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October 9, 1999

Ramon Martinez

Kent Mercker


Q. Kent, what kind of post-season experience from the Braves will maybe help you coming into the game tomorrow?

KENT MERCKER: I think any time you've been around the playoff teams, as many as I've had, I've been fortunate to be around them, I think you know what to block out, things, crowds, and just putting too much emphasis on the game, I think. I mean you see enough of them, you realize they're baseball games, and you have to pitch just as you would if it were April.

Q. Kent, when you were in Cleveland for that brief time, you had some sort of arm problem, right? Is that basically why it didn't work out? You weren't able to throw hard?

KENT MERCKER: I wish I had an arm problem that year. I was bad that year.

Q. But your velocity?

KENT MERCKER: Yeah, Baltimore I got off to a good start. Mechanically they tried to change some things that didn't work out for me, I was throwing about 80 miles an hour, 81 miles an hour. And so that was -- no arm problems though.

Q. Kent, how do you feel now, and two weeks ago when you were on the disabled list did you think that tomorrow you would have a chance to do that?

KENT MERCKER: Health-wise, I'm fine. I mean I still feel it a little bit, but it's nothing that's going to affect my delivery or my mechanics. And two weeks ago, I was just hoping we made the playoffs, and two days ago I was hoping I'd get to pitch tomorrow, and now I do. So I'm looking forward to it. And plan on doing well.

Q. Ramon, talk about your performance and how you felt tonight.

RAMON MARTINEZ: Well, it was a great game, this one. We got the first one, now we have to work for tomorrow. So I hope we win tomorrow, and then we'll see what happens.

Q. Can you talk about how you felt physically, how, you know, what you felt, your pitchers, what worked, what wasn't working? Also, the atmosphere of pitching at Fenway Park in this playoff game.

RAMON MARTINEZ: Well, I feel great. I mean, it was very exciting because, I mean, every pitch that I threw, it was like, you know, it was exciting. And I felt great the whole game, the time that I was out there. And we got the chance to, you know, get the chance to give the guys to score some runs. We got those runs. And it feels good.

Q. Did Pedro say anything to you after you came off, when you were done?

RAMON MARTINEZ: Well, he just tell me great job. Like the other guys. And he was very, very happy.

Q. Kent, when you did not stay with the Indians when they were in the playoffs, were you upset with them, or what was the situation exactly?

KENT MERCKER: I had been there two months, and, no, I'm not upset. There's no bad blood between me and them. Manager picks his roster, picks the 25 guys he feels are going to give his team the best chance to win, and I might have been 26th or 35th, I'm not sure. But that's their decision. I wasn't upset. Yeah, I would have had loved to have played and been a part of it, but I wasn't given that chance. There's no bad blood between us.

Q. Ramon, a year ago, could you even picture yourself or dream of yourself pitching in this kind of setting and being able to contribute like you did tonight?

RAMON MARTINEZ: Well, last year I was at the playoffs here when I watched my brother pitch, and well, I didn't think that I would be here with the Red Sox at that time. But once I sign over here, they made it last year, and then the chance that we had this year, so at that time I didn't think that I would be pitching in the playoff. But once the season start and we were doing well, so it was a chance that I was thinking about.

Q. I mean given the state of your arm and having to go through all the rehabilitation, did you picture yourself in this kind of setting?

RAMON MARTINEZ: Well, I wasn't. I mean, I wasn't thinking. Even like say yesterday, I got a chance and I was getting better and better. September 1st, when I got my first game, it was a short time and I got this chance to pitch and prove that I can pitch, and here I am. I wasn't thinking about it, but once there is a chance, you take advantage of it.

Q. Kent, do you feel tomorrow may be one of the, if not, the most important games in your career so far?

KENT MERCKER: There's no question. I mean, there too, I can't go home and worry about it. Yeah, it's the biggest game I've ever pitched in. But I can't approach it or come in tomorrow morning or night, depending what the Yankees do, and approach it like it's any bigger than it is. The plate's going to still be the same distance it is in April or May or June. If I make good pitches, you know, I can be successful. So I can't overemphasize how big the game is. I mean I know it's a big game. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't a big game talking to you guys. But I just got to, I think the toughest part is the adrenaline part where if you go out there and you try to be too aggressive and you -- 'cause you're going to feel great in games like this and you don't stay within yourself is when you get in trouble. So I just have to approach it like it's any normal game, and bury in the back of my mind that it's the biggest game of my life at the same time. Hopefully I can balance that out and do well.

Q. Kent, how did you get to the level you're pitching now. When you left Cleveland, you were throwing 80, 81 miles an hour. What did you do to get back to where you are now?

KENT MERCKER: I took Andro like McGwire. No. (Laughter.) It was a matter of -- I had a weak arm from being in Atlanta. It was a situation where we threw every day, and some people think the more you throw, the worse your arm gets or the sorer it gets, but it's just the opposite for me. I wasn't throwing as much as I did. I wasn't playing long toss. In the last three years I've gone back to basically the program I had in Atlanta, and subsequently my arm strength came back and I've been able to pitch with more effectiveness. Tell Mark I was kidding, too. But, no, it's just from using my arm. I wasn't using it enough, and now I am.

End of FastScripts….

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