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October 14, 2001

Joe Torre


Q. Joe, we keep seeing these results. Does home field mean nothing until the playoffs at all?

JOE TORRE: You know, not like other sports, I don't believe. Normally if you're in postseason you have people that could finish games. And I think a big advantage of being home is if you don't necessarily have a closer you can go in there and shut down. And of course if you score a run in the bottom of the 9th, 10th, you win. I think teams are good, and I don't think it has maybe the advantages of other places. For sure, we'd rather be home. There's no question we enjoy Yankee Stadium. And we'd like to think it's an advantage for us, it's a special place, and sometimes it can be intimidating to the other team. But I think when you get to postseason it's not really that vital, I think.

Q. If we play a game tomorrow is Roger definitely starting?

JOE TORRE: Yes. He threw yesterday off the mound for about ten minutes or so, after long tossing, and this morning he was in early, and threw off the mound, and he's back to New York as we speak. He felt good today off the mound. So I feel good that he'll physically be able to do it tomorrow.

Q. Is Rivera available today, and if he goes an inning today and you win, would he be available tomorrow?

JOE TORRE: He's available every day. This is the time of year you hope that you have saved during the season for. You don't think about being tired now, you just run it until it's over with, one way or the other. Mo will be out there if we need him today, and tomorrow if we need him.

Q. Given Mike Mussina's performance yesterday, and Roger's problems, do you second guess yourself at all on Game 1?

JOE TORRE: No, not at all. We basically wanted Mussina to pitch out here. He has pitched well. Last time he was here he didn't win the ballgame, didn't lose the ballgame, didn't pitch in the stretch the whole ballgame. He gave up 2 homeruns, but he's had success out here. But Game 3 to me is probably more important than Game 1 because it can change, especially in a short series. But even in the World Series, and I did it with David Cone in '96. It's an important game. No, I don't second guess myself. We had the plan ahead of time and we felt looking at match-ups, looking at where guys had the most success, we decided to go that way.

Q. How would you categorize Roger's condition right now? Is he about 70 percent or are there any concerns?

JOE TORRE: You know, I don't know that. I think we'll have to find that out. Sure he's probably not as good as if it never happened. But the thing is if we get to tomorrow, we'll have plenty of support for him. But I'd say probably in the area of 70, 80 percent, that may be a good guess, but again it's a complete guess.

Q. Joe, is this pretty much what we can expect the line-up to go, lefty, righty, what we've seen the last two games?

JOE TORRE: Probably. The only switch I made here from the game the other day was that I flip-flopped Justice and Paul O'Neill. He may have a higher ceiling physically, Paul is coming back from the stress fracture in his foot, and we'll see. Again, I write the line-up down, and when I do it I continue to have the confidence that we're going to break out, and I feel the same about today. And again, we still need to pitch effectively. I think that's still the most important thing for us.

Q. Joe, this series isn't over, but what struck you about it that's been unusual or just stood out for you?

JOE TORRE: Well, anytime we're involved in one of these things we always anticipate low scoring games. I was surprised we came in here 0-2. I'm very impressed with the Oakland team. I was not surprised that they played well. Game 2 was our type of game, and we came out on the short end of it. I think that was the one frustrating aspect I think of the three games so far. And last night was the same as Game 2, except it was in our favor. After last year really not a whole lot has surprised me about these first three games, because these are -- we knew what Oakland was about last year, and we knew that a little more experience and a little tinkering was going to make them better. Jermaine Dye and Damon have given them another dimension, plus they're healthier pitching-wise.

Q. Do you think this is developing into sort of a -- something that people can look forward to annually in terms of the Yankees and the A's in the playoffs?

JOE TORRE: I certainly hope so. I'd like to be guaranteed we're going to be in the playoffs every year, and my boss would, too. But I think this club is going to be around for a while, I'm talking about Oakland. You look at the ability of the pitching staff and the age of the pitching staff, and I think that bodes well for them being around for a while, there's no question. These guys are not flukes. They know how to pitch. And they do it in the fish bowl, which is not easy to do.

End of FastScripts....

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