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October 12, 2000

Lou Piniella


Q. Joe was just in here talking about the information overload that you guys have as managers, the numbers, the videotapes, blah, blah, blah. Do you think it is too much?

LOU PINIELLA: Well, the other day we had a scouts meeting in New York, and about halfway through it, I asked if we could postpone it until after the workout; my mind was saturated. Yeah, you get a little bit overloaded. A lot of the stuff is stuff that you already know, and some of it is important. Well, it's all important, but, yeah, you can get oversaturated with it. You really can. In the White Sox series, certain things helped us, and in the Yankees series, there have been a few things that have helped us also, but at the same time, you've got to make adjustments in this business. But you do get overloaded. No question. There's just so much that your mind can -- especially at the end of a grueling baseball season.

Q. To the point where -- do you think pitchers will get afraid to throw to a hitter, there's a hot zone, there's a hot zone --

LOU PINIELLA: What we try to do more than anything else is where do you spot the fastball on a particular hitter. We try to keep it as simple as possible for our pitchers. Where does the guy like the fastball? And if we can spot our fastball, we go from there.

Q. Can you talk about the job that Brett Tomko has done for you guys?

LOU PINIELLA: He's done a nice job for us. He's been pitching out of our middle for a good portion of the season, and actually, I feel that he's a good starting pitcher. We just have five starters here. When we needed a starter, though, when Garcia and Moyer went down, we put him in our rotation and he won some ballgames for us. We also put Abbott in our rotation and he won ballgames for us and he stayed. But I think Tomko is going to be a fine Major League starter.

Q. Is Henderson in the lineup?

LOU PINIELLA: Yeah, he's starting off in left field leading off. He's fine.

Our lineup tomorrow will be the same lineup that we played Game 1 against Neagle.

Q. How different a game is it in SAFECO as opposed to the Kingdome?

LOU PINIELLA: Quite a bit different. The Kingdome, it's really an offensive nightmare. You can score runs over there very, very quickly. The ball travelled well, and you had the astroturf. At the same time, you had that short porch in right field where right-hand hitters would hit it almost like they do in Fenway Park, left-handed wise in Boston. A lot of high-scoring games, where in SAFECO, runs are important. If you can get the lead and add a run here, add a run there, they mean a heck of a lot where in the Kingdome, one run didn't mean all that much.

Q. Do pitchers pitch a lot differently here?

LOU PINIELLA: No question. No question. We noticed that right away last year when we came over the middle of the season. Our pitchers, they relaxed more, and they pitched to the ballpark. Kingdome, you can make a good pitch and give up the three-run homer. You can make a good pitch and it would bounce off that astroturf and you can have a single and all of a sudden you start nibbling a little bit. Pitchers became a lot more aggressive when we got to this ballpark, and it has continued this year.

Q. You didn't make a huge move to get a big bat mid-season, but yet you have more pitching depth arguably than just about anyone in baseball. First of all, do you think that you need another big bat at this time of year, and, secondly, do the dimensions of this ballpark maybe make that decision for you; that you would rather go with pitching depth than be more of an offensive club?

LOU PINIELLA: Well, the organization at the trading deadline went out and tried to do the best that they could to get us what we needed and we recognize that we needed to help. Pat went out and talked to just about every club that had players available that would fit in here, and he came close to doing some things. But it takes two to tango. But Pat made every effort to get us what we needed. As it was, we recognize from playing here half a year last year that if we could put a good defensive team on the field, add some pitching depth to our roster, and add some speed, that we could be a competitive ballclub, and that's exactly what Pat went out and did last year. He did a darned good job doing it. Now that we've played in the ballpark for a year, we know that we could use just a little more offensive help, and I think that's what this club here will probably go out and try to address over the winter.

Q. Speaking of offense, is it fair to say that Edgar Martinez is the most important component of your offense?

LOU PINIELLA: Well, he's very important. He's a professional hitter. He's gotten better. His power numbers have increased dramatically with age, and that's not very common. He's very professional in his approach. Drives in runs. Hits with power. Has a very high on-base percentage. We've got other people that we really rely on, too. Our young shortstop has done a heck of a job. Olerud has been very, very consistent. We need our lead-off people to get on base and create some opportunities for us. At the same time we need a sprinkling of hitting in the back part of the lineup where we can manufacture some runs that way.

Q. Similar to that, are you very concerned with the offense at this point, as far as getting more production or is that just the nature of the playoffs? Also they were talking on TV last night about how you are more patient or more mellow this year. Have you changed your approach, and if so, why?

LOU PINIELLA: In post-season, you are going to face better pitching, and the higher you go up the ladder, the better the pitching. Neagle has had a lot of success. El Duque has not lost in the post-season. We're going to be facing Pettitte tomorrow, another darned good pitcher. Clemens the next day. Doesn't get any easier. We've got to find ways to put more runs on the board. You're not going to win too much in this league with two runs, one run. We've got to find ways to take advantage of opportunities and score more runs. There's no question. As far as my approach, I've been doing it for 14 years. I think you learn through experience how to do it the best way, and I think the course that I've been on for the past three or four years has been the best way.

Q. Having played with both Willie Randolph and Chris Chambliss, can you talk about what kind of managerial candidates you think that they are?

LOU PINIELLA: I think they would make excellent managers. They are both well-prepared. They were very successful players. They both command respect. They have been very successful coaches under an excellent manager like Joe Torre. Hopefully, they will both get an opportunity. I think that both of them would make excellent field managers at the Major League level.

Q. Can you tell us what Sele has meant for the rotation this year, and what you expect from him tomorrow?

LOU PINIELLA: Well, Aaron has pitched very well for us all year, and down the stretch when we really needed somebody to step up in September, he did that big time. In fact, right now he's our only experienced starter in the rotation. We need a good game from him, obviously, tomorrow. But he knows how to pitch. He competes very, very well. He's the type of pitcher that's not a strikeout pitcher, but he needs to mix in his fastball, spot it well with a good curveball and some off-speed pitches like a changeup to keep hitters honest. But he doesn't beat himself. He throws strikes, and he has done a heck of a job for us. What did he finish, 17-10, and he won one of the playoff games -- well he didn't win, but he pitched in the third game of the playoff game here against the White Sox. He has been a very, very good acquisition for us.

End of FastScripts....

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