home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


October 12, 2002

Joe Mays


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Joe Mays.

Q. Are you the kind of pitcher more likely to stick with what worked your first time or change-up because they're thinking you might do the same thing?

JOE MAYS: No, the first game I threw here against Anaheim in our place, we kind of stuck with my strengths. I know I got a lot of questions prior to the game about how much video we watched on the Yankees and how the guys approached the game, how their hitters approached the game. I told the guys, I said, "Look, we had some good scouts, and we had a game plan." The game plan was to stick to my strengths. It makes it easier when you're able to get ahead, throw the ball over the plate and keep the ball down and make the hitters make adjustments as opposed to you making adjustments.

Q. How do you top that Game 1 performance? Can you top that?

JOE MAYS: I don't want to top that. If I go out there and give the team eight strong again like that, my job is to go out there and give the team a chance to win a ball game. Hopefully, I'm able to do that and just go out there, throw the ball over the plate, allow my team to play some defense behind me and hopefully we can push a couple runs across the board. This series right here, as you can see already, is going to be big-time pitcher's duels. You've seen it already in two games. It's going to be pitching, defense that's going to win the game. Bullpens are superb. You got to give them credit, our team credit. The bullpens are awesome. It's a matter of whose starting rotation is going to hold up the strongest.

Q. Five years ago when you got traded, how far along were you development-wise? How have you refined your game since you came to the Twins?

JOE MAYS: I was still learning how to crawl when I got traded over. You learn and experience things as you come up through the ranks through the Minor Leagues. Now that I got up to the Big Leagues, getting some great pitching coaches coming through and starting to understand your body. Those are things that really start to help you understand how to pitch, is once you start to understand what type of pitcher you are. There's been a couple games this year, after I came off the DL, going out there and thinking I'm not a power pitcher, there's no chance. I'm a finesse - I got to change speeds, throw the ball over the plate, I have to give defense a chance to play. I have to give my team a chance to stay in the ball game without giving up that big inning. There's not going to be too many big innings. It's whatever team can go out there and push one or two runs across the board. Those are the teams that are going to win.

Q. You've mentioned a couple of times this is a series of pitching and defense. You're not hitting much. Does that add extra pressure to you?

JOE MAYS: No, you still got to go out there and throw your game. You can't allow the -- knowing that the other team's throwing the ball great, we've had Appier throw an awesome game the first game. You saw Washburn throw a great game last night, Ortiz threw a pretty good game. You have to give them credit. They're changing speeds, keeping the ball down. When the guys get into a situation where they have to come up with the big hit, they're making the big pitch. Obviously, we're not swinging -- we're not able to get that big hit yet. Hopefully, it will come around. But, in essence, our job, as a rotation, as a staff, is to keep the team in it. That's the kind of mentality that you got to go out there with, is not, "Oh, let's not make a mistake," going out there, "Keep throwing your ball game, keep the team in it and hopefully we'll get that big hit when we need it."

Q. When you got hurt earlier this year, how serious did you think it was? Was it easier to give it time to heal, knowing you had a deep rotation?

JOE MAYS: It was much easier knowing the guys we did bring up were able to do a great job, Matt Kenny, Johan Santana jump from the bullpen to the rotation a couple times. He got thrown into the rotation a few times, then got thrown back to the bullpen, then back to the rotation. Knowing how much -- how big of a lead we had, it was easier for me to sit back and allow myself to give the adequate time to get healthy where if the team was close, I wanted to be back out there. I wanted to be back out there anyway. I didn't like coming to the park every day and knowing I couldn't go out there and compete. That was the toughest part about being on the DL. But knowing that the team had the big enough lead and knowing that our rotation was pretty solid, even down to the Triple A where we brought some guys up, I was able to go out there and kind of give it adequate time to heal. That's just, you got to do that in order to -- I didn't think it would take a whole long time for it to heal. It took a lot longer than I thought it would. But like I said, with the lead that we had and with the rotation that we had, I was able to give it the amount of time it needed to get back to where I had to be.

Q. How would you describe Ron Gardenhire's style and personality as a manager? What's impressed you most?

JOE MAYS: Awesome. You can't say enough about that guy. He allows this team to go out there and play. He tries not to get too much involved. If you're his man, he's gonna send you out there no matter what the situation. He's gonna give you a chance to go out there and prove yourself. He has a lot of faith in this team. That just shows what kind of heart our team has. He allows us, like I said, to go out there and play. Knowing that our team's gonna elevate its role of play because he allows us to go out there and play without going out there, "We got to DH this guy because a lefty's coming," no, we're going to leave Jacque in there and let him hit. This year he's done a great job against lefties throughout the season. That shows what kind of guy he is. He believes in the team that we have, and he allows us to go out there and play.

Q. Is he always so serious?

JOE MAYS: Who, Gardy? I tease him all the time in the bullpen. I try I to make him laugh as much as possible. Obviously, during this time, you could get a little tight in there, and I try to joke with him a little bit and flick seeds at him just to make him smile every now and then.

Q. If you go back to where this team was a couple of years ago and when Brad Radke made the commitment to stay, the Twins made the commitment to him, was that kind of the first step, the first building block in what this team has become now?

JOE MAYS: I think it does. That gave us a nucleus to build around. Obviously, Torii Hunter, he was great back then. But he's not the superstar that he is now. Now that we got Brad, we knew we got him locked up, we signed Milty, I believe, the following year. Some of the guys started to understand what kind of roles they were supposed to play on the team and everybody understood that. It was hard during '99 when everybody was coming through, nobody understood what their job was. Some days you'd be in the line-up, next day you weren't. And that makes it tough, coming to the park, if you don't know if you're going to be in the line-up or not. Now the guys on the team understand what the roles are on the team and they're going to go out there and play. They know when they do come to the park, it's going to be their turn to play and they need to be ready, prepared, mentally and physically, and they know what they got to do in order to be ready. Locking up Brad, like you said, that was just a start. Obviously, we've been through a lot of speed bumps throughout the past three or four years. But as a team, and as a family that we are here in the clubhouse, that just shows what kind of character we have. We're going to remain strong. We got a huge heart and we're going to stick together no matter what - through thick or thin.

End of FastScripts...

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297