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October 8, 2009

Joe Girardi


THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Joe. First question for Joe Girardi today?

Q. Joe, how do you feel about A.J. going into the start tomorrow?
JOE GIRARDI: I feel good. A.J. has been on a role for us. He did it during the middle of the season where he got on a long roll. I feel good about A.J. going out tomorrow because of the way he's been throwing the ball.

Q. Joe, not to get too far ahead, but is your expectation that the Molina-Burnett paring will remain intact as far as you guys continue to move along in the post-season?
JOE GIRARDI: You know, I don't want to get ahead. We talked about Molina catching him tomorrow. He's been catching him his last four or five starts. I'm not going to get too far ahead. There's been pitchers all throughout the history of the game that sometimes they might throw to one catcher more than the other. But A.J. has had good games with Jorge. I recall a game in Tampa Bay where they were great together. So we're just taking this one game at a time.

Q. Joe, it seems like based on their comments, you have two catchers now that a little bit bent out of shape. How concerned or how much do you worry about the clubhouse politics, things like that?
JOE GIRARDI: I was not aware the two catchers were bent out of shape. As I said about Jorge, I've been in the position that he's been in. Where when I played here, we split guys during the playoffs. Of course, you want to play every day. I wouldn't want a catcher who didn't want to play every day. That would bother me inside if the guy didn't want to play every day. And Jorge could be a huge factor tomorrow in the course of the game.
I mean, there's no doubt about it. He's had pinch-hit homers for us and come in late in the games and has been a huge factor. So you want guys to want to play every day. Emotions will be in check.

Q. Joe, do you have any plans to DH Posada or may we see Gardner?
JOE GIRARDI: Tomorrow, I do not. As we sit here today. I'll go home and sleep on the lineup. We'll talk about it tomorrow. It's an option that I have because we have three catchers. That's the option that you have. But as I said, I'll sleep on it. We'll talk about it tomorrow. We'll have a lineup.

Q. Joe, when Jorge was coming up as a young player, obviously Joe Torre had to have that conversation with you about diminished playing time. Given what he's meant to the franchise, how difficult was it to have that conversation with him?
JOE GIRARDI: It is difficult. Because I know how bad Jorge wants to be out there and how intense he is and how much he loves to play. I mean, we talked about it on Sunday. Obviously, as time goes on, things can either build or diminish in the story. But we talked about it. I'm not saying that he liked it on Sunday. But emotionally, he was good with me.
It is a hard conversation, because everyone wants to play. You don't get to this level by not working at your trade and having a hunger to go out this and be successful. You don't get to that level. You don't just walk in and your talent just takes over. That doesn't happen. So for me, it was a hard conversation that -- when Joe had it with me. But I understood and I just moved forward and said I'll play whenever you put me in the lineup.

Q. Joe, could you shed a little light on why it is that certain pitchers and catchers fit together? What is it about that relationship that kind of seems kind of unique, I guess, in sports?
JOE GIRARDI: I can't tell you exactly why it works for every guy. I can't. When I was here at the end, I caught Pettitte and Coney. I can't tell you why those relationships were different than the other. They just are. Sometimes personalties and the way you do things behind home plate just matches up. It's important, I think, that pitcher-catcher relationship is a very important relationship in the game of baseball and that's why we're choosing to do this.
As I said, Jorge has caught some really good games. A.J. has had some really good games with Jorge back there. But this is the direction we're choosing to go right now. I'm not saying it's always going to be like this.

Q. Are you worried at all -- this is somewhat risky decision for you as a manager. Considering Jorge's success, are you comfortable -- if something happens and you guys should lose tomorrow, you'll probably get a lot of the blame.
JOE GIRARDI: Managers usually do get the blame when a team loses. Why would tomorrow be any different than another day? No, I'm not worried about it. I never saw Joe Torre fret about it. I never saw Bobby Cox fret about it when Javier Lopez didn't catch Greg Maddux. I never saw them worry about it.
You put the club out there that you feel should be out there that evening, and then you hope that your club makes plays and throws the ball well. And that's what you do. So, I mean, that's the decision that I made. I have to live with that decision. I feel good about our chances tomorrow with A.J. on the mound. I do. As well as probably Gardy feels good with Blackburn out there.

Q. Just to follow-up. Jack asked if Gardner in center field was a possibility tomorrow?
JOE GIRARDI: I mean, I have not put out a lineup yet. Gardy is always in the mix. We'll come up with a lineup tomorrow and it's a possibility. But as I said, Melky is probably going to be our center fielder.

Q. Can you talk a little about what kind of dynamic on the back end of the bullpen you have now with Chamberlain and Hughes pitching in front of Rivera, it seemed like last night -- it seemed like it took a little air out of the Twins?
JOE GIRARDI: We like our bullpen a lot. We've liked it a lot since we've made the changes we made. I think it started in late April and it continued on through May a little bit. We think we have a deep bullpen and Joba just adds to that. You're moving a guy that has had a lot of success in the bullpen.
So it's not like it's his first time out there and you're wondering what you're going to get. Does he know how to prepare? Does he know how to accept the situation and be able to relax in the situation? We think it deepens our bullpen a lot. And we like it.

Q. Joe, can you envision a scenario where Joba's in the bullpen throughout the playoffs?
JOE GIRARDI: I think you have to get through the first round before you start to think too far ahead. For right now we have him in the bullpen. If we're fortunate enough to get to the second round, then there's a decision we have to make because you're probably going to need four starters. Probably. Not necessarily.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much for come in.

End of FastScripts

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