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October 13, 1999

Joe Torre


Q. Is it luck or just postseason adrenaline that Orlando Hernandez plays so well in the playoffs?

JOE TORRE: If it is luck, I hope it continues. But I have a feeling it is know-how and just responding to challenge. The one thing about postseason -- and I learned this over the last few years -- it is a special time of year and the guys just -- you can just see their eyes, and after last year in Cleveland, El Duque pretty much set the tone for what he is all about, and again, he didn't disappoint us in the first game against Texas. So hopefully it continues. Again, it comes down to being able to do what you need to do and it is all pitching. You can make a lineup up one way or the other, bat this guy third, bat this guy fourth, but it is still going to come down to how you do the job on the mound.

Q. Did you ever see a Yankee/Red Sox game in person until you managed one?

JOE TORRE: I don't think so.

Q. You were late coming to this?

JOE TORRE: Yes, but I always observed what it meant. And of course, 1978; I mean, that comes to mind, but again I always noticed that you didn't have to play for the first place to have a Yankee/Red Sox game mean anything. It is similar to the Cubs and the Cardinals. But the difference is the Midwest and the East, and to me the East -- there just seems to be a lot more bubble going on in the East.

Q. Would it be difficult for you to tell Paul even though he may want to play, tell him no, that it can't work the way things are going?

JOE TORRE: Yes, and that is why I didn't tell him no (Laughter.) I didn't put a lineup yet until he got here today and we talked about it. I saw how anxious he was to play. Made some good points to me about, you know, just his at-bats and the lefthander is no concern. Then you start thinking about that if it wasn't that the rib was a factor you wouldn't even consider not playing him today. You know, I pretty much went off our conversation and as I say, I didn't post a lineup for that reason. I wanted to talk to him first. He is in there.

Q. How tough was it to take Leyritz off the roster given what he has done in the playoffs?

JOE TORRE: It was very difficult. No question. I mean, even Jimmy struggled toward the end of the season. It didn't keep me from going to him in Games 1 and 2 against Texas in situations. So I just felt with O'Neill's condition or possible condition, that if he happens to -- we happen to lose him, which I don't want to think about doing-- I needed another outfielder and I know there was question about Bellinger, but I feel a little more secure having a pinch-runner, especially Clay, who can play all around too. He can play all the outfield and infield positions and yes, it is difficult. Having only one lefthander coming out of the bullpen, you know, is not easier to make that decision, but that was one area that you know, sort of helped. But for sure, I needed the extra outfielder. And again, we are not -- hoping we don't need to use it, but I needed to have it.

Q. You used to be fairly sure of what you were going to get from Cone. Since the perfect game, has it become a little less certain what he can give you?

JOE TORRE: You have to understand the one thing I always know I am going to get from David Cone is the effort and that is what I fairly much base what I think and how I write my lineup or put my starting pitchers in there. The one thing that David may not have his sharpness, may not have his good fastball; we never know that from time to time. But he finds a way to get it done. So I am not really concerned -- you will know early with David. Even if he has had his -- the proper rest, say five or six days, usually takes him an inning or two to settle in with his command because he does so many different things with the fastball and the breaking ball, different arm angles. But I feel good. I'd rather have him with much more rest than not enough really. I think he has responded well to that.

Q. Paul is such a gamer, played hurt so many times for you. What exactly did he tell you to reassure you that he could be effective today or how persuasive was he?

JOE TORRE: Well, he threatened me, but that is why I can't tell you exactly what he said to me. I think it was the way he said things about how he wanted to play. You can pretty much tell about players when you talk to them. It is not necessarily what they say. It is how they say it. And he, when I sort of told him -- when I did tell him that I was considering not playing him, I mean, he was very surprised at that point. Then we started having a conversation about the game and the fact of his having at-bats which was important for him. He didn't -- he kept telling me he didn't want to tell me what to do, but I definitely went off of how he was, as opposed to the words he used.

Q. Would you then say it is accurate to say even though he didn't want to -- said he didn't want to tell you what to do that he pretty much talked his way tonight?

JOE TORRE: Sure, but it didn't take a lot of talking because I wanted to play him. The most important thing is I wanted to play him and if I didn't, I wouldn't have asked him, so I just wanted to see how comfortable he was -- he is in his body and that is the only thing we can go on. We have to let her fly. So hopefully it works out all right.

Q. The long layoff for Cone, was there any -- did you have any idea that you might use him tonight as opposed to one more day of rest?

JOE TORRE: Yeah, no question, when Mel and I started fiddling with the rotation. The reason he wasn't pitching tonight was because Game 5 is four days away; pitching Game 2, he gets the extra day rest and he has always responded well to that. So that was the reason. It was funny, he came to us yesterday, he says do you want to change it, because at the time Cleveland was leading the series and we pretty much made the rotation. It didn't matter who we were going to play, we were going to go that way.

Q. What was your reasoning as far as Pettitte? Were you concerned at all about the wall there? What does that do to pitchers?

JOE TORRE: As I said, we made the rotation before we knew we were playing Boston and we decided to stay with it. I guess we wanted to just pitch Andy in Game 4. He hasn't pitched very much in Boston, but the numbers are good, the few games he did pitch there. But we decided that we wanted to -- first of all, David Cone didn't pitch in the first series, wanted to pitch him twice; El Duque twice; then the way Roger pitched the other day, we decided we wanted him to pitch twice. That is what made our decision for us.

End of FastScripts…

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