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October 12, 1999

Paul O'Neill

NEW YORK CITY: Workout Day

PHYLLIS MEHRIGE: Tell us how you feel and what you know about your condition.

PAUL O'NEILL: I went through everything today and I am looking forward to playing tomorrow night. Unless I wake up tomorrow and have any big setback, then everything is a go at this point. I hope everything is all right. I am looking forward to the series, not worrying about whether I feel good or not. What a thing to play the Red Sox in the Playoffs, I am looking forward to it.

Q. Assuming that you are going to play as you say, can you just give us some kind of an indication as to how severe the pain is or if it has dissipated?

PAUL O'NEILL: Better today obviously than it was a few days ago. I feel better now that I know what it is. Before it was like I don't want to do too much, I might tear something. It is not that. It is going to be there. It is there when I wake up in the morning; it is there when I go to bed at night. It is something you can get in the game and forget about. Hopefully that is the case. I just want to -- I am not going to go out there just to go out there obviously. If I don't feel like I can play and play to help this team win, then I won't play. Right now I went out today, I had batting practice and threw the ball and ran a little bit and I felt all right.

Q. What hurts the most; what activity?

PAUL O'NEILL: I don't know, I guess swinging the bat at times. It kind of comes and goes a little bit. I don't have all your answers to tell you the truth.

Q. You do definitely want to play, but how much do you think it is going to (inaudible)

PAUL O'NEILL: If it is going to make -- if I am worried about how I feel instead of playing, then I shouldn't be out there. Right now I went out, went through everything and felt pretty good. I think that -- I mean, with the atmosphere we will have here tomorrow, that I will be able to go out and just play a game. That is what I am looking forward to. I am looking forward to hopefully having a good series against a great team that is coming in here hot. It will be fun.

Q. What kind of treatment are you continuing to get at this point?

PAUL O'NEILL: Just a lot of heat and whirlpool, I don't even know the names of a lot of the things.

Q. Anything for pain in particular?

PAUL O'NEILL: I've taken some things, but I haven't taken that much stuff yet.

Q. What does Joe want to hear from you tomorrow about this? In other words, he is obviously going to come to you and ask you; has he told you what he wants to hear from you?

PAUL O'NEILL: As of now, I mean, I am playing unless I wake up tomorrow morning and something by the activity I did today sets it back, which I don't think anything has, then tomorrow hopefully this story is over and we can go on and play the series.

Q. In other words, if the game was today you'd be in right field batting third?

PAUL O'NEILL: Yeah, I mean, if we were an hour from the game right now, I am pretty sure that Joe would have me in the lineup. That is the way I look at it. I mean, obviously we went through everything today to see how it was going to feel. I felt pretty good. It is a lot more fun being up here when you have done something good after a game, believe me, than talking about this stuff.

Q. Yesterday you had said, pretty steady for four days that you rested. Is this a pleasant surprise or what you expected?

PAUL O'NEILL: Like I said, now that I know what it is, it is actually a relief because I know that -- I mean, it is there; it is going to be there. You go, you play, you go home and get some treatment and worry about it again tomorrow. Right now, I just wanted to get it out of my mind. I want to get on with taking the field tomorrow and just play the game.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about what you guys think of the Red Sox after watching what they did to Cleveland?

PAUL O'NEILL: Obviously they have a lot of things going well for them. Offensively they are swinging the bats as well as any team we have seen. And they have got that little Dominican fellow that is doing a lot of things for them. He has had an unbelievable year; got all the respect in the world from anybody in baseball, and they are having that type of year where everything is going well for them. It is because of their hard work and their dedication. It is kind of a lot of the way that this team is. We worry about doing little things right and winning games instead of who is on the front page tomorrow. So it should be a great series. Obviously every series with Boston even during the season is a big deal because of the rivalry and, you know, when you add the Playoffs to that thing, then it should be fun.

Q. Did you ever think in 1995 when they changed the format, the additional series, wild card, did you ever think: Hey, it might be possible that we would face them?

PAUL O'NEILL: Obviously it wouldn't have happened if the wild card weren't here. This is an exciting time of baseball, period, when you are in the Playoffs and hoping to get to the World Series, but when you throw into the mix that you are playing Boston and the rivalry and Babe Ruth, all these things added together, sure, it makes for a great stories and for a great series. I think that is what both teams are looking forward to.

Q. How much do you think your offense has an advantage given the fact that you guys have not played since Saturday, but they have expended so much energy just getting here?

PAUL O'NEILL: I don't believe in that. I think that if anything, I mean, we would have rather have been playing everyday. I think long layoffs in baseball aren't the greatest thing in the world. I mean, their offense, they scored 30 something runs in the last two games. To have an advantage over anybody, I don't know, it seems to me like they ought to be playing the Jets or somebody the way they are scoring.

Q. Is it fair to say that you are encouraged from where you were this morning to where you are right now concerning playing tomorrow in general?

PAUL O'NEILL: I mean, I feel good. I feel good about getting here tomorrow and going through exactly what I did today, batting practice, infield, running around, and come 8 o'clock, whatever time we play, going out and just worrying about playing the game because that is the important thing is to get out there and forget about everything but what is going on in the game. If you can do that, then you are fine.

End of FastScripts…

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