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October 3, 2002

Luis Gonzalez


KATY FEENEY: Questions for Luis Gonzalez.

Q. Did you get any immediate relief from the surgery? Do you think you'll be a hundred percent for spring training?

LUIS GONZALEZ: I feel a lot better right now. Obviously, just the soreness and the stiffness that I've had the last couple days. You know, like I said before I had the surgery, the mental part of it is the biggest obstacle as an athlete that you have to get over, and I had already come to the decision that I wanted the surgery done as soon as possible, to get it done, to get back out on the field. I think the hardest thing for me has been the last couple days. Tuesday I was in no condition to come to the ballpark after having surgery on Monday. Sitting at home watching the game, I think that's been the toughest part of being away from these guys. I'll be ready to go for spring training.

Q. What is your rehab schedule?

LUIS GONZALEZ: I'd like to take this thing off right now, to be honest with you. As far as what Dr. Lee has told me, I'm going to have to wear this sling for about two or three weeks, then I will start it on extensive rehab. My wife and my family have already given me the green light, 9 to 5, whatever I have to do to be ready to go. I think that's one of the biggest obstacles about being a baseball player, is that when you have, you know, a wife or a family that understands this is what you do for a living. She is more than willing to take a little bit more of the load at home with the kids to let me get back out on the field and do what I love to do.

Q. What is your schedule today? Are you on the bench? Watching in the clubhouse?

LUIS GONZALEZ: I'm here to be on the bench. I mean, it took me a good half an hour to get dressed today. I'm going to try to get dressed as quick as I can to be out on the bench. But I've been with these guys for four years. It's not very easy getting to the playoffs. Even though it's very difficult for me not to be out on the field, I want to be a part of it. I'm going to be out there with the guys. I'm not going to be traveling with them to St. Louis because I've been having some restless nights sleeping with this thing on, just some pain medication and things like that. I think it's going to be a little bit difficult for me to get on an airplane and travel to St. Louis. But hopefully we can get by this first round and I'll be able to be with the ballclub the rest of the way.

Q. You'll watch the games on TV over the weekend?

LUIS GONZALEZ: Yeah. And I don't think anybody wants to sit with me watching the ballgame (laughter). Especially the first game the other day, it didn't turn out the way I was expecting. But, you know, that's baseball. That's why you play a five-game set. Today we have one of the guys who looks forward to the spotlight all the time. There's no better guy than Curt Schilling to go in there and take the mound for us today.

Q. Do you and Tino joke at all it was his ball you got hurt on?

LUIS GONZALEZ: I joked around with him the day it happened. I told him, "Don't be afraid to pull the ball." It's one of those things. I know he felt terrible about it. I think the most comforting part about playing is after it happened, I had to go down for x-rays on their side of the field, over by their dugout. It makes you feel good as a player and as a person when you see a lot of their players coming down there, just checking on you. One of the first calls that I received actually in the hospital, it was from Tony LaRussa. That meant a lot to me because, you know, here is a guy our ballclub is competing against, he took a couple minutes out of his busy schedule to give me a call just to see how I was doing, just to let me know that it's not the same without me being on the field competing against those guys. That makes you feel good.

Q. What have been some of the toughest problems about being a one-armed guy?

LUIS GONZALEZ: I'm primarily left-handed. I'm learning how to use my right hand. I'm using this rehab as a positive because I think it's going to make me stronger on both sides. Now when I go in for rehab, I'm obviously going to have to work on my left shoulder. But I'm going to strengthen my right shoulder. Hopefully I'll be a lot stronger for next season. You know, I always think when something happens, it happens for a reason. I think it's going to help me work harder in the off-season. I've always been one guy who trains real hard in the off-season with a personal trainer. I've learned that the last three or four years with my numbers getting better every year. I think it's not going to be any different now except for the fact that it's an injury that I have to try to overcome and try to get ready to go for spring training.

Q. What is your take on this team's chances to repeat without you, without Craig, without the other guys?

LUIS GONZALEZ: I think they went 7-1 without me one time. You know what, this team, our Diamondback team is a very unique bunch of guys. It always seems like when everybody is counting this club out, when we don't play well, it's almost like a challenge to our team, and everybody seems to step up and play better. You know, I'm hoping today that Curt steps it up, some of the other guys offensively, and we score some runs. The other day the blow-out game, you have to give the Cardinals credit, those guys are a good offensive club. They've had to overcome a lot of obstacles this year with Buck and Kile, a lot of different things, even losing McGwire earlier in the season. You know, they have to take some credit, too. But our ballclub is ready and up for the challenge. Hopefully today will be a different scenario.

Q. Would you describe the range of emotions you went through watching Tuesday night's game?

LUIS GONZALEZ: Oh, man, it was very much of a roller-coaster ride for me. The first couple innings were good, then it got ugly in a hurry. You know, I think the tough part for me is sitting there, you know, not being in the dugout, not being around the guys, knowing what everybody in there is thinking. I've been around these guys for four years. I think they know me, and I know every one of those guys, what goes through their minds, different things like that, each player in a different scenario. That's what's been the toughest part because I know that each guy in there is pulling for each other. You know, it was comfortable for me to walk in the locker room today and all the guys come up to me. It hurts that I'm not able to do anything to help the club or just to be out there. But I'm pulling for those guys, and they know it. Hopefully our fans will be out there today. Hopefully we'll come up with a win this afternoon.

KATY FEENEY: Thank you.

End of FastScripts�.

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