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October 6, 2004

Kevin Brown


Q. What role does emotion play for you in preparing to walk out on the mound on Friday, do you try to get hyped up or do you try to keep your emotions in check? What role does that play with you?

KEVIN BROWN: Emotions have played a large part in my game since the time I started playing. I think for a long time, it was trying to learn how to control them and use them effectively and I think that happened and I got better. Then in the more recent times it's been being able to try and use the emotion during the periods of time that I was hurt. There were a couple of years there where I was pitching -- the fact of the matter is, I was in a lot of pain. I pitched, I still went out there and tried to do everything I could to give the team a chance to win, and trying to use the emotions and trying to use the pain itself, I guess, to push you. That was something that I did a pretty good job there for a while. Obviously, this year, there was some added frustration with what happened early on, being sick for so long and then getting hurt again. I didn't do as good of a job as using it in a positive manner.

Q. How have you felt physically since the start in Toronto and is it still kind of touch-and-go, with your back?

KEVIN BROWN: Well, the fact of the matter; you know, my back is going to be a part of my life at least until this off-season where I'm sure I'll have some time to hopefully put it back to where it was last season. Again, that's part of the frustration level is knowing that anybody who has been through back surgery knows what I'm talking about. If you feel like you get a step up on it and you think you've put it in the past and have it flare back up on you, you know, it's something that's not a pleasant experience. That's really kind of where things were at this year, ever since I walked off the mound that time. And it will be a part of me, and, you know, I will simply do as good of a job as I can, hopefully a better job and more like what I did, again, in terms of being able to manage it and harness it while continuing to try to improve the function. I mean, pain is one thing; function is another. If you've got pain and you can still go out and throw the ball like you want to and get people out, obviously, you know, it's easier to manage. You know, you still have the reward there for dealing with the pain. That's what I dealt with for quite some time in the past and that's what I've got to do again here.

Q. Just what did it mean to you to get this start, what did you think when they told you and how much do you think that you can give them tomorrow?

KEVIN BROWN: Well, it won't be tomorrow. I don't really have limitations. I'm not really going out there thinking, okay, one hundred pitches or whatever. Hopefully it's nine innings. It would be great if that happened. Obviously for that to happen, we've got to have a nice lead, because the way our bullpen; you're not going to be around for those last few innings if it's a tight ballgame. But, that being said, you know, the thing I'm going to do is the same approach that I have every game, which is try and walk out there every inning and get three outs before they get a run across the board.

Q. What did it mean to you when Joe and Mel told you?

KEVIN BROWN: Obviously, it's a great honor. To have been through what I've been through this year, and to have an opportunity to go out and contribute at this point in time, you know, I appreciate it, I really do. I think a lot of people in the clubhouse know now what I've been through this year that may not have known beforehand, but things kind of came to light. And I appreciate the opportunity. It was a while there I wasn't sure I was going to be able to get out of bed to get back on the field, so to have an opportunity here in October, you know, to go out there and be a part of this team again, it's great. I just hope it's on the backdrop of a win tonight.

Q. Will pitching in a climate-controlled dome help you as compared to being out in the cold?

KEVIN BROWN: I don't really think it makes much difference, really. I think if you can get your body loose and get it going that day, once you get to that point, your activity level and all really helps you maintain that more so than the ambient temperature around you. I don't think it's that big of a deal.

Q. Where your back is now, is off-season surgery a possibility with it?

KEVIN BROWN: You know, really, that would be speculation. I think at this point in time, it's we have to get through this season, hopefully doing a good job from here out and reevaluate it at one time. It will be, I'm sure, a series of tests to see exactly where things stand, and again, the thing you've got to understand, too, I don't know what your experience is, once you have back surgery, your diagnostic tests aren't necessarily as easy to read. You have scar tissue, you have that kind of stuff going on, so it's not as easy to tell, it's not as cut and dried sometimes as it is before that.

Q. Can you just kind of describe kind of the pain you feel in your back, how crippling it is?

KEVIN BROWN: I won't even brother trying. It doesn't matter. Pain, if I can still function properly and still go out there and throw the ball the way I want to throw it, no one has to deal with the pain but me. It's my responsibility and my burden to bear. Trying to describe it, I think, again, I never really understood until I went through it. When you have an arm problem, you know, it may affect your throwing, but you can live a pretty normal life. But obviously when a back is involved, it can affect every part of your life on and off the field. Again, the big thing is, despite whatever you're feeling, being able to go out and throw the ball. And I've done it in the past and I've done it quite well. I've had some really good years when my back really bothered me. So that's what I'm going to keep in mind and try to do everything I can to repeat that.

Q. Does your mindset change at all facing a club like the Twins which is more speed-oriented, more hit-and-run, bunting and whatnot versus a station-to-station club? How does that affect, if at all, your approach on the mound?

KEVIN BROWN: Well, I think it doesn't really change what your strengths and weaknesses are. Obviously, you know we have scouting reports for a reason. We want to know what the other team's strengths are, also, and you try and find a way to mix-and-match and do what you can to minimize their effectiveness. And in doing that, sure, I mean, you're going to do things differently than what you would do if you were facing a team that was strictly a home-run-hitting team, station-to-station like you're saying. But you know those individual adjustments that you make are numerous and too varied to really try to go into.

Q. After the start against the Red Sox, Mel had said that he thought part of the problem was that physically you weren't at the point where you could in the upper part of the strike zone blow the ball by people at 95; that you had to keep it low. Do you agree where you are now ten days later with that assessment?

KEVIN BROWN: Well, I don't think -- that was definitely the case that day. It was not by design that I was trying to throw the ball by people that day. It was simply that my body on that day was not allowing me to move the way I wanted to move to put the ball in the lower part of the strike zone with any movement. Again, you talk about function, and that was a day where function was non-existent for me, and it was quite different than what it had been obviously a couple of days before when I had thrown on the side and threw well enough that they gave me that opportunity. You know, I don't think -- they didn't just walk out there and say, okay, it looks like he's terrible on the side; let's give him a shot anyhow. They saw something that they thought was positive enough to give me the ball on that day. And obviously, you know, whatever reason that day, you have -- like I say, you have good days and you have bad days. I don't care, when you're 100% healthy. And obviously that was a bad day for me physically. You know, turned out to be a very bad day on the field.

End of FastScripts...

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