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October 7, 2009

Joe Girardi


Twins – 2
Yankees - 7

THE MODERATOR: First question for Joe?

Q. Joe, kind of a dull question here: Just your thought process on when you pulled CC out with 113 pitches. And secondly, the continued great play of Matsui offensively, where do you think he fits in here long-term?
JOE GIRARDI: As far as pulling CC, after 113 pitches, he worked hard. We had Hughes up. And we had talked about Hughesy, we would let him get four outs, five outs if we needed him to. We just thought it was time to go to Phil. Different look to Cabrera. I thought CC threw a great game.
As far as Matsui, he has been huge for us all year. Another home run off a left-hander. His RBI production off a left-handers has been great. That's why we DH him all the time.

Q. What about the future?
JOE GIRARDI: I'm worried about tomorrow and the next day more than the future. But he'll be our DH.

Q. How crucial do you think that was for A-Rod to after the first two at-bats knowing his history, to get off to such a good start in Game 1?
JOE GIRARDI: We had talked about that we liked where Alex was at this time of the year, physically, mentally. Finished up strong. Had a great month of September. It's important.
Everyone wants to contribute. And I thought the key for us tonight was we got five RBI's with two outs. We got two from Alex, two from Matsui and one from Swish (Nick Swisher). Those are big hits.

Q. Joe, you talked about this being the first game at the new stadium, not knowing what it would feel like. Did it feel like old times? Derek with the home run, and Hideki and Mo finishing it up? Did it feel like a playoff game?
JOE GIRARDI: It sure did. I thought the crowd was great. They started early with the "Let's go Yankees."
Our fans have been great for a long time, as long as I can remember, since I came here in 1996. It did feel like Yankee Stadium playoff time.

Q. Did it almost feel appropriate that Jeter had that first home run?
JOE GIRARDI: It's pretty fitting what he did tonight, lead off the game with the single, and then the home run to tie up the score. And then we started to -- Swish had the double to put us ahead. And then we started to tack on. That's Derek Jeter this time of the year.

Q. Obviously you acquire a pitcher like Sabathia for a long regular season. I wonder at the point you got him, did you think about a night like tonight when he would lead a staff and maybe establish something for you in the post-season and so I don't have to grab the microphone again, it seemed like there was some miscommunication with Posada. Was that miscommunication with passed balls? Can you explain that?
JOE GIRARDI: That's what we envisioned when we signed him. CC would be pitching in late October and November. Was the reason we got him. We thought that he could lead this staff and be the ace of this staff. And that's what he's been for us. It was miscommunication on their part. They talked about the pitch they were going to throw and the pitch wasn't thrown. So I'm not sure what happened in the translation. But I thought the two did a nice job together tonight.

Q. Joe, just to continue on CC, this is the first time in the playoff game he hasn't walked anybody. Walks have been a big problem for him in October. How much of that do you think has to do with the rest that he's been able to get leading up to this? You talked about that earlier.
JOE GIRARDI: We thought it was important to get him some rest and to get him some extra days off, because of what we envision him doing for us in the playoffs.
As far as he had thrown an extra 20, 25 innings the years before in the playoffs, I wasn't there to see exactly how he threw in the playoff games. But we felt that if we could get him some extra rest in the month of September, that it would pay off in the long run. And I think we saw that tonight. He gives up a lead-off double. He gets the strikeouts of Cabrera and Joe Mauer, who you don't strike out very often. And then he gets Cuddyer to fly out. I just thought he was strong the whole way through.

Q. Congratulations, first. You used Phil Hughes early in the games in the eight innings. Is it going to continue that way in the whole series?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, we used Phil Hughes with two outs in the seventh and then we used him in the eighth. And I thought it was important that Cabrera put a tough at-bat on him. Mauer put a tough at-bat on him. And he was about 25, 26 pitches. You can let him face Kubel and the next hitter, but then we're probably going to have to make a change. I thought it was a great chance to get (Phil) Coke in and get a chance to get Chamberlain in. But Phil Hughes is our eighth inning guy.

Q. Joe, given Alex's history, his recent history in the playoffs, and the first two at-bats where he left guys on base, when he gets the hit there, how important is it, though, just in terms of not being in the conversation as much as it would probably have been if he had failed there in the other spots?
JOE GIRARDI: I don't know. I always feel that hitters are not always going to have great nights. They're going to bounce back. Alex has done it all year long for us. So if he doesn't get a hit tonight, am I concerned? No. But he had some big hits tonight, both of them with two outs. He gave us a lead 4-2 and then 7-2. And every run that you tack on is important.
Jim Leyland talked about it in the game last night, that tacking on runs against this Minnesota team is extremely important, against any team in the playoffs.

Q. Just on the subject of CC being more rested, how do you notice it if he's fresher? Is it his command? Is it his velocity? Is it the crispness of his pitches? And how do you sort of see that?
JOE GIRARDI: I think it's usually command that it shows up. Fatigue can manifest itself in a lot of ways. It can be lack of velocity. But it's usually lack of command. And we saw his command tonight. It was pretty good.

Q. Beyond what it does for you and your team just giving you the first win, CC and A-Rod both have not had good Octobers. So getting them to do what they did in Game 1, what do you think it did for them?
JOE GIRARDI: I am sure it makes them feel good inside. But if they didn't necessarily have really good games tonight, I would bet on them to have good games the next night.
CC you would have to wait on a few days. I think whenever you can contribute, it's important. And I think it puts you in a good place.
Alex gets a day off. A day to rest tomorrow. Tomorrow will be an enjoyable day for him.
And CC, he'll be back at it in a couple of days. So I think it's important to get off to a good start. I do.

End of FastScripts

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