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October 7, 2009

Joe Girardi


THE MODERATOR: We're going to get started with questions for Joe. Who has the first question for Joe Girardi?

Q. Joe, is there any significance to be playing the first post-season game in the new ballpark?
JOE GIRARDI: It means we had a good year. I think there's some significance. I think it's similar to somewhat playing the first game here. The 2009 team, the first team to play a playoff game.
It's obviously better if the decision comes out your way. But just says we had a good year.

Q. Joe, with the roster, can you explain a little bit to have Marte on and what benefit do you see in the third catcher?
JOE GIRARDI: With the third catcher, it's a situation if we decide to -- Molina starts a game and we pinch-hit for him late and the runs are important and we want to pinch run for Posada. That gives us that option to do that. It gives us some other options as well.
As far as adding the lefty with the lineup that Minnesota has, we thought it was beneficial to have a second left-hander. We went around and around about the guys we were going to carry and we felt that this was the best way to do our roster.

Q. Joe, do those wins against Minnesota in May in some way shape the season, the way you came from behind to win three of those ballgames in your last at-bat?
JOE GIRARDI: It tells you that the series was a lot closer than maybe what the numbers indicate. Those games could have went either way, those games that we played in May here. Minnesota is a hot team now. They played us very tough then and we expect the same thing now.

Q. Joe, could you just kind of run through how last night unfolded? Where you were watching the game? Did you guys run into a meeting room as soon as your last run was scored or how did that all come down?
JOE GIRARDI: After the workout we went upstairs, all of us; coaches, our scouts, the front office people. And there's a big room up there off the office where there's a big meeting room. That's where we sat and watched the game. Obviously a game of that length, we walked around a bit as well. But there's TVs everywhere up there, so you can be standing in a hallway and watching the game.
But as soon as the game was over, we went right and dissected Minnesota with our scouts upstairs who had been watching them for the last three weeks, four weeks. And I think I got home around 11:45.

Q. Would you agree that it was a pretty good game last night?
JOE GIRARDI: It was a great game. At one point when Detroit had taken the lead, you start thinking, "Do we start doing Detroit now?" When there was extra innings or late -- and we just waited until the game was over. But there were a lot of interesting moments when Magglio Ordoñez hit into the double play. You thought that this is the inning they're going to score. And they didn't score. Great game.

Q. You obviously played in a lot of games like that. The sudden-death element, do you think that that really does kind of bring out an extra intensity when that is essentially the game, loser goes home? I'm just wondering -- it seems like the wildcard has taken sudden death element out of a lot of baseball today. You have to get lucky with a division finishing like that one did. I'm just wondering what you think about the sudden death element and what it adds to the game.
JOE GIRARDI: I think it adds a lot to the game. And I think the fact that they even had to wait to play it on Tuesday even added more. Because I think you can prepare for it. There's a little more hype. Everyone is rested. You have everyone in your bullpen.
I actually think it's great for the game. You know, it's one of the better games that I've watched, all the little twists and turns in that game with Detroit getting up three games to none.
As far as the wildcard taking away from it, I think the wildcard has been good. Because the wildcard races continue very late into September. Where sometimes divisions are over. And that club might be out of it. So I think the wildcard has actually been good as well.

Q. Joe, we have seen Rivera in the past, especially the last four or five outs. Is that something you would be willing to do with Hughes as well? Will we maybe see Hughes give four or five outs starting the seventh and then Rivera finish?
JOE GIRARDI: We're not afraid for Hughes to use four or five outs in a situation like this. There's a lot of guys in our bullpen we can do that. Hughesy it's something we would consider.

Q. Your dynasty teams that you were a part of as a player were kind of known for their toughness, especially in October to be able to bounce back from tough times. Have you seen anything in your team during the regular season to make you believe that that moment that any championship team is going to have, two or three, on-the-canvas moments, that they'll come back and have a pretty tough chore?
JOE GIRARDI: I have. Starting out 0-8 against the Red Sox and we were able to bounce back. The end of that home stand, those last four games, the two against Boston and the two against Tampa, where we struggled late in games and lost leads, we bounced back from that. The trip out to Anaheim when we were tied for first and then when we left we were three games down after the break. I want to say we had like a 9-1 or 10-1 home stand when we got off the break. So I have seen our club bounce back. Lost the first game in Anaheim. Bounced back and won two out there. In a series that I thought was -- had some significance. Because it's a place that has been tough for us to play. So I have seen a toughness about this club.

Q. Hey, Joe, you've been very good about keeping Mo to four outs and that's it as a maximum. Is that rule still in place at this point or do all the rules come off because of it's the playoffs?
JOE GIRARDI: The rules come off kind of because it's the playoffs. We had talked about an innings limit with Joba. And then once we got to the playoffs, the rules were off. Because it's -- you know, every day is a very meaningful day. You know, sometimes you can't prepare for tomorrow. So you have to worry about today today.

Q. Joe, you said recently that you expect Alex to advance on what he's done in the regular season, take that into the post-season. What specifically have you seen in the way he's carried himself since the hip surgery and the steroid admission that would lead to you believe he'll play well in October?
JOE GIRARDI: I think how relaxed he is. I think the importance about playing in October is being relaxed. Alex has had a lot of fun this year.
You know, you say, "How do you know?" I hear him laughing every day. I mean, and it's laughing loud. It brings a lot of joy to me to hear our players enjoying each other and having fun. I just believe he's poised to have a good post-season run. I can't tell you exactly what's going to happen. But he's in a great frame of mind. I think the time off actually did him good, after his hip surgery. And I expect that he'll have a good post-season.

Q. Based off of what you saw from the Twins last night, how different is that team from the one you played earlier in the season?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, to me it's a lot of the same team, because they were gritty then and they're gritty now. And they're going to do little things. They're going to play aggressive at times. They're going to fight you tooth and nail. So to me, the club really hasn't changed.
One thing that might be a little bit different with this club as opposed to before is Cuddyer has had a great second half. Young has had a very good second half. And Kubel has really matured. But on the flip side considered, Morneau is not there. We know how dangerous he was here when we played him here. So this is a club where some of the younger guys have matured and stepped up. But they still play the same brand of baseball.

Q. Joe, do you have a lineup for today?
JOE GIRARDI: Yes. Jeter, Johnny, Tex, Alex, Matsui, Posada, Cano, Swisher, Cabrera.

Q. Joe, what impact do you think the expected high winds could have on tonight's game?
JOE GIRARDI: I don't know. Sometimes wind can play tricks with the ball. The ball can carry a little bit different. If you don't get the ball up in the air, it doesn't really have a whole lot of effect. If you hit groundballs and line drives, it's not going to have a lot of effect. It's going to get a little bit chilly with that wind. And sometimes that can affect some throws, the pitcher's a little bit. But it's not going to be frigid. That's always a concern.

Q. From all the post-season games you played as a player, what did you learn about the post-season that will help you managing in it?
JOE GIRARDI: I think what you did in the regular season, the preparation, the way you went about your business is what got you there. And don't try to reinvent the wheel when you get to the playoffs. You still have the same players. You still have the same starting rotation. The same bullpen that we left with three days ago. So to me, it's important that you just do what you've done all year long.

Q. Joe, I know you've been anticipating the start of the playoffs for a while. You guys knew you were going to be in a while ago. Did watching that game yesterday more so get your juices flowing, I want to get started just watching everything about that game?
JOE GIRARDI: It really brought out an excitement in baseball, I thought. Sometimes the races kind of die down at the end of the month of September. And that one never died down. They had played 162 games and 12 innings. And it didn't get solved. It just kept like it was going to go on. So to me it brought the excitement of being post-season baseball, as you watched it.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. We'll wait for Joe Mauer. He should be here in about 10 minutes.

End of FastScripts

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