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October 9, 2001

Tino Martinez


Q. How important is it to start off on the right foot here at home?

TINO MARTINEZ: I think it's very important. In the past five years of our post-seasons we have always talked about the first games of each series as the most important. We have won them, and lost them as well so we know how to react and come back after a loss and we know how to build on a win, but the first few games of a five-game series are the most important. You want to try to get it started with a win.

Q. Do you sense there will be a difference in the atmosphere in the wake of the global situation?

TINO MARTINEZ: I don't think so. I think the Yankee fans are Yankee fans, and when post-season comes around, even regular season, they are going to be loud and into it, fired up, and I don't see them any different. I think there will obviously be some emotional times here and there may be when God Bless America is played in the seventh inning or pregame activities, but when we are trying to win the game, get outs, get base hits, Yankee fans will be Yankee fans.

Q. How impressed are you with Zito, Mulder and Hudson?

TINO MARTINEZ: Obviously, they are obviously they are all three great pitchers, young, and they have all developed very well over the last year. I think Zito and Hudson had good years last year and Mulder this year came into his own and showed us what he can do. It's one game at a time. We have to take each pitcher one game at a time and make them work and try to get runners on base and make things happen. This will be a tough series, but we are up for the challenge.

Q. There has been talk about the fact that there are several free agents and maybe not all of those guys will be back next season; you are one of those. Is there any thought that this may be the last time around for this particular core group?

TINO MARTINEZ: It could be, but that's not our thought process. By we are thinking about Oakland and Mulder tomorrow, to go out and win this championship one game at a time and that's your total thought process, at least it's mine. Being last year of contract, I'm not really thinking about where I'll be next year. I'm focusing on trying to help us win this post-season and when it is all said and done, it may or may not be last time around for all of us, we don't know.

Q. There's been a lot of talk about the great pitching staff Oakland has and their on-base percentage, but you guys have won three in a row for a reason, do you get the sense that that's being a little lost in all this?

TINO MARTINEZ: I don't think it's lost. I think obviously Seattle and Oakland, even Cleveland, they have all this great years. You know, we won three in a row. We just try to go about our business in post-season one game at a time, whether we are favored or not. Last year, I think we won the least amount of games of all the post-season teams and still won. Everybody has had great seasons this year, but when the post-season starts, it's one game at a time. Our goal right now is to try to beat Oakland in five games and not really have to worry about beating them over a period of six months.

Q. Is there a difference in the way the team views Oakland this from last year? Last year they were more of upstarts; can you talk about the difference from how you view them this year compared to last year?

TINO MARTINEZ: I think they are pretty similar. They have great hitting. All of their people hit home runs. They are patient at the plate. But I think this year, with the addition of Mulder's season, they are that much stronger. Last year they relied mainly on Hudson and Zito. Having three strong guys this year has definitely picked them up throughout the regular season. That's the only difference. I think they are just as strong this year as last year.

Q. Can you compare this Oakland team to some of the better teams you've played in the post-season over the last five years?

TINO MARTINEZ: I would say probably to the Cleveland Indians, as far as solid pitching and a lineup, like I said where anybody can go deep, hit home runs and try to hit the ball out of the park. Like the Indians around '95, '96; strong lineups, good pitching, is probably the most comparison you could make, I guess.

Q. You mentioned Mulder. Can you describe him specifically. You're going to have a will you pleased of left-handed bats in the lineup against a lefty. What is the challenge there for you, O'Neill and Justice?

TINO MARTINEZ: He's obviously stuff, but there's no special challenge. We're going to go up there and try to hit according to the situation. If we have a man on second and third -- you have to play according to the situation, if you have to get a guy over, whatever you've got to do. Just try to be patient, get a pitch and drive it. There's really no secret, just try to be patient against everybody, try to get a good pitch to hit and make him throw strikes.

Q. How different how do you feel about your club going into the playoffs this year versus last year?

TINO MARTINEZ: I thought last year we struggled down the stretch, but coming into the post-season we were healthy, so we felt good about that. Once the post-season started and we got a couple wins going, we felt like we were a great team again, and this year, the same way. I think everybody is healthy. We're playing good ball in September, but the starting pitching is healthy. The regular guys, O'Neill I think is pretty healthy, and that's all you can ask for coming into the post-season. That gives you a lot of confidence and gives you a chance to go out and play your best.

End of FastScripts....

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