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October 6, 2000

Dusty Baker


Q. Can you give us an update on Shawn Estes and how that factors in?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, we don't know. Shawn, he didn't have a cast on; he didn't have a boot on. It was wrapped up pretty heavily. I know for sure the way it is now , he's probably not going to be available for the series -- not probably; most likely. Just see how it stands up in the next series or this series to make a determination on the next one.

Q. Have you decided on a Game 4 starter?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, at this point, yeah. Probably Mark Gardner.

Q. Is that contingent on what happens tomorrow?

DUSTY BAKER: Not really.

Q. Going back to Shawn, even though he was not supposed to pitch again in the series, does his absence still effect how you have to manage, because you are still one person short, maybe in terms of what could have been a possible relief appearance later on?

DUSTY BAKER: Probably not. A lot depends on how far he had gone yesterday, if he would be available for the rest of the series or not anyway. So that makes us kind of even, I guess. Mets had 10 pitchers and we had 11; and they had seven extra men and we had six. So with Derek Bell's injury, not knowing how serious his injury is, now we're down to 10 pitchers and they are down to six extra men. Hard to say how that would affect us and how that's going to affect the future as far as putting in Shawn as a pinch-runner like we used to.

Q. The Mets did say that he would not be available for the rest of the year.

DUSTY BAKER: You can see the nature of a sprained ankle. And my knowledge of them, playing basketball, I've always been told they are worse than a break. It takes a long time to heal. And certainly, you have to change direction, the pitcher has to push off on that leg. I don't know when Shawn is going to be available.

Q. With a right-hander tomorrow, do you expect to change your lineup before tomorrow's game?

DUSTY BAKER: I change my lineup depending on who is pitching. Some left-handers, I'll go with my left-handers and sometimes not with other very, very tough left-handers, like against Leiter. Game 3, I'll go back to my standard lineup, basically. Not sure if J.T. or Ellis are going to hit fifth or sixth. It will be basically the same, but I don't know exactly where these guys are going to hit, because I alternate depending on who is pitching and how they have done against those guys.

Q. Is there any feeling that you would have been better off not tying it up in the ninth and losing it in the 10th; just go ahead and lose it in the ninth?

DUSTY BAKER: No. I'd rather it happen the way it did. You can't take away J.T.'S first post-season home run. I would definitely not do that, or rob the fans of the excitement that his pinch home run created. I probably would not be second-guessing this morning like I would, like I have been (laughs). But other than that, no. I wouldn't change a thing.

Q. There were times when it sounded like you might be leaning towards bringing Livan back if you were down in the series. What factors would come into that?

DUSTY BAKER: Number one, I was not leaning towards that. I was sort of prodded into answering the question that I was asked by you guys: Would you bring Livan back on three days' rest. It was not my idea. It was your idea and I was responding to the question. Number two, you've got to go with the guys that got you hit here. Mark Gardner is a big-game pitcher, and I figure Mark Gardner, the way he has been throwing and being a big-game pitcher, has a chance of being more effective than Livan going on three days' rest. He throws a tremendous amount of pitches when he pitches; so I would hate to have it come down to that game and have Livan throw another 120-pitch game. It is not that big of a decision, actually. And to me, that was -- to even think about what if we need Livan for that fourth game was sort of like negative thinking. And being a positive thinker, I'm thinking we're going to win this one tomorrow and Mark Gardner is going to come through in that deciding game.

Q. It's now a moot point with Estes's injury, but were there any circumstances where you would have brought him back with three days' rest?

DUSTY BAKER: Probably not. Not with his -- not this year and not with his history of shoulder problems. You're asking for trouble by doing that with Shawn. And like you said, it is a moot point. We don't have to go there.

Q. Did you talk to Shawn to find out if he realized he was safe when he came in, or was he in so much pain that he could not fall down on the base or call time?

DUSTY BAKER: I didn't discuss it with him. I was just curious about how he was. That would be sort of inhuman for me to ask him, "How come you didn't fall on the base." Let me shoot you right there like a lame horse. I didn't even ask him about how come he didn't do this or that. I was just really concerned about his health and well-being. And Shawn being a pitcher, and having played the position since probably high school, to me, he's probably in a state of bewilderment because he has probably not been through anything like that, to have the presence of mind to fall on base. That's like the first thing you hear something, you just grab it, you know what I mean? Shawn, he was in a state of chaos right there.

Q. Are you pleased the game is now at 4:00, to give you guys a little extra rest?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, it gave us a little more time to go out and have a good meal with our wives. You know, certainly, I don't know how they envision a 4 o'clock game on the East Coast versus the West Coast, and who knows what the temperature is going to be like. I was watching the news, and there's supposed to -- like snow here Sunday and Monday. We're going to have so see what happens when we get out here. I'm just glad we're back hear in New York. When we left New York last time, just like Arnold Schwarzenegger, like he said, "We'll be back." And here we are.

Q. The Mets talked today about trying to build on an emotional win, build momentum, going into Game 3. How do you keep an emotional loss like that from carrying over?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, number one, if you get a good-pitched game, that takes down any momentum anybody is trying to build. Number two, anybody that's followed this club through the last couple years knows that whenever we have a tough loss, we invariably bounce back and win the next day like nothing happened. And that's the character of this club. I've said many times, this is the most resilient, emotional club that I've ever been on.

Q. Russ Ortiz got his first win here. Is that why he likes New York or is there more to it than that?

DUSTY BAKER: I don't know. Russ is just very consistent in his personality and he's a very mature young man. I mean, who knows why certain guys pitch well or don't pitch or hit well in certain parks. It could be the mound. Some mounds appear a long ways away. Some mounds appear very close. I've seen guys like Bobby Welch. I've played with Bobby Welch on the Dodgers, and whenever we went into Candlestick Park, no matter with a kind of slump they are in or whatever, they would just some kind of way get it back together. So I don't know what it is about certain parks. I know for me it was the Astrodome and Cincinnati. No matter how well I was hitting, I'd go to Wrigley Field and I would not hit anything, and it drove me crazy for years trying to figure out why. So sometimes there is no rhyme or reason. Sometimes it's just a feeling or an attitude that you have.

Q. You mentioned resilience on the team. Last night it seemed like Jeff Kent had already moved on. Is he one of the main reasons why the team is so resilient?

DUSTY BAKER: Well, he's one of them. We have a whole team full of guys like that. We have a bunch of guys that have like a reliever mentality. I tell the guys that the life of a reliever is to forget yesterday. And it's probably a little easier for a player to forget yesterday than it is for the manager to get yesterday. But I'm glad we had a day off in between. And tomorrow, yesterday will be forgotten.

End of FastScripts....

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