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October 1, 2002

Joe Torre


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Joe Torre.

Q. I wanted to ask you about Willie Randolph, if you feel he would make a strong managerial candidate?

JOE TORRE: Yeah, I do. Again, I think just about everybody on my coaching staff would make a good manager. You know, I hire coaches. I don't want them just to say, "Yes." I get a lot of input from them. They've had a lot of experience. I certainly hope that, you know, some of my coaches do get that opportunity when the time comes.

Q. Could you just talk about your reaction to Bobby Valentine being fired. What is the pressure to be a manager in New York?

JOE TORRE: Well, it's the highs and the lows. I mean, the highs are very high, as we both experienced a couple years ago in the World Series. When things don't go well, you know, you get fired. I mean, we've both been fired by the Mets (laughter). It's something that, you know, when you don't win, that's what happens. You know that going in. But as I say, the opportunities and the excitement in New York are tremendous. Bobby's a good baseball man. He'll resurface somewhere, and I'm sure he'll do a good job.

Q. Can you describe why Andy is so successful, Andy Pettitte, at stopping opponents' running games and what the specific challenge with the Angels is in that regard.

JOE TORRE: Well, the Angels, they run. They don't necessarily have break-neck speed, even though they do have some people that can steal bases, but they're very aggressive. Andy, being left-handed and having one of the better moves for a left-hander, I think sort of makes them a little hesitant; at least I hope so. Andy, again, he mixes things up. He's not predictable. I think that's very important. The key to the whole thing is not having anybody on base. That would be ideal, but that doesn't always work out, especially in postseason play. Andy's a tough competitor; he taught me that back in '96. I've never forgotten the games he pitched in '96, especially after getting shelled the first game, coming back and pitching a tremendous Game 5.

Q. Both you and Scioscia are former catchers. Does being behind the plate give you a step up in terms of insight into game? Does it make a better manager?

JOE TORRE: I think you have to be aware of more things as a catcher. You're the only one, when you're looking at the field, you see everything right in front of you, you see it develop right in front of you. A catcher probably has more of a relationship with a manager because the pitching is such a big part of the game. Mike Scioscia came through the Dodger organization, which has always been known for pitching and, you know, fundamentally sound play. He certainly has taken that with him, you know, going to the Angels. So he, to me, catching, as I say, it's more than just playing a position; it's playing a game. I think that has a lot to do with why, you know, guys sort of, you know, have a feel for a lot of different aspects of the game.

Q. Your thoughts on Kevin Appier?

JOE TORRE: Kevin Appier's very tough. He's had some experience in the postseason. The fact that he really is -- he's a grinder, he doesn't really give in to a hitter at all, he stays down best he can, he mixes things up, he's a tough competitor. I've seen that for years. In Kansas City, he was over with the Mets, again with the Angels, he was with Oakland. We've run into him in a few different places, and he seems to surface on good teams, which gives you an idea of what people think of him. He's one of those guys that's reluctant to throw strikes, which makes it a little frustrating to hit against.

Q. You and Bobby have been fired by the Mets. Does that mean he has a future as a Yankees' manager?

JOE TORRE: You're asking the wrong person on that one (laughter).

Q. Scary short series. What is the worst temptation, to make something happen in a short series or be very defensive and careful?

JOE TORRE: Well, that's a good question. I think you certainly try to mind your Ps and Qs. In other words, you want to play fundamentally sound, yet you want to be aggressive. They say we have an advantage because, first of all, we're playing in Yankee Stadium, we have the experience of postseason play. But postseason play experience only gives you a benefit if you play well. So I think you certainly don't want to wait back and lay back and wait for something to happen just because supposedly you should win. You have to make sure that you -- I mean, you're aggressive, you stay on the balls of your feet, you do some things you need to do and not wait for things to happen. You have to make things happen.

Q. Analyze why Pettitte has been the pitcher he has been in the second half, was it strictly a health thing?

JOE TORRE: I think it's strictly a health thing. He didn't leave spring training. He was never really healthy. Took himself out of a game in Bradenton. The good part about it, he was always honest with us. Then when he finally got healthy, it probably took him about four starts to get to where his mental game started working. You know, he was a thrower more than a pitcher when he first came off the list. I think that's normal because I think everybody wants to test all the broken parts to see if they're working. But then once he got through the physical aspect of it, because he started, I mean, we didn't do him any favors. We started him first start back against the Mets. That's that fish bowl. Then I think he had to pitch in Colorado, which is no day at the beach either. Once he got through a couple more starts and realized he had to start pitching instead of throwing, he's probably gone out there with consistent stuff -- stuff consistently good more than anybody else. Not that he's won every game, but I think his stuff has been very consistent.

End of FastScripts�.

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