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October 24, 2003

Joe Torre


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Joe Torre.

Q. You haven't been in this position, down 3-2, especially in a World Series in a while. But who better to hand the ball over to than Andy Pettitte?

JOE TORRE: There's no question. (Inaudible) The most important decision you could ever make is who to pitch. I don't have to make that decision. You're right, Andy has picked us up so many times in this situation after we've lost a game. Happened a couple of times this postseason, after losing Game 1. You trust him. Not that he's not gonna be excited about it and probably under a lot of pressure, but he's handled it in the past. We look for him to carry again tomorrow.

Q. I don't know if "predicament" is the right word. Can you reflect on what the reasons are, you're down 3-2? Is it specific individuals? Is it overall hitting? Runners in scoring position? What are the reasons?

JOE TORRE: You know, I'm not, as I said before, I'm not one to place blame, but you have to give credit, too. We've lost three games, but the Marlins have won three games. They've battled. We tied that game the other night in the ninth inning, which was a huge lift for us. We had an opportunity to knock in a go-ahead run, but we weren't able to do it. Again, we handle it all year long. It's been pretty much the same thing with our offense, we've been in and out and probably very inconsistent in scoring runs regularly. What carried us most of the season is when we hit a low-scoring game, we feel we're at an advantage because of our pitching. So I can't really say why we're down 3-2 other than to say that the Marlins have kept coming at us. They have not given us anything defensively. I think that's a big plus for them. They made an error yesterday, it may have led to a run we scored early, but that was the extent of their defensive problems. That's basically what these teams are made of. They don't give much away.

Q. Were you surprised by Florida's decision to go with Beckett in 6 and Pavano in 7? Over your years in the game, how has pitching pitchers on short rest and philosophy changed, in your mind?

JOE TORRE: Well, we've done it. You get to postseason, there's really... Being tired isn't really a problem, in my mind. I think you're running on emotion at this point in time. And Jack doing that, I can understand he wants to ride the hot hand and put the pressure on us. That's what managing is all about, especially when you're dealing with a one-game lead and you have two guys that pitch very well and you want them, if there is seven games, to have them both involved. As far as short rest, when you have two games left in the postseason, you have those two guys and everybody else following them. For me, he certainly wants to get out to a good start, hopefully shut us down and maybe build on something. I really don't think short rest really comes into play much. We did it with Andy and Wells earlier this series and they both pitched well. So, again, I think this time of year it's mostly emotions.

Q. Will Soriano be back in the line-up for Game 6? If so, where? Do you expect to see better swings out of him with a day off and yesterday not playing very much?

JOE TORRE: Well, again, my thoughts are that I'd like to have him back in the line-up, but I've given my head a day off today. I really didn't want to think about it. I told him yesterday he wasn't gonna play; with the day off yesterday, with the day off today, he can come back with a clean slate. We'll talk tomorrow. I'll see if I can read how he's doing. Again, I think he's just pressing. When you go up against Game 6 and it's an elimination game, it doesn't make it any more relaxing. I'm just gonna really try not to think a great deal about it today and go in there tomorrow and make a decision. I certainly want him in the line-up because of how explosive he's been for us all year. And, again, with the ability to hit a ball out of the ballpark, he'd be a big plus. I'm just gonna wait until tomorrow.

Q. How much do you know at this point about the state of your bullpen and specifically whether you could use Contreras tomorrow?

JOE TORRE: Well, as I say, when you get to an elimination game, everybody's hands are up. Contreras, I think was 65 or 66 pitches yesterday. Day off today. He's been pretty durable since he's come back off the disabled list. My guess would be he would be available not for any long period of time, but I think he could probably get us through an inning, maybe two. But everybody else, you know, all hands on deck, so to speak. We certainly have to play it one game at a time. We certainly can't be looking forward to Game 7 until we win Game 6.

Q. Is Giambi back in as the DH? Will you have Wells available for an inning somewhere, or is he done for the series?

JOE TORRE: Well, David Wells had a tough time carrying his luggage off the bus last night. My guess would be that he wouldn't be available tomorrow. Again, he's dealt with this back problem for a very long time. And, again, I don't know if I mentioned this, his workday in between his two starts was terrific. I mean, he had no hint of what happened yesterday. So it wouldn't surprise me that, for Game 7, he could be available - not probably, but could be.

Q. How about Giambi?

JOE TORRE: Giambi, I'm hopeful that he'll be fine. I'm gonna DH him tomorrow; that's my thought right now. And last night, the home run, I don't know, hopefully that gives him a little shot in the arm because he's been struggling, again, trying to do too much, in my mind. That's easy for me to say because I don't have to get up in the batter's box.

Q. What did you see in Josh Beckett in Game 3 that impressed you?

JOE TORRE: Josh Beckett, before I saw him in person, he impressed me watching him pitch in that Cubs series. I thought he came up big, volunteered for a very tough situation after pitching a great game in Florida then giving Jack that great outing in the last game. Sort of reminded you of Pedro coming out of the bullpen against Cleveland a few years ago. It was a big emotional lift for his team. And, again, after pitching like that in those two games, everybody expects to see good things. I think a mark of a potentially great pitcher is how he responded. Even though we'd won the ball game, I thought he pitched very well against us. He's a tough guy. It just looks like (inaudible) and throws a lot of strikes.

Q. Since your tenure here, you haven't seen a visiting team celebrate a postseason clinch on your field. What would you hope the Yankee fans would provide you with tomorrow and possibly Saturday?

JOE TORRE: Well, their fans were very noisy yesterday. I mean, and the day before and the day before that. We feel very comfortable at home, of course we're not comfortable being down 3-2, the last thing we want to be concerned about is having the other team celebrate on our turf. That's not our motivation. Our motivation is to win, not to keep from losing. Hopefully our fans are as big for us tomorrow as they've been in the past and I expect they will be.

Q. You said all hands on deck tomorrow. Does that include Clemens?

JOE TORRE: No, I don't think so. I take that back for Roger. I looked at Game 7 for him. He is 41. I know I said the thing about emotions, but I know Roger would certainly want to be available for us tomorrow, and it would have to really be an extreme condition for me to think that he would be. As I say, Roger was out there last night, trying to get everybody going, and he certainly knows that the next time, for sure, that he picks up the ball will be the last time. But I don't sense tomorrow. I think more towards Game 7.

Q. In terms of what you were told to expect from the Marlins, are they the team that you anticipated seeing? Are there things about them that didn't come across in the paperwork that you found out about them from playing?

JOE TORRE: No, I think everything our scouts -- our scouts gave us a good read. We needed to pitch well against them. We needed to do a good job with the top of the batting order. Of course, the bottom of the batting order are the people who beat us the last two games - Gonzalez, who we had handled very well in the first few games, came up big with the home run the other night and of course the extra base hit yesterday night. And of course, Brad Penny. We didn't talk about how to pitch him other than he swung the bat real well. He got a high fastball to hit and he hit the ball hard. But I don't think there's anything that we have seen from them that we did not expect to see both when we watched their games on TV, plus how thorough our scouts have been.

Q. Based on the success that the Yankees have had in October at Yankee Stadium, do you buy into what Jeter was pushing after Game 7, there might be something supernatural at work?

JOE TORRE: Do we have something going for us at Yankee Stadium?

THE MODERATOR: Jeter mentioned there are ghosts here. Do you buy into that?

JOE TORRE: I do buy that. I felt that the first day I walked into the stadium. Probably never being a Yankee fan in my life and then having put on the pin stripes, you certainly felt different about it. Of course you have Yogi sitting on your shoulder telling you about all these things that happened here. Jeter, I mean Jeter, he's gonna be part of this, the fabric of this stadium when he hangs them up; there's no question. He has performed in postseason and he has a sense -- he has a nose for it. I certainly would like to believe that that could be an extra advantage we have. I know one thing, the ballclub, our ballclub has done what we're supposed to do. We just keep fighting until the game is over. I mean, the last two days were a great indication of, "Yeah, I'm proud of them." But it's nothing I didn't expect.

Q. Just thinking back to Game 5 for a second, considering how Wells struggled to get through his bullpen session, as Mel was saying last night, was there any thought of getting Andy back? I know he left for New York. But of anybody else making that start knowing how much of a struggle it would be for Wells?

JOE TORRE: Last night, no, we really didn't anticipate that, to be perfectly honest, because of his workday in between. Again, he's had issues at times where he has warmed up and you sort of keep your fingers crossed. But last night was the first time he wasn't able to. I know right at game time, Mike Mussina came up to me, he asked me if I wanted him to pitch. I just said no to him. I know he had thrown earlier in the day, Mel and I talked about that, letting him get his throwing in. But, no, we had no one else. If he didn't start last night, it was either gonna be Hammond or Contreras. That was just obviously a last-minute decision. When he went out there for the first inning, we scored a run, we figured let's send Contreras out there and drain what we can from him. He had a bad second inning and that was the difference in the ball game.

Q. Are there any medical evaluations of Wells or Giambi today?

JOE TORRE: I haven't heard any. I know, as I said, we got to the ballpark I guess this morning about 4-something. Wells was trying to navigate from the bus to the parking lot with a suitcase. It wasn't very pretty. As far as Giambi, I think this is something that's been nagging. Probably the two days he had to play first base made it a lot worse. But there's nothing new that I know today.

Q. The ghosts of Yankee Stadium would only seem to work if the other team is aware of them. The Marlins don't seem to care about them, probably out of ignorance. Does that work for them?

JOE TORRE: Well, the only thing is, hopefully they're not working out today and we can send them over there to sit in their clubhouse (laughing). No, obviously, I mean, the whole "ghosts" and "mystique," it certainly helps if the other team looks around and says, "Wow!" But what that ballclub has been through, and I give Jack McKeon so much credit for this, to win in Wrigley Field, you talk about having to win two games in very tough conditions; that was a great test for them against the Giants. They beat us the first game of this series. The mystique or the ghosts, sure, you'd like it to affect the other team. But, again, on the other hand, we'd like to believe that we feel that it helps us. So it's something, ghosts aside, it still comes down to who's gonna pitch the best and who's gonna work hard and who's gonna get a bounce going their way.

End of FastScripts...

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