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October 10, 2006

Willie Randolph


Q. Can you just update us on Cliff's status and when and if you've made a decision.
WILLIE RANDOLPH: He had a nice little workout, swung the bat well in BP, and we're going to just wait until tomorrow to decide when he comes in. We have until tomorrow morning at ten o'clock to make our decision, so we'll wait until tomorrow morning and see if he's on the roster.

Q. What else can change in that time?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: See how he feels, how he feels physically. He had a nice little workout. I'm optimistic it will work out fine. We have time to wait, see how he feels when he gets up tomorrow morning. We don't anticipate any setbacks or anything like that, but might as well take the opportunity to wait and see before we make a decision on that.

Q. The condition he's in now, can you put him on the roster, if he feels tomorrow morning like this now?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: I haven't talked to him. He came off the field and I had meetings with Omar and I haven't talked to him.

Q. How much more comfortable does Carlos Beltrán look compared to last year and how much do you attribute that to Carlos Delgado?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: I've been asked this question many times. Carlos was going to have a big year because he's very, very talented and I'm sure having a guy like Delgado around, like any good teammate, helps the comfort level.
Last year was obviously a transition period for him. He's too talented, and a lot more healthy, to not have a good year this year. So I think this is really all about Carlos just being a lot more settled in his environment, a lot more comfortable with the team and just being healthy. He's too talented to have had the off year he had last year or the year that I'm sure he didn't expect he was going to have. So really this is just having good people around him, like Carlos and Jose Reyes and guys like that do well in front of him. It's all part of a trickle-down effect; when you have good people and improve your ballclub, it takes a little pressure off you and he can go out and perform like he's supposed to.

Q. With as successful as the bullpen was, is there a concern about it being overworked in the next round?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: No. Two or three days off is a lot of time to rest up. We're ready to go.

Q. I know every circumstance is different, but I'd like to ask you about a scenario that showed up here earlier in the season when St. Louis was in town. If there's two on, and an open base, and Albert Pujols comes up, will you now be more inclined to pitch to him or walk him?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: You don't want the big boy to hurt you or anything like that, so that's a good possibility, we'll wait until we get to that point. It's safe to say he's one of the guys you don't want to hurt you. I won't etch it in stone, but yeah, if you have a situation where he can hurt you and it's a big situation, yeah, it's smart to probably walk him, yeah.

Q. Cliff was saying before that it's not a one-game series, it's seven, and he has to be available for all seven games in his own mind. How much would you expect from a player like him to say, it hurts, it doesn't hurt, I can gut it out, I'm fine.
WILLIE RANDOLPH: How much do I expect from him?

Q. In terms of talking about pain and admitting there is pain or just saying, hey, I'm fine, I can do it, the old college try, you know, whatever you want to say?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: It's an individual thing. Some guys can tolerate pain a little more or less than others, so I just take it for face value for what he says to me. I would hope that if he's not 100%, be as close as he can so he can help us win. You have 24 other guys to consider and think about.
I trust when he tells me how he feels, and then we have to make a determination on whether he fits into our roster right now as far as the big picture.
It's an individual thing. You just, you know, go by individuals and how they feel and what they say to you and you just go from there.

Q. You were talking about the comfort, Beltrán's comfort level. Some guys struggle when they come to New York and other guys struggle in the playoffs but Delgado has not struggled with either. What is it about his makeup that makes him so easily able to adjust?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Well, you know, he could just be lucky I guess. It could be something as simple as that. (Laughter.)
He's a solid guy. I've known him a long time. He's always been pretty much the same. I don't think that even guys that might seem to be comfortable and guys I might say, can handle it, will have off-years in New York. Dave Winfield is an example of that. He had a decent year for the Yankees that year but he struggled in the World Series.
You have to deal with that again on an individual basis. There's no blueprint or anything like that to who can succeed or fail in this town. It's really how good you feel and your confidence and your ability. Like I said, in some cases, being healthy and being a little bit lucky at times, also.
Carlos got off to a nice start this year. As a matter of fact, I think he can be better. So who is to say that he's had the year that he shouldn't be having anyway. When you hit what, .270 something which is okay, he might hit .300 next year. He's a guy that can make some adjustments for us, and that's a big part of winning and being where we are right now.

Q. Tony La Russa was saying that he remembers being very impressed by you in your first Spring Training with this team. In terms of the chemistry that everybody has talked about with this team this year, what specifically can you remember doing to foster that, any talks you had with guys, any times when there was tension and you broke it up, was there anything specific you can remember?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Since I've been here?

Q. Since you've been here, and especially this year.
WILLIE RANDOLPH: No, I just -- what I do, again, I'm not a psychology major of course, but I just try to communicate with my players one-on-one. I'm not going to divulge any meetings or what I said to guys. My main motivation is again, a way of just trying to get the most out of my players.
We've had meetings, we've had talks. A lot of what I do is one-on-one and very individual. We started a trend last year and started to change the culture of this ballclub, and the idea of how we play the game and the mindset, and it's kind of evolved to where we are right now. We made some changes and we brought in some people that really helped to enhance what we're trying to do, but my leadership is something that I can't describe to you. I mean, it's just something that I do. I've always done it, something I've always had. So, you know, it would be tough for me to chronicle how we got started or what we did.
This year was actually a little bit difficult because of the WBC, but we were able to in some cases touch and go one-on-one with guys that were there individually which in some cases helped us a little bit because I had a chance to not have as many guys around and was able to tap into guys individually, so that helped also.
Again, what you see is what you get with me and, I don't know, just being myself. It's really just how you communicate and how you motivate and how you lead your people, and I can't explain how I do that, I just do it.

Q. You've obviously had tremendous success in post-season as a player and as a coach, talk about what it's like the experience of managing here as you try to get to the next step?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: It's been a blast. I'm having an unbelievable time with this and to see my team come together as quick as they have, it's just been a real blessing for me and a total gas.
You know, we have fun in the clubhouse and on the field, but when it's time to play, we're very focused and intense. This is like, you know, something that I've waited for for a long time personally and to see these guys come together the way they have has just been very rewarding for me. I've said earlier, we have a long way to go and looking forward to the challenges in front of us.

Q. The Cliff situation notwithstanding, are you considering any other roster moves for tomorrow?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: No, not really. We might go back to 11 pitchers possibly, depending again on how Cliff feels. If he's not quite where we want him to be, we might add someone like Anderson Hernández or DiFelice, getting an extra body as far as an everyday player. I don't think we'll go with 12 pitchers but we'll wait and see on that. There might be one or two minor things but nothing earth-shattering.

Q. With Cliff's situation does that mean you haven't set your starting lineup yet?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: No, I haven't given the guys the lineup today. Wait and see how Cliff feels.

Q. How about the rotation, do you already have in mind exactly who is going to pitch the first four games?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Yeah, we're going to go with Glavine starting out and we're going to follow him with John Maine and Trachsel going in St. Louis and probably Oliver Perez right behind.

Q. How much the nature of the playoffs, how much does that magnify the importance of the bullpen and can you talk about Bradford possibly being the kind of guy that would come in having to face Pujols somewhere in the series?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: The bullpen is huge I think in the playoffs and winning a short series, the bullpen comes in real big. We relied on our bullpen the last years and I'm not saying that's going to be exactly how we're going to go after things this next series; it could be. They are going to be ready to go.
Bradford has been great for us all year. Obviously if we can come up with a situation where we feel like he can go after Pujols, we'll set that up. But according to the gentlemen here, we're not going to pitch to him. (Laughter.) So we might not need Bradford.
My bullpen has been outstanding all year and everyone's well rested and ready to go.

Q. I have to ask you just because it's dominated conversation so much in this town the last few days, your thoughts about Joe coming back over at the Yankees?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: I think it's great. Joe, I mean, he's done an outstanding job for the Yankees, and I didn't understand all the talk anyway. He deserves to be back. He's done tremendous things for the organization. That's outstanding. It shouldn't have been, in my mind, a thought anyway. That's just me personally.

Q. Is there one or two things that you can pinpoint, the lessons that you learned most about managing in the post-season that you may have seen from watching him?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: No. When you're in the mix yourself there, you can't really rely on what you might have learned. It's there, you know, the experiences over the years is there. But I don't really look back on, you know, in a spot where I might think, well, how so and so did that or how would so and so do that. I go by how I feel.

Q. What you have learned from watching your team over the course of the season?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Yes, I have an idea of what my people can do and try to put them in the right positions to see and reacting to what I see and what I feel at that moment.
I've been fortunate to be around a lot of great managers and coaches and players and I think that I've taken a little bit from everyone, and that's who I am. But I don't have to revert back to how does so and so do this or a situation where how would this guy handle that. Just wing it, that's all. (Smiling).

Q. Just to go back to the question about chemistry, I just want to know how much that matters. I know you've been on winning teams where not everybody was a good friend of everybody, but how much does it matter that guys get along?
WILLIE RANDOLPH: Oh, it definitely helps. I mean, we're a family. We're brothers. We're with each other every day just as much as we are with our families. You've heard that before.
It doesn't always mean that you have to have that. I mean, obviously some people might believe that winning builds chemistry and all that. It depends on the characters you have on your team and the makeup of your ballclub, how guys feel about committing to winning and buying into what you want to do. It's a collective -- again, it's an ownership that everyone has to be a part of. There always might be guys who might be selfish, but if you can get 25 guys who are unselfish and want the opportunity to experience something very, very special, that's really where the chemistry comes in because you have 25 guys who have bought into your idea, your philosophy, your approach to playing the game, and they don't really care who gets any of the, you know, the attention or the accolades.
We have a nice mix of those kind of people, and that's why I think we've been so successful so quick.

End of FastScripts...

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