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October 5, 1999

Todd Stottlemyre


Q. Todd, your emotions coming into your start tomorrow, compared to the emotions coming off the rehab; any similarities?

TODD STOTTLEMYRE: Not really. I think that, obviously, I'm real thankful to be in this position where back on May 18th, May 19th, May 20th, those days, so much uncertainty of whether I'd ever pitch again or whether I'd ever pitch in the big leagues again. This is special. This is a special club, and I'm thankful to be a part of it, and obviously, it's real thankful to be able to have this opportunity. And I really look at it as an opportunity, just for the simple sake I didn't know if I was ever going to pitch again. So, it's special.

Q. How do you feel right now, Todd?

TODD STOTTLEMYRE: Good. What do you want to relate to?

Q. Compared to how you feel when you're at your best, feeling physically perfect?

TODD STOTTLEMYRE: It's kind of amazing. My arm feels great. I feel like that at times since I've been back, I've thrown the ball as well, maybe better than I did before. My work habits are different. I really have to concentrate on mechanics a lot. I'm still doing the same types of things that I did when I was on the DL and I'm still rehabing, and I'm still strengthening and trying to maintain that strength. But on game days, I'm able to let it go and feel like physically I'm throwing the ball as well as I did before. Obviously, you know, results have been on and off, but that's baseball, too.

Q. Can you give us a scouting report on what you need to do against the Mets?

TODD STOTTLEMYRE: Whatever it takes to be zero. Obviously, I'm not going to tell you how I'm going to pitch against the Mets, but I've gone through in depth and will continue to until game time. Mental preparation, I feel like at this point physically I've done everything I can do to be ready for tomorrow. It's just a matter of being executing my pitches. It's not a matter of doing anything tricky. I just have to go out and pitch my strengths.

Q. Todd, you chose not to have surgery when most players would on that type of injury. Does that show somewhat of a stubborn streak in you?

TODD STOTTLEMYRE: I think I'm pretty stubborn anyway. Hard-headed, and been called a lot of different things. I didn't do it so much to really prove any points, and wasn't looking at it from any kind of glamour side. I think that, you know, I had the decision to make, either through rehab or to go to surgery. Dr. Zeman laid out the facts in front of me. I spent some time, got a chance to see Dr. Yocum in California. Spent lengthy amount of conversations with our trainers back in May where time was really on my side where if I had surgery, obviously I wasn't going to be able to pitch this year. But it was early enough in the season where if I went through six weeks of rehab and started to throw and then it's to good, it wasn't like I was missing six weeks. It was going to be a great opportunity to see if I was going to be capable of pitching again. And God willing, I've been able to do it and got through. It but it's probably a miracle and medically speaking, if you look at my shoulder, maybe I shouldn't be pitching. But I am, and I feel good and my arm feels strong and my mind is sound, and I'm able to go out there every fifth day and compete as hard as I can compete.

Q. What's on the agenda for you in the winner, rest or possibility of surgery?

TODD STOTTLEMYRE: Yeah, one of the reasons I tried to stay away from surgery if it was at all possible and that was going to depend on throwing -- but after, like I say, sitting down with the doctor, they were talking 18, 24 months. I'm 34 years old. I felt it was my job, and I felt that it was, you know, it was my job to do everything that I could to get back on the field. They pay me to pitch, and so I really looked at the rehab that it was my job to not only give myself, but the organization, every opportunity to be back on the field. As far as surgery this winter, I'm going to probably take a couple weeks off, maybe a month off and I'll have to continue rehab, just like as I did have surgery. But the idea and the concept now is to stay strong and get as much strength as I can and go through the winter in a rehab situation, and that will be something that I'll probably have to carry through the rest of my career.

Q. Would you say it was almost a miracle that you were pitching?

TODD STOTTLEMYRE: I feel like I've always had great respect for the game and for people that have played the game and played before me. But I take each start as, I think, it's really special. The way I look at it is the way I approach each one, every time I get an opportunity to put on a major league uniform, that's a special day. That's one more day going back to May 20th, not knowing if it would ever happen again. Obviously, every time I take the mound, it would be fair to say that maybe I'm in an underdog situation maybe because of the medical reasons. But I feel like I can also use that as great internal motivation mentally to try to overcome.

Q. Was there ever a point where you thought your career was over?

TODD STOTTLEMYRE: Yeah. I thought there was a real good possibility after learning what the condition was. But the first six weeks of my rehab, not knowing what it was going to feel like after all the weight training and that sort of thing, not picking up the baseball after five or six weeks and the thought process of: If I did have to go through surgery rebound maybe a year and a half, two years they still said there was no guarantee I felt like for the first time in my life, maybe this is it, maybe it's over. I just woke up every day and said, "I'm going to pitch again" every morning, I look in the mirror, you're going to it. I'm going to find a way to pitch again. For some reason, obviously the trainers have worked numerous hours with me. Mark Connors spent numerous hours with me; doctors have been unbelievable here in the organization. I've had a great amount of support to be able to get to this position.

Q. What exactly is the condition?

TODD STOTTLEMYRE: I've got a tear in my rotator cuff and I have a tear in the labrum. They call them slight tears.

Q. Talk about what kind of influence your father has been on you, not only during the injury period but during your career?

TODD STOTTLEMYRE: Pops is my best friend in life, him and my brother. I think at the time of the injury I called hem and told him what direction I felt like I was going to head in and what he thought about it. He said it's going to be a lot of hard work, but you'll find a way to have fun in that hard work. And I think that him knowing me the best and knowing my stubbornness and hard-headedness and want to go get back on the field so bad. And he was cautious using his words: Make sure if I did get the opportunity to go back, just make sure that my arm was pain free so that I didn't do something that could damage it that surgery could have prevented and had the opportunity to get back out. So he was very supportive, but at the same time, I think cautious.

Q. Have you had a chance to talk to your dad in the last couple days about your start?

TODD STOTTLEMYRE: The funny thing about postseason is everybody wants to know what Pops is doing. I called him when they clinched and that sort of thing. Same old story: We hope we end up at the finish line together some way.

End of FastScripts….

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