October 10, 2001
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: Game One
Q. How is Roger doing?
JOE TORRE: We hope he's going to be all right. He felt a little tightness in his hamstring when he went over to get Damon's ball, that one that he fumbled around with. Hopefully we'll get a chance to find out.
Q. Was it bothering him before that?
JOE TORRE: Not to my knowledge.
Q. I know so soon after the game you might not have thought about it, but is there anything you saw out of Justice or O'Neill that will make you rethink your line-up?
JOE TORRE: No. I expect both of them to play.
Q. How big was the Giambi home run?
JOE TORRE: Well, he usually hits big home runs. Long and big. Yeah, that was tough. We cut the lead in half -- you know, something like that especially in a short series, just turns the momentum. You know, it hurt. We kept battling back. Tino's home run got us to where we only needed one man on base. But, you know, unless you can pitch effectively, those are the types of things they are going to do to you. They are going to hit home runs and that's the thing we have to -- or we need to stay away from.
Q. What did you think of Mulder's performance?
JOE TORRE: Well, he didn't surprise us. He had a hell of a game against us in Oakland earlier this year. He has good stuff, good presence on the mound, and, you know, he has a variety of ways he can go. We know coming in that their pitching is going to be tough and that's why we need to match them. Tonight, we were not able to do that.
Q. Could you give us your take on Soriano getting caught stealing at third, and then Justice's play at first?
JOE TORRE: I thought -- that's fine. He's aggressive and I have no problem with him trying to steal third base. It looked like the tag was high, but again I'm a long way ago. I have a habit of seeing those things a little bit better than close-up, anyway. As far as first base, that's the only thing that upset me at first base. Dana said it was his call, and to me, it looked like that Justice had already reached the bag and it didn't matter if he was in the line or not, because you have to get back over on that side to touch the bag. He told me I had a good point, but it didn't do me any good. He said it was his call and he wouldn't ask for help as far as where Justice was, you know, when the ball hit him. He just said he wasn't within the lines he was supposed to be when the ball was thrown. And it looked like Ramon basically had the only play was to hit him with the ball, that's the way it looked like to me when he underhanded it.
Q. How did you feel about Soriano's performance on the whole?
JOE TORRE: Well, someone asked me earlier, how was he going to react and I said I think he'd be fine. I mean, just watching him all year and knowing how well he handled criticism and bad games, and tonight was no different. It was just like a game in May for him. I was very impressed with his presence out there tonight.
Q. You get to the seventh, down one run; can you explain why you stuck with Hitchcock in the seventh and then the eighth?
JOE TORRE: Normally our starter is in the seventh; we had to take him out. But he had pitched well in the fifth and sixth. That's basically why. If he was a short reliever, that's different. But he's our long guy and I had no problems with him pitching.
Q. When did you know that Clemens was hurt?
JOE TORRE: Well, we got him out because Roger said he had felt a little tightness, and then when he went over for that ball from Damon, you know, that was basically the thing; he said he wanted to try it, but I could see the first hitter, you know, he just wasn't able to get over the ball.
Q. At what point did Roger say he was feeling tightness, what point?
JOE TORRE: Well, when he came in after the inning when he tried to make that play. Mel came out and told me and he said, "Roger said he felt something when he went over to field the ball and maybe we should have somebody get up when he goes out." I said, "Well, let's get him up now." Knowing Hitchcock was a starter, we wanted to give him time.
Q. How did you feel about his ability to keep the team in the game?
JOE TORRE: Well, that's Roger. You know, Roger, we're used to seeing dynamite stuff. Tonight, it doesn't look like he had great command, but he's going to battle you. He hasn't pitched this long this effectively, bailing out on you. He's going to battle your tail, and unfortunately, we just could not keep the score close.
Q. Could you talk about Damon in the first inning, setting the tone?
JOE TORRE: The leadoff man, you want to keep him off base because he can do things like that. Johnny Damon is a good player and he was a good player over there at Kansas City, and you want to keep the speed off the bases, because he has terrific speed, base-stealing ability, and they put the pressure on us right away and were able to push the first run across. If we are going to play these guys, we are going to have to pitch equal to them and today we fell a little short.
Q. How disconcerting is it to have Roger's status uncertain?
JOE TORRE: It's no question, it's a concern, but when you play these games, things happen, and you hope that good things happen, but sometimes there's a physical concern. I know when I went out to Roger, he didn't necessarily want to come out of the game; he said he just felt it in there and I said, "There's no reason trying to hurt your arm here, so give me the ball." No question, Roger has been our leader all year long on this pitching staff, and we had high hopes for this first game, but we're just going to have to dig down and even it up tomorrow.
End of FastScripts....