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October 12, 2002

Tony La Russa


Q. What's the daily Scott Rolen report?

TONY LA RUSSA: He's going to have an indoor workout; push it as much as he can and see how he comes out of it later today and tomorrow. I'm trying to mess with Dusty, make him think he's available. But that's just a joke. He could pinch-run today if we needed him, but other than that he's not available.

Q. Is that something you would actually do if you needed a guy to score, could he run without fear of being hurt?

TONY LA RUSSA: Oh, I think to win a game, if Matheny is the runner, maybe he's on third, you know, yeah, I'd run Scott. He'll get there quicker. If it's a tough play at the plate, just remind him, "hey, you have to get there sooner and if you have to slide, just take the tag and you're out."

Q. Have you seen any difference in Andy Benes since he came back?

TONY LA RUSSA: I think his pride is back. He's had a really good career. He's proud of taking the ball and giving his club a chance to win. I think the last couple of years, because of the knee, it was tough for him to compete and I think he was frustrated by it, embarrassed by it. At the beginning of the year he got beat up a couple of times and he was low. And unbelievably, he put it back together and I think he feels like a teammate and a contributor, and I think he's just got his pride back.

Q. How important is it to get Vina going for your offense?

TONY LA RUSSA: Well, there's two ways to answer that question. We could get Vina out there for us and get beat because nobody else gets going. And Vina could go 0-for-4 and we could score ten runs because of the other guys. He's a key part of this club for a lot of runs. When clubs score runs, it's because you have a bunch of guys -- I go back to the first game the Giants played. It's hard to remember, there was so many that played that didn't do something productive offensively, and that's the way you have to win. So it's more than just Fernando. He doesn't need that pressure.

Q. Andy Benes said that when he was contemplating not coming back, Walt called him and started the wheels in motion. Did you make any movements toward Andy to call him?

TONY LA RUSSA: Big point made again at that time was the same one during the winter when he was talking about that he was going to get himself in great shape. I said, look, there's nothing determined about our rotation. I said it again in spring training to him and the other guys; you pick the five best guys. So when he was talking about going back to Memphis, I said, look, as long as you're one of the five best, I'll give you the ball. There's no promises to anybody that excludes anybody else. I think that was an important reminder. And the second thing was, you know, he had to know that we believed he had a chance. But you can't make promises to anybody and we didn't make promises to him. But at least he knew the same clear slate. If he was one of our five best pitchers, he's going to take the ball in the rotation. And we would not have finished first without him. And Jason Simontacchi is very similar; both guys really picked us up at critical times.

End of FastScripts...

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