Dustan out there. Michael Cuddyer's done very well for us, he's swinging the bat good. But I want to make sure we have our best defense out there catching the ball right now. I'll put Dustan out there tonight and we'll go from there.

Q. Brad Radke was in here and was asked if he would be available to pitch a Game 7 to shorten the rotation. I know that's down the road. You don't probably want to go that far. You pretty much said you want to stick with what's working for you. Would you be willing to change depending on the situation?

RON GARDENHIRE: I haven't got there yet. But looks to me like Milton is lined up to pitch tonight, then pitch Game 7 too, if we get there. Who asked that question, you? You probably did (smiling). That's that doggone Minnesota second-guessers. We're lined up. I told you, I don't like to mess with my pitching staff. They've been going pretty good, like they've been all year long. We're in the ALCS, battling our tails off. I don't like to change too many things. We tried Radke on three days' rest, I think he made it through two and a third. I don't like to go there.

Q. Based on what you said about the importance of fielding, is Cuddyer done?

RON GARDENHIRE: Like I said, I'm going to go game by game. If Joe Mays is out there throwing sinker balls, why not put him out there? It's about winning game by game. This guy's a great player, a great kid. Those plays I told you in the Metrodome weren't easy plays, no matter where you're at. Right now, my gut feeling is to put the best defensive guy out there right now and that's Dustan Mohr.

Q. Brad Radke signed a long-term deal with the team while he was still under .500. Last winter, he had that opportunity to get out of it with the contraction stuff. He elected to stay in. Did you have any concerns Brad would leave at some point? Also, do you think that helped the team morale he stuck with it?

RON GARDENHIRE: Well, Radke is a very important part of this baseball team. He was the first pitcher we had that signed the contract to stay here with the Twins and what Brad wanted was this organization to be, you know, competitive again. And I think he saw that, that we were going about it the right way, getting some great young players, putting them together, made some nice trades, picked up some people. So Brad was very happy. Sure, I was concerned he might think about leaving, but I really didn't think Brad wanted to go anywhere. He loves Minnesota. He just wants to win, like everyone else. I'm sure now that we're doing that, he's pretty happy.

Q. Milton has had great success here in this park. Your thoughts on that? He's talked about how it's been a good place for him.

RON GARDENHIRE: Well, hopefully it holds out one more night. He's a great pitcher. A good pitcher is going to win anywhere. He's got great stuff, a power guy, he goes at hitters, he's going to challenge them like Mr. Washburn is going to challenge us. We know that. They're bulldogs, they come right at you. We know that's what's going to happen tonight. Milton is going to go out. Good pitchers win no matter whether they're pitching at. Milton has done well out here, he says he likes the feeling out here on the mound. I hope it carries through to tonight, like I said. A good pitcher is going to win anywhere.

Q. How pivotal was Radke in the Division Series? They don't give out an MVP in that round. To you, was he certainly one of the considerations if they did?

RON GARDENHIRE: Oh, no question. He picked us up big time. There was a lot of questions whether who should start the first game and all those things. In my opinion, it's always been Radke. He's been our guy, our go-to guy. Started a lot of games like that. I wanted him to start that Division Series. We ended up having him in Game 5. That was perfect. A few guys out there I would run out there, Milton, I would run him out there in a Game 5, Game 1, whatever. I have a lot of confidence in our pitching staff. And Radke's been one of our big shooters here.

Q. Have you been tempted to give Kielty a start? Do you like him coming off with his versatility?

RON GARDENHIRE: I was tempted today to give him a start. It means so much to us to have that one guy come off the bench right now, like in a situation facing Percival, I thought that was pretty exciting. A chance to maybe tie up a baseball game. When David Ortiz is playing, we don't have any left-handers off the bench per se that can actually hit the ball in the ballpark. It makes him valuable in that way. Sure, he could start, too. I wouldn't feel uncomfortable putting him out there at all. He does help us off the bench. He strengthens our bench a lot.

End of FastScripts�.

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