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October 11, 2002

Tony La Russa


Q. Is the 0-2 start a reflection of the whole season, always something to overcome?

TONY LA RUSSA: It's always important to paint your situation in a way that there's a positive slant on it so that you can think of something good happening. In this case, it isn't much of a stretch to explain to the guys that it's been hard all year, so this is hard. Division Series, we're up 2-0, it was okay to start that way. But the reality is, we're 0-2. We have a tough-minded group, so I know we'll be ready tomorrow.

Q. Talk about how much confidence you feel having Chuck Finley going in Game 3 on the road.

TONY LA RUSSA: Well, when he showed up, we really needed him. He has pitched really, really well for us from the first day. I know tomorrow, as a veteran with experience, anything can happen with the crowd or the situation or their offense that he has not dealt with before. If he's sharp, I think he will give us a good chance to win from the pitching side.

Q. How big of a challenge does Ortiz present, especially the way he's thrown lately?

TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I think you're seeing how legitimate the Giants are. Here they have to play Monday, five games, and in some cases the guy that pitched Game 1 pitched Game 5 and you can't use him till Game 3 and that should be a disadvantage. But they have Rueter and Schmidt and now they have Ortiz and Hernandez. I remember when he first came into the League, he was a good-looking young pitcher who pitched better than his experience. There was composure stuff, and every year he's gotten better. I know he's gotten better as the season has worn on. For an offense trying to get runs on the board, he's definitely a challenge.

Q. With Chuck being a veteran guy, has he provided some of that leadership that you lost with Kile, or is he just a different personality?

TONY LA RUSSA: Difference is when you get a guy the last two months of the year, as opposed to Darryl was a fixture on this club going on his third year. When you join in August like he did, it's not comfortable for a guy to walk in and right away start asserting himself. So Chuck came in and just little bit by little bit moved his way in. But there's a different kind of leadership. Darryl knew more guys, was more expressive. But Chuck has been an outstanding contribution, and I'm sure if it would work out that he's with us next year, he would feel more comfortable and would assert himself even more.

Q. When you found out that Chuck was going to be available from the Indians, how high was he on your radar screen and how much did you want him?

TONY LA RUSSA: I remember we had been focusing on improving our rotation from early on, so as we got close on anybody, Chad Blair put together a tape and Dave would look at it, Marty would look at it, I would check it out once in awhile and Walt looked at it. He became one of the guys that if we really thought we could acquire him, would help us. Then as we got on, pitching problems became even more important. We got him, we needed him, we could have used him before. We liked what we saw. We had known him a little bit from the past, saw that he was healthy, and he's really been good for us.

Q. Is there any update on Scott Rolen's shoulder today?

TONY LA RUSSA: Yesterday he had an extensive day of work, whether it was treatment or he did some work in the indoor cage, he really pushed it. So the training staff believed that today should be a day that he backed off a lot of the work and just got treatment. So I think tomorrow will be a good day to see. A lot of work, a little treatment, a little rest, see how he feels tomorrow. He won't be in the starting lineup. The comment I made before and I'll stand behind it, the day you see him taking ground balls on the field and swinging, that's when it's legitimate to ask if he's available, late in the game or might he start. But until you see him out there, he's not close.

End of FastScripts�.

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