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October 28, 2001

Joe Torre


Q. Any concerns about Roger's health for Game 3?

JOE TORRE: No. You know, if there was a concern, we probably would have started him in Game 4, knowing that the extra day would have helped him and we would have looked for him one time. But Roger feels better than the last two, and Mel, he feels strongly enough that we pitched him in Game 3 that, you know, if need be, he would be available in Game 7. So just the fact that we pitched him in Game 3 is an indication that he is feeling better.

Q. Is your team as matter of fact about last night's loss as they appear?

JOE TORRE: Well, I think we have to be. We understand that whether it was a win or a loss yesterday, we can't do anything about it anymore. We're not happy about it, but we understand that you can only play the game the day of the game. We have been pretty good. We have been pretty resilient as far as bouncing back from bad things happening, and I think that's the area where if there is an advantage to having experience, I think this is the area that you need your experience to keep you from dwelling on the negative stuff and do the best you can the day you play. Yeah, they are matter of fact -- they are a little antsy because they lost. They don't like to lose, nobody likes to lose, and you know, they want to get back on the field and play baseball. But yesterday didn't do anything to their confidence.

Q. For those of us who have not been to Yankee Stadium yet, can you give us an idea what it's going to be like there on Tuesday night, the emotion, the World Series?

JOE TORRE: Yogi Berra warned me about Yankee Stadium, he said, "You'll never feel anything like the way you feel when you get introduced the first day of a World Series. And you go out there and stand on the baseline." It's pretty incredible. Yankee Stadium, the configuration of the ballpark where everybody is pretty much on top of you, you just feel it. And the energy, especially the last three games we have played there have been incredible, really have. It's a special place and I think if you allow yourself to think back about all of the people that have played in that ballpark, you know, it's a shrine, there's no question. But the fans are going to be very, very animated, very loud. I thought Ichiro had the great quote. He says, "I like playing in Yankee Stadium because they don't throw anything. All they do is say, You Suck." But he did it in a nice way because the fans, they want to win, they appreciate good baseball on both sides and they will let you know that.

Q. Can you talk about Scott Brosius and how he is able to elevate his game at this time of year?

JOE TORRE: It is interesting. No question. You go back to the World Series in '98, he came up big with a home run for us, I think it was in Game 3. He has hit home runs in big games during the course of the year. His batting average may not indicate that, but when I looked up on the scoreboard last night and I saw his World Series batting average, that's pretty incredible, .389, whatever the heck it is. There's something about Scotty that he just seems to, you know, I don't want to say lock in, but it just -- you know he has a good feeling about himself, I guess it is. And again, he gets pitches to hit and he doesn't miss them. I'm very proud of this whole group because even Bernie, I mean, Bernie's numbers may not be what his ability indicates it should be in World Series, but the number of hits he gets are very -- the ones he does get are very important or he might do something else. We have a group -- again we have clutch players but again we don't count on any one guy or two guys to make things happen. We rely on our pitching a great deal. That's why last night was not a pretty thing. But overall, we feel that we're all capable of chipping in and doing something good.

Q. Would you tell us what you did with your lineup, any changes that you made and why?

JOE TORRE: Well, why is Randy Johnson. I put Velarde at first base and he will bat second behind Knoblauch. Jeter will bat third. He has done that a dozen times, maybe, this year, maybe more, when I've taken certain people out of the lineup. Bernie will bat fourth, Posada fifth, Spencer will play right field, hit sixth. Soriano, before Brosius. And Randy Johnson is one of those picture pitchers that will alter the lineup for the opposition, there's no question about it. Again, I think what we are giving, probably, is some of the defensive stuff that Tino does at first base, and Velarde has not played a lot of first base. He played against us when he was at Texas. He's played a couple of games over there for us. With the numbers he has put up against right-handers, he's hitting .450 or .460, it just makes me curious; the numbers are too impressive to ignore at this point in time, so that's why he's in the lineup over there.

Q. Did you agonize over that decision, maybe think about it a little bit more because of the defense?

JOE TORRE: I think that's why I put it off as long as I did. I did tell him after the game last night, you know, I'm comfortable and confident that he can catch the ball. He has good hands and he's been a middle infielder, so I'm not concerned about that part of it. But again Tino is extraordinary. I could have gone with Sojo over there who has good hands, but I think his right-handed numbers helped me make that decision. If we get a lead or he's out of the game, I'll switch back Tino as soon as I can for that reason.

Q. Jeter really has not swung the bat well since the Division Series, is he feeling all right? Are they pitching him tough in? Do you need him to get going in order to win?

JOE TORRE: I think at this time of year, pitching is always going to be the big thing. I know he's beat up a little bit, he's bounced all over the place, falling into the stands. I'm sure he's not 100%. I don't know if he's been 100% all year, to be honest with you. He started the season on the disabled list. I look for an impact offensively, defensively, last night he got hit by a pitch and scored the first one. He does things to help us win and the fact that he is not healthy that will be the last thing that he will not own up to. And I'm guessing because he will never even say to me -- I'll ask him a question and he'll say, "I'm all right, " and that will be the extent of it.

Q. Pitching guys on three days' rest seems to be a point of contention sometimes in the post-season, do you have a philosophy on that?

JOE TORRE: We tried it twice last year and it did not work for us. Not that it has not worked in the past. I go back to thinking about -- I'm dating myself, 1957 World Series when Lou Burdette tell pitched three times, the last time on two days' rest and pitched nine innings. It did not work with us last year with Clemens or Pettitte against Oakland. I'm not saying, if something happened that our Game 4 starter could not start, but I'm just throwing that out there. I mean, Mussina would go back and pitch, but we are not anticipating that. I just would rather give them the full rest because just the recent testing of our guys really has not worked well for us.

Q. Would you talk about your approach to Anderson on Tuesday and even though he's left-handed will you consider going back to your regular lineup, depending on where you stand?

JOE TORRE: Yeah, taking nothing away from Brian, he's not Randy Johnson as far as the intimidating type left-hander, because he does change speeds. He's more a little bit like Jamie Moyer type. O'Neill will be in the outfield and, you know, I have to figure out Justice, probably. It's nothing like my lineup tonight. I'm right now leaning towards playing the left-hander.

Q. Has Jorge changed your mind about what to expect out of a catcher, versus Girardi's defense?

JOE TORRE: More so the experience behind the plate, because pitching is such a big part of the game. The comfort zone for a pitcher with an experienced catcher is very important, and the one thing about Joe Girardi, aside from the fact how well he caught and called the ballgame during the whole time he was with us, he was teaching Jorge and that was the most important thing and then the time came when Jorge had to catch every day. I remember having him catch, I think it was Game 4 of the -- whatever year it was, '99 World Series, I think it was, where that was the first -- last game he was on the field and I felt it was important for him to be there. Jorge has come a long way defensively. He's had some lapses. He's had some bad games where balls have gotten away from him, but I have noticed that when we get to this time of year and, you know, when we need a well-pitched ballgame, he does not seem to stray at all. I think a lot of his distraction comes from the inexperience and one thing about it, when he relaxes a catcher like no other position, it shows up real quick.

Q. Having been in New York for so long do you remember having a bigger night of sports on Tuesday with Jordan returning to the Garden and Game 3 of the World Series?

JOE TORRE: Probably not. Michael Jordan, he's a thoroughbred. And we had the Belmont Stakes out there, and I remember the city when we were home. Michael Jordan, I think he's just flat out electric. It's going to be pretty exciting. You can just feel it with the City. There's so much to do in New York City, especially since the September 11 thing, it's nice to see people getting enthusiastic about the entertainment portion of what's going on there.

Q. You've had very few lopsided losses in the post-season since you've game here, Game 1 with the Braves in '96, the Pedro game in the ALCS and the game with Seattle last week, each time it seemed to wake your team up, can you take any comfort from that, that they have responded so well?

JOE TORRE: I sort of resent the wake up portion of it. You're only as good as your starting pitching and if you don't pitch well, it really doesn't look good. But we were certainly ready to play yesterday. I think if you say they were not ready to play then they are taking something away from the Diamondbacks. They just beat us, and we responded well because for the most part, we get good pitching and hopefully Andy can give us that tonight.

End of FastScripts....

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