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October 13, 2007

Trot Nixon

Eric Wedge


Q. Eric, can you talk about tenth inning. You've got their 3, 4, 5 guys coming up, where one swing puts them up 2-0, now you go home with the win. How is that for you?
ERIC WEDGE: That's usually how it is. You're right in the middle of it right when you want to be more times than not. Our bullpen did a fantastic job. Fausto really had to work hard today. When you're in extra innings, particularly on the road, you're talking about having to get six outs versus their three when you're into extra innings. You've really got to try to push the ballgame and keep them down, and our bullpen did a great job with that.

Q. Trot, could you talk about that at-bat?
TROT NIXON: Well, I mean, it was a situation where obviously Lopez is -- not a very comfortable at-bat for left-handers, dropping down submarine. I felt good. I was excited to finally get in there at 1:30 in the morning (laughter). It was gratifying to me, but the fact that I've struggled at times against left-handers. But I felt good, I felt like the first pitch I saw, I saw real well.
You know, for just some reason I just felt a calmness out there in the batter's box. I think if you can keep your emotions in check in those situations like that, you've probably got a little bit better chance, and I was fortunate. I didn't hit it hard but I hit it where I needed to and I was able to get Grady in there.

Q. Eric, you were talking about the bullpen. Mastny working the heart of the order really made that possible.
ERIC WEDGE: Well, it did. That's where you really have to work to extend the ballgame. In particular, again, I can't stress enough when you're in extra innings on the road it's twice as tough.
Mastny was able to get in there last night for the first time in a couple weeks. Threw a couple innings. I think that really helped him in regard to how he pitched tonight. Same thing with Borowski, we got him in there last night. Betancourt, well beyond the call of duty tonight with the way he pitched. You work hard to pitch the ballgame so you can give a player like Trot Nixon a chance to ultimately give you the lead, and then you've got your closer down there, which we ultimately did. We were able to take it a little bit further than that, but great effort and people stepped up, and it was great to see.

Q. Trot, obviously you're a very popular player in this building. Now that you did what you did, do you think you've kind of crossed over to the dark side now?
TROT NIXON: Yeah, I think we all know how a player can cross over to the dark side, but I fully expect that I'm the enemy coming in here. You know, I had some great years here in Boston, and I'm very grateful to have the opportunity to play here. But I'm also grateful to have the opportunity to play here in Cleveland, considering what happened to me in the off-season.
Whether playing time has been cut or not, I feel it's important for me to keep these guys upbeat. This is a great opportunity, playing in the postseason. I'm so proud of these guys for the way that they've persevered throughout the entire year. No one was picking us to win, the way they persevered in New York in a hostile atmosphere, and also coming in here to Fenway Park. We didn't play the way we wanted to the first night. Maybe we had some big eyes out there. But I think they learned a lot in that first game and were able to come out tonight against a top flight pitcher like Curt Schilling and get after it a little bit.
That's special when you've got a young ballclub because sometimes they might not be smart enough to realize, oh, where are we at right now. They're just worried about playing baseball, and they're having fun at it.
You know, with me, I know from past experiences when you have a great clubhouse camaraderie, it's fun to come to the clubhouse, good things can happen on the field. And that's the one thing that I want to always see in clubhouses that I'm at, and that's what this clubhouse has been the entire year, from top to bottom, and it's just exciting to come back from a game like we did last night and play the way we did tonight.

Q. You pinch-ran for Hafner, did you envision that his spot might come around again? What was your thinking there?
ERIC WEDGE: Well, again, it's more about us being on the road and late in the ballgame. I mean, we knew we were running thin in our bullpen, and I felt like if we could get a runner to second base, we're one single away from taking the lead there. We were able to get Barfield there. I knew they were going to walk Victor, but in that particular match-up with Garko, I felt pretty good about it. He hit the ball hard. It's tough to get a ball past that third baseman from Boston, Lowell, he's one of the best in the game defensively out there. We just missed it, but you always have to work hard to try to win the ballgame. You can't be defensive about it, and you're not trying not to lose. You're sure as hell not going to do that on the road. We did what we wanted to do, we were just probably a few feet away from ultimately scoring that run. You can't worry about two or three innings beyond that once you get in the eighth, ninth inning. If we couldn't get Barfield to second base, I would have thought about it again, but I felt like we could, and we did.

Q. It seems like you go with everything, Trot just said, big smile on your face. What has he meant to this team and especially your thought process?
ERIC WEDGE: Well, he's given us something and I think he's taught a lot of our young players what it means to be a leader. If you're going to be a leader, it's strength and personality, it's presence, you've got to be vocal, you've got to be strongest when other people are sometimes at their weakest, and you've got to pick people up. And Trot's season this year, whether he's playing or he's not playing, he's been very consistent in that clubhouse, on that bench, and I think that you talk to some of our players, and we've always looked for leadership here, and we've been trying to develop these core players into leaders, and I think they've come a long way, but I think what Trot has done is put them over the top. Victor Martinez, C.C., up the middle, Grady Sizemore, Haf, some of these guys that have been here. You've got to have the presence and personality to do that, and he's really given us a big boost with that this year, and it's helped us toughen up a little bit.
That was something that we really needed to do because we've got a lot of tough ball players in there, but in order for it to rise to the surface, sometimes you need a little boost, and I know that Trot has been a huge influence on a lot of our players.

Q. Is the momentum now in the Indians' favor?
ERIC WEDGE: It's the postseason. It's one game, it was a big win for us to come out here with the split. We've got the day off tomorrow and we'll be ready to play the next day.

Q. You split, Eric, but without getting the kind of starting pitching performances you might have expected, in a way is that sort of a positive?
ERIC WEDGE: Like Trot was talking about, these guys persevere, they find a way to get it done. We don't just win with one area of the club or another area of the club. We find multiple ways to win. We've got some consistency with all areas of our club, and that's what we have to have, whether it's anybody 1 through 9 in the lineup or the bullpen, look at Mastny and Lewis, examples that they were tonight, our starting pitching, young kid like Aaron Lackey comes up and gives us the effort he did this year, Asdrubal Cabrera, I can keep going on and on. We've had a lot of players contribute to it, so we can win in multiple fashion. I think you saw that tonight.

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