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October 4, 2002

Joe Torre


MODERATOR: Questions for Joe Torre, please.

Q. Joe, the David Wells who came back, was he the same pitcher that you saw the first time around, or has he changed at all?

JOE TORRE: Yeah, he's a little older. But not knowing after the back surgery what he was going to be like, to see him in spring training throwing the ball the way he did, then he benefitted a lot from a lot of run support early on, he won some ball games. Then it was touch-and-go because he had some back stiffness and stuff. But it was a game in Seattle, in August, when he made some adjustments with Mel Stottlemyre on his delivery. Since then, he's been very consistent, very good, economic pitch-wise. As far as I'm concerned, right now, he's the same pitcher we had last time.

Q. David Wells has this rep as a big-game pitcher. What exactly is it about him that makes him the big-game pitcher? What sort of differentiates him from the rest of the crowd?

JOE TORRE: Well, I think he likes to be challenged. When you, you know, you dare him to do something or you tell him, "You're a little too heavy, David, I think you should lose some weight," he's going to show me he can pitch at that weight. He's his own person. I can't say he has his own fear, but he has a great deal of confidence. He dares people, I think that's evidenced by the fact that he throws so many strikes. He dares you to hit him. I think that's important. He doesn't try to play around with picking corners and stuff like that. He goes after you and throws you strike one. I think that's just -- that just tells you about his confidence level. So I think he does a lot of challenging in the strike zone. That's what makes him successful. Plus, I think it sort of puts the hitter at a defensive a little bit.

Q. The last time the Angels were in the playoffs in '86, you were an Angel TV broadcaster. What do you remember about that year, that team, that job?

JOE TORRE: I was fortunate. Not my one thrill, I enjoyed being here. I enjoyed -- Gene Autry was a wonderful person. I enjoyed being around him. Probably one of my big thrills that year, as a broadcaster, you don't get a chance to win or lose because you're a broadcaster. But being in the clubhouse when they clinched, and to interview him and Gene Mauch, two guys that, you know, I'm sorry that '86 happened the way it did for that reason. They're so dedicated, such good people, that, you know, stood out as one of my fond memories. Of course the sad part was I was in Chicago for Game 5, I guess it was, against the Red Sox. I was just sorry to see it. But I enjoyed my six years here. I'll tell you a funny, quick story. Gene Mauch, Gene Autry had that sense of humor where you didn't know he was serious or kidding around. We were sitting in the dugout one time, Gene Mauch, The Cowboy, myself, a couple other people, we were talking about catching. And Gene Autry just sort of looks out there and he says, "You know, these catchers aren't the same as they used to be with you and Hartnett and Dicky," I sort of looked at him. He had this little smile on his face as if to say, "I got you." I thought, "This guy's old, but he's not that old that he's going to start losing his senses." He was just playing with me a little bit. He was a great friend. As I say, I'm sure he's looking down, enjoying this right now.

Q. You said that Rondell's available as a pinch-hitter. Are you comfortable using him right now?

JOE TORRE: I am. Again, postseason, if it's two weeks ago, I'm going to say, "No, we got to be careful. Let's not push the envelope." But this is what you push the envelope to save people for, the postseason. If something happens physically, as long as it's not career-ending or endangering. You know, maybe, even by tomorrow or if we're fortunate -- tomorrow or Sunday or if we're fortunate enough to go beyond here, he will probably be okay to DH. But right now, I'm still comfortable only pinch-hitting him and probably will have to run for him, too.

Q. You're using a four-man rotation obviously in the Division Series. What do you feel the advantage is that way, as opposed to three?

JOE TORRE: Not losing sleep for a manager trying to figure out should I or shouldn't I? I've done it both ways, when you make a decision on using somebody on three days', then if you have an advantage in the series, "Should we wait and give him the extra day?" Having the

four - actually, five guys we have - we're using four, you don't have to make that decision. That's a decision you can live with all winter and second-guess yourself. We were fortunate a couple years ago, I pitched both Clemens and Pettitte on three days' rest and either time it worked out for us. The ability to have four quality guys like we have, who have postseason experience, has really been a benefit as far as not having to make too many adjustments.

Q. How's Soriano? Any tightness, stiffness?

JOE TORRE: He's probably sore, but I think fortunate, again, it's on the left side, not the right side, where it would affect his throwing. But he took batting practice yesterday. He didn't seem to be bothered by it. You know he feels it, Percy throws the ball pretty good. I think he's full tilt right now.

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