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October 8, 1998

Bruce Bochy

Sterling Hitchcock

Greg Vaughn


Q. How is Greg Vaughn?

BRUCE BOCHY: Greg Vaughn: He's sore; he has a strained left quad, and it's hard to say how long. They think possibly 3 to 4 days, but it could be up to ten days. So it's a situation where we have to continue to evaluate him.

Q. Does that mean Ruben will play in his absence?

BRUCE BOCHY: Yes. Ruben is going to be out in left field tonight.

Q. Any other line-up changes, Bruce?

BRUCE BOCHY: No. Just Ruben out in left field. Wally is going to be at first base. There was a question yesterday about Leyritz playing first, but Wally is going to be at first base.

Q. Did Ruben impress you about how aggressive he was on the bases last night?

BRUCE BOCHY: No question, I think he impressed a lot of people. That was impressive what he did. It takes great instincts and skill to do what he did tagging from second going to third, and then squirreling a little tapper back to the pitcher. And that's what speed will do for you.

Q. What impact will missing Greg Vaughn have on the team?

BRUCE BOCHY: Well, you take Greg Vaughn out of our line-up, sure, it makes a difference. You look at what he's done for us this year. I've said many times, we hate to think where we'd be without Vaughnie, but the one thing, we've done a good job of is overcoming injuries. I've said it's been a bittersweet season to this point. We've had a lot of injuries. We've had a tough time keeping our core of players out there. But at the same time we've had a nice year, because guys have come up, picked each other up. Guys have come off the bench and played well, and that's what we'll have to do now. And last night Greg, after he left the game, Ruben goes out there and gets a double and scores a run for us.

Q. How frustrating or disappointing is it for you not to be able to play right now?

GREG VAUGHN: It's very disappointing, especially after last year. And what we accomplished this year, you wait to get to this point, and the biggest thing for me is I'll be okay. But I feel like I let the team down. We got to this point and I can't play. That's why it's frustrating, because I want to be out there, but I feel like I let them down, because I wait until this point in the year to get hurt. I don't know how long they said I'm going to be out, but it's not going to be that long. I'm going to do whatever I can. I've got treatment all night last night, this morning, all this afternoon. So I've been a quick healer in the past, and I can tolerate a lot of pain. The only thing IS in the outfield I don't want to be the reason for us to lose the ballgame, because I can't run to get a ball. But if I don't play in the outfield I'll be playing, no doubt.

Q. Can you talk about the play you got hurt on and kind of describe it for us?

GREG VAUGHN: It was the ball Chipper Jones hit. It was a low liner, but it was going through the lights, and I tried to wait for it to come out. And when I planted all my weight just shifted to my knee. I thought I blew my knee out when I first did it. And as I took a couple of steps, I knew it was my quad, because I couldn't put any weight on my toes. I feel a lot better this morning, I want to play. But I'll get my pom-poms out right now, and root for my teammates.

Q. How much is it a rallying point for Tony Gwynn, for the club?

BRUCE BOCHY: I think all of us would like to get back to the World Series, for each of us have put a lot of effort in. But with Tony, sure, it's a case where he's been in San Diego his whole career, since the last time they were there; it was in '84. It's been a long wait. He's had great years, but the most important thing for him is to get to the World Series. But I put it as added incentive, because we'd like to get there for all of us, and especially Tony Gwynn.

GREG VAUGHN: I know Tony wants to win the World Series, but I probably want it as much as he does. And everybody in the locker room wants to win. We'll win it for Tony and ourselves, hopefully. We'll get to the World Series. I've never been. I'd like to check it out myself.

Q. Is Hoffman available tonight, considering how many innings he went last night?

BRUCE BOCHY: I haven't talked to Hoffie yet. He's very resilient. So I anticipate him coming up and saying he's good for an inning, but I'd like to stay away from him. But if it's a situation where we need him, I think he could give us an inning. But if he goes out today during the workout and he feels like he can't go, he'll tell me. I think he'll be honest, to a point. But we'd like to stay away from him. It's not so much the 43 pitches that concerns me, but he did go out the third time, and that might have taxed him a little bit.

Q. Did the injury affect your hitting at all?

GREG VAUGHN: Well, they were trying to get me not to hit, but like I said, you wait too long to get to this point, I knew I wasn't going back to the field. I tried, but Davey dragged me off the field a little bit. But it's just the situation where you really don't feel the pain, but you do, you know what I mean? You're trying to stay in there, and it's sort of in the back of your mind. My main concern was I didn't want to go out in the field and be the reason we lost the ballgame because I couldn't run to get the ball.

Q. Will you be able to pinch-hit in a couple of days?

GREG VAUGHN: I'll be able to pinch-hit in a couple of hours.

Q. How sore is it and when do you think you'll be able to play again?

GREG VAUGHN: It's sore. It's real sore, but I think we're getting a handle on it, being pretty aggressive. We're going at it. Like I said, I have all winter to rest. I don't need to be ready for Spring Training. I need to be ready for this series, and we're doing everything we can. And hopefully I'll be able to go back out Saturday, but who's to say. But I know I can pinch-hit tonight.

Q. Where were you when Ruben did his thing?

GREG VAUGHN: I was on the top step, telling him to be aggressive, cheering him on. Ruben has tremendous ability and skills. He just has to get the confidence in himself, and he's going to be a great player, there's no doubt.

Q. What time did you start getting treatment? What did they do and how long did that last and when did you start again today?

GREG VAUGHN: Well, I got treatment as soon as I came out of the game last night, and then I came back down to the bench. I got treatment after the game, went home. About 3:30 in the morning they came and put this big boot on my leg, had treatment until about 5:00, woke up, took that off, went to sleep until about 10:00, came and put a different machine on with ice; did that for a while; took that off and just put a machine on, and then I came to the park and got more treatment.

Q. Bruce, are you looking at bringing Ashby back in three days?

BRUCE BOCHY: No, no. Right now Joey Hamilton, he's scheduled to go to the fourth game.

Q. Will you use Greg as a pinch hitter tonight if you need him?

BRUCE BOCHY: Well, I think from listening to him, I'm going to have to depend on my medical staff a little more than Greg Vaughn, but you never know. And if they say he's okay to go, he'll be out there if we need him.

Q. You only missed one game due to injury, and that was in April. You go through a complete year, and this has got to be tough. How mentally difficult is this for you?

GREG VAUGHN: It's tough. Like I said, I'll be all right. I pulled through last year, so I know I'll be all right. The main thing is that I feel like I'm letting my teammates down, because they depend on me to be out there with them to go to war, and I can't go to war with them right now. It's just a situation where I've just got to show my support from the bench, and pinch hit (laughter.)

Q. Will you talk about Sterling Hitchcock's last performance and what he needs to do to be effective on Saturday?

BRUCE BOCHY: He responded to a great game. He goes out there against Randy Johnson, and he knew he had to pitch well, and had tremendous stuff, I thought, a good fastball. He had a good split and a good curve ball; he threw strikes. And he's pitched well for us; so that's why we had him go that game. And the key for him is, like any pitcher, throw strikes and have good location, and he has good stuff. So he's a competitor, too, he's got a great makeup. He was not in awe of anything, he went out there and looked very composed.

Q. Greg, if the worst happened and you couldn't play the rest of the series, could the team win without you?

GREG VAUGHN: Without a doubt. They won without me last night. And like Bochy said, throughout the year, we had people go down, and that's why it's called a team. Not any individual can go out there and win a game by himself. We depend on everyone. We don't care who the hero is. We don't care who gets the spotlight or the headlines, just as long as we get the job done, and it doesn't matter. I think that's why we get along so well. Nobody is in the clubhouse fighting for front page stories and names in bright lights. So I have every confidence in the world that we can still win, even if I don't play.

Q. (Inaudible.)

BRUCE BOCHY: The question was my decision to start Wally Joyner: Was it because of defense or lefties hitting Glavine or the leadership on the field? Really it was a combination of both. Glavine is tough on righties and lefties. Wally Joyner, I consider one of the best first basemen in the League. So he feels very good right now. His shoulder had been bothering him, but he's swinging the bat better. So I'm going with who I think is the better defensive first baseman, and he's swinging the bat well. And it also allows me to keep Jim Leyritz available. Like I used him last night, and if there's a key situation you'll see him in there, or I can double-switch with him at first or behind the plate.

Q. Bruce, did last night look and feel as long as it did downstairs?

BRUCE BOCHY: Well, it was a long night. We kept getting the game moved back, 9:30, 9:45, and finally they found a window there. But it made it a little shorter with that win, no question about it. I'm glad we played the game. If we didn't play the game last night, we're caught where we have to play five in a row, and in our pitching situation, we have ten pitchers, but we only kept four starters, that would have put us in a bind.

Q. Bruce, do you expect Leyritz to catch Hitchcock on Saturday?

BRUCE BOCHY: Yes, no question, Jim will catch him.

Q. What impresses you most about Greg Maddux?

BRUCE BOCHY: I think the guy is going to go down as one of the greatest pitchers of all time. You look at what he's done, and how consistent he is, and you know he's just the best pitcher I've ever seen -- overall pitcher, I'm talking about. And he just knows what he's doing out there and he's so consistent, and he's as good as it gets.

Q. What is the challenge for you in this series?

STERLING HITCHCOCK: To get people out and give our team a chance to win, is basically all I can do; get as deep in the game as I can, and keep us close.

Q. How much have you thrown the splitfinger before this year, and how much has Dave Stewart helped you with that pitch?

STERLING HITCHCOCK: I've thrown it since high school. I think the influence that Stu has had on me is concentrating on -- concentrating more.

Q. (Inaudible.)

STERLING HITCHCOCK: It's neat with Leyritz back there. We hit it off in '95. More than anything, he calls a great game behind the plate. And as a pitcher, that's what I want. You know, the situation came up in the 6th inning against Houston: He calls 3-2, with Derek Bell up to the plate and he calls a curve ball. And I've thrown a lot of curve balls to right-handed hitters this year. And he had the confidence in me to throw the pitch in that situation. That gave me the confidence that I could do it as well. And anytime you can get a working relationship like that, it's great.

Q. You're the underdog, obviously, with Johnson last time, Maddux this time. Do you like that role, being looked on as the underdog?

STERLING HITCHCOCK: There's no pressure on me. I'm not supposed to win.

Q. Going into the game with Houston the other day, them down 2-1, did you have any anticipation that their hitters would be even more aggressive than they normally are, and is there any mindset that pitchers can take into situations like that to anticipate how hitters are going to be reacting?

STERLING HITCHCOCK: I think early in the game we try to see what kind of mindset, how aggressive they're going to be at the plate. Especially early, I think there were some shadow problems that they had. I guess if you ask Larry Dierker, he'd be sure to tell you there were a lot of shadows. But we wanted to see, and I think that early in the game, getting ahead of them so much, coming up with the seven strikeouts in three innings, maybe got them a little down, maybe a little more antsy to get at me a little bit. But it was just going out there and battling, trying to keep us close. I knew what I was going to have to do with Randy on the hill.

Q. Any unique delivery you have, the way you hide the ball; is that something somebody taught you or did you develop that on your own?

STERLING HITCHCOCK: I've come up with about four different deliveries in the last three years. In '95 I had Nardi Contreras as a pitching coach, and we went through a situation where I was bringing my hands down and breaking them at my knee, at my belt, and that seemed to work real well. '96 I got away, and I was bouncing too much. And when I got to camp in '97, I felt like I had finally found it. And my pitching coach last year said: Hey, why don't you try this. And I used that for a good part of the first half last year, and ended up going back to the bounce. And this winter I looked at some game film and stuff early in the season when I did use that, and it seemed like I hit -- hid the ball a little better, and seemed like I was able to locate the ball down a little better. I went home this winter on my own, back to Dan Whorton's (ph) idea of breaking that way, and it seems to work a little better.

Q. What do you mean by "the bounce"?

STERLING HITCHCOCK: I started with my hands up this way, and then as I brought my leg up, I would take my hands down and they would bounce off my knee, basically, and break that way. But I guess the problem with that is sometimes it would bounce too high. It would be back and everything would be up.

Q. Dave Stewart has expressed interest in moving up. Would you say anything to Dave Stewart about becoming a GM instead of a pitching coach?

STERLING HITCHCOCK: Please don't go. It's hard to say how much of an impact he's had on the staff over last year. I know with Ash and Joey and myself, I think he's had a huge impact. I think the ability has always been there for Ash and Joey and I, and I think a combination of the three of us being pretty disappointed in the seasons that we had last year, and then the new intensity and the mental focus that Stu has added onto us I think has made the three of us a better pitcher this year. And the same goes on down the line. I think you look to the guy with the least amount of Major League time, and the guy with the most, and I think everybody has learned a little something from Stu this year, and I would hate to see him leave.

Q. I'm sure it's tough to look past your next start, but what would it mean to you to get to maybe pitch against your former team, the Yankees in the World Series?

STERLING HITCHCOCK: That would be assuming that they got there, as well.

Q. Exactly.

STERLING HITCHCOCK: It would be nice. I always enjoyed pitching in New York, I think it was more or less the stuff off the field that I didn't care for. But I think honestly pitching in the World Series would be the epitome, it's obviously what you play for from a little kid to now, and whether it was the Yankees, the Indians, or Joe Schmoe's team, it wouldn't matter, it would be the highlight of everything for me.

Q. When did you start emphasizing the change-up?

STERLING HITCHCOCK: I've always thrown one. I went through a stage -- through the minor leagues I had a great change-up. And I got to the Major League level, it started getting too hard, from 78 miles an hour to about 84. And I didn't throw it very much for a couple of years, and then I refound it with the help of a Minor League pitching coach, when I went down to work towards the end of Spring Training, getting an extra day in before the season started. And you can never overemphasize the amount or the importance of changing speeds. And being a left-handed pitcher, if you don't have a change-up, it's pretty hard to succeed at this level.

End of FastScripts….

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