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October 7, 2004

Michael Cuddyear


Q. How do you shake off the effects of a really difficult loss like last night?

MICHAEL CUDDYER: You know, it's tough. Last night was a tough loss. But we were able to come out of Yankee Stadium and able to split, come in here with two games to play with, in essence, home field advantage because it's a tied series right now, so today it was a good day off, got in late last night, got some rest and, hopefully, come in here tomorrow ready to play.

Q. How much of an advantage is this field for you guys? Do you really feel that confident on it, knowing all the quirks about the turf and so on and so forth?

MICHAEL CUDDYER: For sure. Yeah, this is a tough place to come in if you are not used to playing here, with the roof, the Astro turf, field turf. You know, and this tenth man, the fans. I mean, it's loud, it gets loud in here. And if you are not used to it, it can be overwhelming, so we are excited to come in here and play. We know what to expect, we know what it's like, and I feel like we get that last at-bat this time, so --

Q. You were talking last night a little bit about the mystique of the Yankees and Yankee Stadium and all. Do you have to make a conscious effort to put that out of your mind? Is it easier -- you know, that it's not in Yankee Stadium but it is still the Yankees?

MICHAEL CUDDYER: Yeah. It's definitely -- whenever you think of that mystique and the Yankees, you do, Yankee Stadium comes along with it. And seeing as we are here in the Metrodome, you know, it is still the Yankees but you are not in Yankee Stadium. You don't have all that history in there and the ghosts that some people call it, so -- and, you know, we are looking forward to coming in here and playing at home field, and we are excited about it, and we just got to go out there as a team and play our baseball game, and if we do that, I think we will be all right.

Q. You have had a real good first two games swinging the bat. What's been really working for you?

MICHAEL CUDDYER: Well, there is no fear. You know, I am just going out there and trying to contribute. When playoffs start, all egos go out the door. You just look to do anything you can to help the team win. And I have been able to get up in some situations where I have had that opportunity. Last night I was up with the runner in scoring position, I was able to get a knock. You want to do everything you can to help the team win and there is really -- there is no pressure. I mean, it's. Easier said than done, but it's extra baseball. It's playoff baseball, it's bonus baseball. You just got to go out there and have fun with it and that's all you can do and that's what I have tried to do.

Q. Michael, how was the flight home last night and did Gardy have any words of wisdom after a difficult loss like that?

MICHAEL CUDDYER: It was long. I think most guys were so tired that they slept most of the time, they didn't have time to think about anything, we just slept. But yesterday was the an emotional day, emotional roller coaster, and I think it took a lot out of us, drained us a little bit, so that flight was kind of subdued, was real quiet, dark, and a lot of people were trying to catch up on some sleep.

Q. Michael, it seems like most often when you are in the playoffs you are playing against a team that maybe has that dominant starting pitcher like Clemens, whatever. What has that done for your team's confidence now for really the first time, to know that you have the pitcher that other teams fear and, quite frankly, probably nobody really wanted to play the Twins in a best of 5 in the first round?

MICHAEL CUDDYER: We definitely have confidence coming into this series. You know, we know we have got, arguably, the best starting rotation in baseball. We have got guys that are going to go out there and battle. We got, arguably, the best pitcher in baseball, Johan, so we definitely feel comfortable coming into this series. And things haven't changed. We know that we still have Johan and Radke will come back, we have Silva tomorrow night, who has been unbelievable before, especially late down the stretch, so we feel very confident about these coming up games.

Q. Hi, Mike. In a big game like last night your manager is going to get a little second-guessed for how he played the end of the game. What's his instinct been like with your team this year? How much do you guys trust what he does out there and the moves that he makes?

MICHAEL CUDDYER: He is our leader, so we definitely trust him and stand behind everything that he decides. Last night Joe is our best guy in the bullpen, he has been there for us all year, we have ridden his back the whole year, so we are going to go with him. Unfortunately, it didn't work out, but, you know, still, you take your chances with that guy on the mound.

End of FastScripts...

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