|Browse by Sport
|Find us on
October 4, 1999
NEW YORK CITY: Workout Day
Q. What was your decision as far as the last pitcher and with Spencer and Bellinger?
JOE TORRE: Bellinger is active; Spencer isn't for the first round. Spence will stay
with us along with Dan Naulty and Jason Grimsley, who neither one of those will be
eligible first go-around. Hopefully, there's a second go-around. That's what we're doing.
Q. How about Irabu?
JOE TORRE: Irabu will be in the bullpen.
Q. How different is this Texas team from last year with Palmeiro in the line-up?
JOE TORRE: I have to get retrained again here. Palmeiro, the type of year, 45 home
runs, he's one of the best hitters in baseball, no question. We had to deal with him over
on the Baltimore side for a couple years, also, and, you know, they're a better ballclub,
no question. Not only Palmeiro, but Zeile's had a terrific year and Clayton and McLemore
seems to be healthy, and Zimmerman has given them a nice pleasant surprise, of, you know,
a pitcher coming along and making a big difference. So they're a better ballclub. They've
always been an outstanding ballclub. I think they're -- they've improved, plus the fact
there's another year of experience going into post-season.
Q. Line-up for tomorrow? Can you tell us?
JOE TORRE: Sure. Knobloch, Jeter, O'Neill, Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez, Darryl
Strawberry, Jorge Posada, Ledee, and Brosius.
Q. Starting pitcher, how difficult was that decision and what made you go to Orlando?
JOE TORRE: Well, it was very difficult. You know, I wanted to pitch Andy Pettitte at
home; so that was pretty well set as long as -- well, he was going to pitch Game 2 as long
as we started at home. And David Cone has done well pitching in the middle because we
figure on pitching him once in the five-game series. And then it was between El Duque and
Roger, and it was not an easy call because they're both capable; they're both durable. El
Duque, you know, he's come a long way from last year. I think he started growing in that
Game 4 against Cleveland last year. And it was just -- it was just a choice we had to
make, one or the other. We couldn't pitch both of them, obviously. We talked to both
pitchers before we made the decision, and we just decided to pick El Duque.
Q. Joe, you were pretty emotional after clinching the division. How much of that was
related to what you went through in the spring and how that changed your perspective on
the game and things in general.
JOE TORRE: Probably. You know, it surprised me. I didn't feel any of that stuff
happening during the game. But once, you know, you see the players, and the players are
the ones that get me choked up, because they have worked hard; they've had to put up with
a lot of distractions that were caused by my illness early in the year. Zimmer with his
physical problems and Scott Brosius, his dad. I just think a lot of things entered into
it. Strawberry coming back after what he's had to deal with. I think a lot of it had to do
with what I went through in the spring and how it impacted everybody else. Plus, yes,
having my illness in the spring, having the cancer definitely changed my perspective, sort
of put things in better perspective for me. Life or death is really life or death.
Q. Joe, is it fair to say El Duque has been your most consistent starter all year?
JOE TORRE: Well, probably for the number of innings pitched, yeah. If you look down his
record, he pitched seven innings, eight innings, seven innings, seven innings, seven
innings; in that regard, he has been the most consistent. As far as stuff, the reason we
were trying to figure out back and forth between him and Roger, Roger's stuff has been
dominant type stuff. He's had problems because he's had extra days. He had the rainout the
other day, and, you know, I am looking for reasons for it. Because his stuff is good and
he feels good, and I think it's just a matter of him settling in. And hopefully, we made
the right decision. You're only going to know if it's the right decision by the bottom
line, anyway. But El Duque has, as I said, has grown from last year, and he has been very
Q. Joe, you talked about how you felt the illness probably had some things to do with
stress. Did you make a conscious decision when you came back that you weren't going to
bring losses home or bad days home, or did that evolve once you got back into the office?
JOE TORRE: I think I've been able to do that pretty much. We've been fortunate here
since I've been with the Yankees; we've won a lot. Taking the game home was always a
pretty good situation. But it did change my perspective. I think I'm able to let go of bad
games a lot quicker. The one game that comes to mind where I realized I got over this
hump, I guess you could say, was Saturday at Shea Stadium when I thought we had a win, and
it turned into a loss within the next minute and a half. And that was a tough -- that was
one of the toughest games of the year for me. And I was able -- within an hour and a half,
it was gone. It was gone. Again, you just start comparing it to other things, and you just
let go. Again, it doesn't lessen my passion for what I'm doing. I still feel like I'm the
same person in that regard. But I think just the periphery, the peripheral stuff is
Q. Joe, how will you work with Clemens? He likes to stay sharp, a lot of work for that.
How will you do that?
JOE TORRE: He threw today. He's got a plan. Roger not only has a plan on the mound and
with the baseball, he also has a plan in the weight room and his different conditioning.
So as long as he knows when he's pitching, he can sort of work around that and simulate
his conditions, his game conditions, in his workdays. So he's, you know, he feels good
about it, and I think that's the most important thing where he has this target date so he
can work according to that.
Q. Joe, what went into the thinking of Strawberry over Davis at DH?
JOE TORRE: That's been a very tough one. I came here today not knowing. Talked to my
coaches, talked to both of them and they didn't give me any help at all. Both of them
said, "Skip, whatever you want to do, I'm with you." So, great... I don't know.
I just had to choose one or the other. And, you know, Darryl obviously is -- you know, he
has that presence in the line-up. He can hit a ball out of the ballpark any time. Chili is
probably a more accomplished hitter. I just had to go one way or the other. It was
basically a flip of the coin in my mind that I wanted to start with Strawberry and see
where we go. Plus, Chili, when you come off the bench, I guess what works in my favor, and
against him is the fact that he's a switch-hitter. If there's a couple pitchers warming
up, I can use a switch-hitter off the bench.
Q. Joe, you and Todd Zeile were together in St. Louis in the '90s. What have you seen
in the changes since he's made that transition that's been good in your eyes, and how has
JOE TORRE: Well, he certainly wasn't pleased about making the switch when we suggested
it. But Todd, you know, he's gotten better because he's learned to deal with things. He's
gotten the experience. He's become this player that bounced from team to team. And, you
know, you can look at it like nobody wants you. But you look at it again that people keep
wanting to trade for you, and the people trading for him are always the ones in the race,
with Baltimore and then Texas, and now he's stayed with Texas. And he's having a hell of a
year this year. Todd, good guy. I mean, I really enjoyed managing him. He was a prime-time
type guy, he was our number-four hitter in St. Louis and would never back off from
swinging at a 3-0 pitch or wanting to win the game on his own. As far as his defense, he's
always had good hands and a fairly true arm. And the only thing I see at third base, he's
gotten a whole lot better. He was good to start with, but the more he's played, I think
he's really improved. You know, you'd have to think back to the days that he was a catcher
to realize that he played some other position. He played a little first for me. Also.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about Palmeiro and the impact, the dimension he added to
JOE TORRE: Well, you know, he's such a good hitter. The left-handers don't really
bother him. We've known that for years. He's not only a power guy, he's hit 45 homers. But
the type of swing he has, you wouldn't think he hit that many home runs because he has
such a sweet swing, line-drive type guy. To put him in the middle of that line-up to
balance, you know, Pudge and Juan, has really, really balanced their club out. And he's
been healthier. Even though he's had the knee problem, he had a remarkable year,
considering he can't play first with regularity like he used to or will again. But to me,
it's really made that ball club a lot more potent. I didn't think they needed that, but
they certainly have added to their offensive output with him.
Q. How did you or your players feel about a potential Subway Series World Series?
JOE TORRE: I'll tell you, I hope we're there, and I really don't care who we play. This
is so tough, the five-game series against Texas or any ballclub, that to think beyond that
would really be frightening for me. I think it would be great if you want to dream on. I
think it would be great for the people of New York. That would be something that would be
an ideal situation, and if we were lucky enough to get there and the Mets were lucky
enough to get there, I guess the advantage -- well, there's an advantage and disadvantage.
You have people that you'd need more tickets for. That's the disadvantage. The advantage
would be you sleep in your same bed every night. That would be okay. But it would be
weird. Of course, I grew up that way. I grew up with the Yankees and the Dodgers, or the
Yankees and the Giants, it was always a Subway Series. I thought that was the way it was
supposed to be in my teenage years.
Q. Joe, we were asking the Texas players a lot about wanting to get past your team and
the recent history of the past couple years. How do you think your team approaches that
theme, or do they think about it at all?
JOE TORRE: Well, we're the World Champs. I think that's the way people look at us.
We've done well over the last few years. Again, that doesn't mean that we assume we're
going to win. We know we have a fight on our hands with the Texas Rangers, and we're so
familiar with each other. We had scouting reports today, and as we speak now, the players
are in meetings going over reports. But they're telling us nothing that we don't already
know about them. They know everything about us; we know everybody about them. And we
respect each other a great deal, and it's going to come down to who's going to execute the
best. I feel good about my club because even though we hadn't clinched the division, I
felt that we were sort of daydreaming somewhere, and we got through it and won the
division and had the best record in the League. But I sensed a relaxation today during
batting practice that they're ready for this thing to start, and I'm sure Texas feels the
same way. They went out to Anaheim, swept over there. I'm sure they were looking. They
really weren't crazy about having to go to the west coast and come back to the east coast.
Not that they're going to be tired, but they were ready to get it started, too. I think
it's going to be a good series.
End of FastScripts