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October 30, 2001

Joe Torre


Q. Joe, what has Mariano Rivera been doing to stay sharp?

JOE TORRE: He just does his normal throwing. He throws every day. He plays catch every day. Just throwing, basically. He follows the same routine.

Q. Can you talk about putting O'Neill back in the lineup and what it means to have him there and also batting him three, the reason behind that?

JOE TORRE: That's where he normally hits for us. And the fact that he's hitting there tonight, he's had some success against Anderson. And when you look to split up the left-handers. It was a matter of either hitting him third or now maybe sixth or seventh and I decided to keep him up at the top of the batting order. It's nice to have him in there. He seems to function better there as opposed to when he is DHing. He's such an intense competitor, he really has trouble between at-bats when he is just DHing. That's why I put the lineup together the way I did.

Q. Talk about El Duque's season.

JOE TORRE: Yeah, a strange year because he was physically handicapped all year. Spring training he was throwing the ball real well in a game in St. Pete and all of a sudden his elbow flared up a little bit. Then he tried to pitch with the second toe on the left foot giving him problems, that was his landing foot and he tried to make adjustments and really wound up, you know, not pitching well until we just decided, or he actually had to give the okay to have the surgery done, as opposed to trying to fix it and do the best that you can. It was a strange year in the fact that he did not pitch a whole lot and when he did pitch he really was not healthy. I think since he has come back, aside from the first start, I think it was in Texas, I think he has pitched well. We had to take him out of one game where we felt his arm was a little weary and it was probably just because it was not totally in shape yet, but as far as pitching in a game such as the World Series, I mean, he's done this and he's done it very effectively. He's been a Game 1 starter for us a number of times. I think the only problem that he would have is, you know, he has such good control that sometimes, you know he wants to find out where the strike zone is and I think that's what gets him in trouble sometimes, early, pitch-count wise.

Q. If things don't go well tonight, will you come back with Mussina tomorrow night?

JOE TORRE: No, it will be El Duque. Once you start doing that, it's sort of a domino effect. You have to start doing everybody the same way. As I said, I have confidence in him. He is healthy. Because that's the only hesitation, is if he was not healthy. As long as he's healthy, he's going to pitch.

Q. Using Spencer, was that a late decision today or something you planned on all along against Anderson?

JOE TORRE: I was thinking about it. I thought that, you know, it's tough to find someone who had good at-bats against Randy Johnson the other night. I liked the way he stood up there. It looked like he was free and easy, and I just decided to do that tonight. It really was not a late decision. I thought about it yesterday. Probably settled on it yesterday.

Q. Could you talk about reinserting Chuck as an every day player for the playoffs, and talk a little about his World Series performance so far?

JOE TORRE: Well, I think he's -- well, none of us offensively, have done anything World Series-wise, the first couple of games. But Knoblauch, to me, makes us a better club because he is a legitimate lead-off hitter. He's been effective for us when he's been able to, you know, get on base. The first two games were a little bit different because we really haven't done anything against either one of their top two guys, but I feel better with him in the lead-off spot. Tonight he is DHing just because -- I used Spencer as the late replacement defensively and so in order to still be able to do that I had to keep him in the lineup. Knobby, I never entertain anybody else as far as playing because I just feel that we are a better club when he is at the top of the batting order.

Q. Clearly you have your own issues to be concerned about but could you touch on what Bob Brenly might be considering, bring Schilling back on three days' rest? What is your theory on that?

JOE TORRE: You know, it's tough to say. Because I think it all depends on the pitcher. Last year we tried it with Pettitte, tried it with Clemens and it did not work either time. That does not mean some other pitcher could not do it. Bob Gibson was sitting in my office earlier and he pitched every two days. The thing about it is the individual. I know you can see stats up there, how much success that people have had, but Bob Brenly knows his pitchers better than I do. For sure, if he decides to pitch Curt on three days' rest, I think he understands the circumstances and is confident enough to do that. As far as what we've done here in the last year, we haven't had a lot of success doing it and we really don't have to do it because, you know, I have all four guys that have pitched Game 1 at one time or another, so I don't.

Q. You mentioned yesterday that Jeter is not 100%?

JOE TORRE: I'm guessing he is not 100%.

Q. Do you think he hurt himself in the spill in Game 5 in the ALDS and do you think his 2-for-24 is the result of nagging injuries or just a cold spell?

JOE TORRE: Well, first of all, he's not going to use that and I'm not about to use it for him; that the reason he's two for whatever it is, is because he's hurting. That doesn't enter into it. You manage to do things in post-season when you are not one hundred percent. Look at what Kirk Gibson did he hit a home run and he could not walk. There's a lot of emotion that goes on here. Just because he's 2-for-25 does not mean the reason he is 2-for-25 is he's hurt. The reason he's 2-for-25 is Schilling and Randy Johnson, in this case. He started the season on the disabled list. Looked like midway through the year he got as healthy as he's been all year, and then the fact that you play every day. Cal Ripken has shown us all that you are not necessarily 100% or need to be 100% to perform at a top level.

Q. When people talk about El Duque as a big-game pitcher, they go back initially to the game against Cleveland in the playoffs in '98, anything in particular that stands out about that night?

JOE TORRE: That night especially in his case, he had not pitched in two weeks and I had no idea what to expect. Initially we had gone through the first round of playoffs and then we won one, two, three and so he was the fourth starter; he was left out. I'm not sure he was anticipating pitching Game 1 the next series because we started with the same people. He had to go through, I think it was about 14 days or 12 days without pitching. But he went out there and attacked, basically. He was a very aggressive pitcher, which we need for him to do tomorrow night, too.

Q. I was wondering, like everyone else today in the room were you subjected to a wand search by the Secret Service and what are your thoughts about the world we live in where the manager of the home team of the World Series has to be frisked?

JOE TORRE: I insist on that. I think it's important, if you ask me the question, am I checked also, I have to say yes, I think it's the right thing. I think we all have to have patience with what's going on in the world today. We certainly want the world to be a safe place to live. I think we have been spoiled that we have been free to go here and there and do whatever we darned please. But with the recent horrific attacks of a month-and-a-half ago, I think we understand that life is a little bit different and may never be the same again. I think it's important that we all understand that and that we stay vigilant. I think that's the most important thing right now. It is still recent in our memories, but I think it's important that we understand that we may have to endure this for a while.

Q. In light of the events of September 11th, a lot has been said that the Yankees are not just playing for themselves, the franchise and the fans; they are also playing for the city and possibly the country as a whole. Do you feel that is true and is that adding any extra pressure to you?

JOE TORRE: Well, I have a tough boss. We have a lot of pressure. (Laughter.) But I think it's unfair to say that that's what motivated us. We won three World Series in a row and we are pretty well motivated. However, I think it certainly adds to the fact that 0-for-4 doesn't mean anything, 0-for-2 in the World Series doesn't mean anything when you compare it to what's gone on here. We certainly feel that "NY" on our caps represents more than just baseball fans. It represents the city and the workers who have given of themselves and their lives to try to save people. So I think what the motivation is, from what's gone on here, is the fact that I think we learned to dig down deeper and focus longer and keep -- just try to keep the edge because we do feel a responsibility to play for these people.

Q. In the 15 post-season series you've had in the last five years, have you ever faced a decision like the one Brenly may have of bringing somebody back on less than usual rest? What is your thinking generally?

JOE TORRE: We've done it. We did it last year with Clemens and Pettitte in the Division Series, and neither one of them got through the fifth inning. But again, when you set up your pitching, you know the people you want on the mound at certain times. Bobby, for sure, has a plan. It's not an easy decision, for sure, because you may be good with three days' rest but you may be better with four days rest. But again, there's so much emotion involved with what goes on in the post-season that being tired isn't something that normally gets people in the post-season because you really are going on adrenaline. As I say, most recently last year, for me and it did not work out for us, but every individual is just that, an individual and they all react and respond differently.

Q. You came from the generation where guys usually pitched on three days, why can't they anymore?

JOE TORRE: Right. And Bob Gibson, Lew Burdette pitched on two days in Game 7 of the World Series in 1957. But we are counting pitches now. We are in the Minor Leagues and we don't allow our youngsters -- I'm not saying this is right or wrong, I really don't. But don't think I don't hear from Zimmer on this stuff, he's a throwback -- "Oh, you've got to throw," but whatever. That's what we are conditioned to do now. Now you hit 110, 115 pitches and you go, wow, we are getting in that area where the normal, the average game as recent as maybe 10, 15 years ago was like 128, 130 pitches in the game. So I think it's just what we are keeping an eye on the pitches because the bullpen has become so much more of a part of the game and we really don't understand our pitchers that much. When you look back, I mean, Cubs did it during the 60s, I guess, and the 70s and they seem to run into problems in September. Is that the short rest or was that all-day games? I don't know what the answer would be there because you could pick one or the other.

End of FastScripts....

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