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July 6, 1998

Don Baylor

Dante Bichette

Vinny Castilla

Larry Walker


Q. I wanted to ask you about playing center field tomorrow, Larry?

LARRY WALKER: I'm in the All-Star Game. Really not matter where I'm playing, I get to stand up there and look at Tony Gwynn and Barry Bonds on either side of me. I think that's a pretty good privilege. As long as I don't run into the wall.

Q. Larry, last year at the All-Star break, I think you were hitting .398, a lot of talk about would somebody be hitting .400 this year. With the power numbers so high this year, why are the averages deflated?

LARRY WALKER: I don't know. I have no idea.

MODERATOR: Can you rephrase the question?

Q. Probably not. Why is no one hitting close to .400? Why is the National League leading hitter hitting under .350?

LARRY WALKER: Because this is the year of the home run. Everyone is hitting home runs. Maybe next year there will be guys with a higher average, one of those things. I don't know the solution to it.

Q. Is the pitching better perhaps than it's getting credit for?

LARRY WALKER: Well, these are major league pitchers. Everybody is a major league pitcher. When you're facing the best of the best, you're going to run into a lot of times when you're going to get shut out.

Q. Dante, home runs up this year.

DANTE BICHETTE: I don't know.

Q. Don, do you have any advice for Larry about not crashing into the center field walls?

DON BAYLOR: I think he understands that. This is the All-Star Game. He's going to play the way Larry plays. I'm glad someone else gets to answer the questions about Larry playing center field. Jimmy Leyland has those.

Q. You had a difficult first half. How are you approaching the second half of the season?

DON BAYLOR: I'm going to try to enjoy the All-Star break, hope my players reflect on what happened the first half of the season, come back with a different attitude, try to find our solution on how to win it.

Q. Dante, as a student of hitting, do you have a favorite in the home run chase now between McGwire, Sammy?

DANTE BICHETTE: I think it's a unique race. I don't know who is going to win it. I think at least two of those guys are going to break it. I think you've got three different styles. You have big, strong, power Mark McGwire. Have you sweet swinging, left-handed against Ken Griffey. Then you have kind of an intensity player in Sammy. I think it's going to be a lot of fun to watch. A favorite? You go with the big, strong guy (laughter).

Q. What's it like to have Walt and Cat back, to be their teammate once again?

VINNY CASTILLA: I think it's great to see them again. Those two guys play for a long time. To see them again, especially in this All-Star Game, is -- always like to see them.

Q. Have you had any of the American League players that are unfamiliar with this park approach you on how to hit here? Seems to be this assumption that they're going to overswing and change swings. Have any of them approached you?



DANTE BICHETTE: It's been more media that asks you about home run contest here. I've heard people say that they're going to get too tired, wear themselves out before they stop hitting home runs. We'll have to see. There's no different way to approach it. Don't pitch any different here; don't hit any different here. If you're good enough, you'll be good.

Q. Do you approach the All-Star Game any differently than you do a regular game in terms of getting psyched up, especially with the game being played here in Denver?

DANTE BICHETTE: I personally was very surprised my first year. I thought it was just approached like a Sunday softball game, everybody would have fun. As soon as the first pitch was thrown, the intensity level was like I've never seen it. The crisp play was, you know, at a level of its own. I think everybody gets prepared to play mentally. You can't do your normal routine. It's just too hectic. You're prepared mentally when you get out there.

End of FastScripts….

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