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October 10, 2000

Joe Torre


Q. Was it just a case of Garcia tonight?

JOE TORRE: He sure as hell pitched well. He had overcome a couple of situations, especially the one with first and second and the 3-4-5 guys coming up. He certainly pitched well when he had to. He pitched pretty well when he didn't have to.

Q. Pinch-hitting for Paul O'Neill?

JOE TORRE: Well, it is a situation that Paul has been struggling a little bit, and I just felt it was a chance to maybe pop one where the lefty had to pitch to the right-hander. It is not something that I like doing or may not do again, but I just felt in that situation, I wanted that match up.

Q. Your assessment of Denny?

JOE TORRE: I thought he was terrific. He was a little shaky early, which we figured he would be, just to settle in and get comfortable; he got three walks early. But he pitched, obviously, well enough to win, and I'm pleased for him. It gives us something to look forward to.

Q. Garcia was great tonight, but at what point will it be too much for the lineup to break out of this?

JOE TORRE: I'm not making excuses for our guys. I don't want to take any of the credit away from Garcia, but we have not been hitting the ball. We have not been scoring runs. It is frustrating. The players are as frustrated as anybody else on our ballclub, as far as the coaches or the managers. We are prepared and we go up there. And when I put their names in the lineup, I still have the confidence that they are going to get the job done. They grind it. They work at it. They worked at it right down to the last out, and when you realize that the names you write down every day are the ones that are playing, and they have played for you, when they don't hit it, it surprises you, even though we have been in a slump.

Q. Can you ever remember in a non-blowout pinch-hitting for Paul before? What was his reaction? And will he start again tomorrow?

JOE TORRE: Yeah, he'll start tomorrow. I'll take the last question first. His reaction was -- he looked at me, and I called him back in. You know, he understands the situation. The one thing about this club, everybody is pretty much aware that we are trying to win ballgames, and I have to make some decisions. I don't remember if I have hit for him before. I really can't remember. I may have, but I really don't remember.

Q. As a follow-up to that, would you not have pinch-hit for him if it were not for the fact that he was in such a slump?

JOE TORRE: Yeah, I probably wouldn't have, because Paul O'Neill has hit Rhodes fairly well. Not saying that Arthur is not tough on him, but, you know, he's got his share of hits off him. I probably wouldn't have.

Q. So your decision was based on the way he has been playing?


Q. There were some signs in Oakland that you guys were coming out of this and now it seems to be going backward again.

JOE TORRE: We hope the signs are showing tomorrow. We're going to come out and fight them. Obviously we cannot win games unless we score runs. I base my opinion of my team, of people, on preparation and effort, and we're doing that. Yeah, I know it is frustrating, especially with the ability of our hitters. And again, I continue to credit the other team, but you get a little tired of that, but we'll keep fighting.

Q. With tomorrow's game even more important, is it comforting to know that it is El Duque's turn?

JOE TORRE: Yeah. We obviously need El Duque to take us late into the game. I used Nelly tonight more than I normally did. I just felt it was important to hold them right there just in the event we got something going. El Duque has had a habit of picking us up, and hopefully he will do that again tomorrow.

Q. Do you sometimes look back at a game and say the Fates were against you?

JOE TORRE: Well, you accept stuff like that, it's like hitting three line drives as a hitter and the next day you get two broken bats and two hits. It seems to even out. It doesn't seem to be justice at times, but sometimes you look for mercy instead of justice. You want a little edge. Yeah, you know, I don't really think about that at all. Sure you say, "Oh, if we'd hit that line drive just a little this way or that way." I guess it's like missing the lottery by one number. Instead of 44 it was 45 like it was supposed to be the next one if it was not you.

Q. Are you happy with the approach of most of the at-bats?

JOE TORRE: The one thing about our hitters, they are pretty professional. We have meetings and we have talks about how the pitcher is, his stuff and what he throws in certain situations. That is what advance scouting is all about and we did all that today. Yeah, I was pleased with the approach, not with the result, but that's left for other reasons.

Q. Considering the history with Jeter in the post-season, are you surprised at how he is struggling this October, and do you think he presses at all when A-Rod is in the stadium, trying to outdo him?

JOE TORRE: I don't think he's pressing. I think Jeter has been such a big player for us; that he's really not aware of the situation that he's playing against A-Rod. Tonight, he just didn't see them early, like he saw the ball very well. Even the time he walked, he fell behind in the count, 0-2 very quickly. Sometimes pitchers are like that on certain hitters and they just can't find where the ball is coming from. I have no answer for that. I don't think he is doing anything different.

Q. It is early and Garcia is pitching great. I know that it is going to be tough to get runs off of him. Why not bunt Brosius when you have first and second with no outs?

JOE TORRE: We tried it once and we tried some other things, and it didn't work out, as far as doing certain things like hitting and running and bunting. But if I had to do it all over again, I probably would have liked him at second and third, but that's the way we chose to play it.

Q. In the sixth inning with two on and nobody out, you called O'Neill back, were you contemplating a bunt there?

JOE TORRE: I didn't know if Lou was going to bring in the left-hander at that point in time when he went out. So I called Paul back and just gave him some scenarios that I was thinking about. Paul has bunted before. We talked about several things, but when they left Garcia in, then it was, you know, let them fly.

End of FastScripts....

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