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October 15, 2009

C.C. Sabathia


THE MODERATOR: We're going to get start. CC Sabathia is here and we'll be glad to take a first question.

Q. CC, how might the weather impact the way you approach pitching, whether it's Friday or Saturday or whatever happens here? How are you going to deal with the weather situation?
CC SABATHIA: You know, I'll just come here tomorrow and be prepared to pitch, until they tell me that it's either called or delayed or whatever. We don't know what it's going to be. You know, we've had these situations a lot this year. We've had a couple of rain delays. So I'll just hang out and relax and wait till they tell me what time the game starts.

Q. CC, the Angels historically have given a lot of pitchers a hard time, and you are one of them. What do they do that's so tough and what have you struggled with against their lineup?
CC SABATHIA: They're a good lineup. You know, they have the speed and they got power. They got great balance to their lineup. So the biggest thing for me is just try to keep those guys off the bases. The Figgins and Izturis and Aybar. Try to concentrate on Vlady and make good pitches to Torii and those guys. They've gotten the best of me so far in my career.
But I look to go out and just try to pound the strike zone, command both sides of the plate and see what happens.

Q. CC, to be able to pitch Games 1, 4 and 7, barring any rainouts or anything, what needs to happen for you through Game 1 in terms of pitch counts and how you feel afterward?
CC SABATHIA: That's up to Joe. I feel fine. When I'm out there, I can throw 110, I can throw 140. It's all the same, once you're out there. I guess that's really up to them.
Like I said all year, I'll take the ball whenever they need me to. Whenever they tell me it's my turn, I'm ready. So I'm pretty much ready to do whatever they need me to do.

Q. CC, how difficult is it to keep your attention on the hitter when they've got guys on base? And also how big of a weapon is your slide-step against dealing with the running game?
CC SABATHIA: The slide-step is something that's helped me out a lot lately in my career. Just not having to worry about being too -- I don't have to worry about my times to the plate and if I'm being too quick with my delivery, the slide-step has really helped me out. But it's tough when you have Figgins over there and he's jumping around and Aybar and those guys, it's tough. It's easy to make a bad pitch or hang a pitch to one of the guys in the middle of the lineup.

Q. CC, having advanced to the next round, what's the adrenaline rush for you tomorrow night having the opportunity to pitch, to get them this much further?
CC SABATHIA: It's going to be exciting. These are big-time games. I think everybody is excited. I'm definitely going to be excited to be able to get out there and try to pitch well.

Q. CC, both Yankee Stadium and Angels Stadium have a great home-field advantage. They have the rally monkey and here the walk-off wins have become a certain mentality where the team knows it can win. Can you talk about the advantage of home-field advantage in this series?
CC SABATHIA: We always feel good coming out and playing in front of our fans. It's always loud. It's a great atmosphere playing here in New York. It's evident the way we come back all the time and we feel comfortable in those tough situations. So we need to go out and handle those first two games and try to keep the home-field advantage.

Q. CC, you have home-field advantage and cold weather. Would you give up the cold weather to pitch in warm weather if there were a Game 7?
CC SABATHIA: No, I would rather pitch at home. I've pitched pretty much my whole career in cold weather. So being in Cleveland and now coming here, I'm pretty much used to it. I've seen everything they have to offer on the East Coast with the weather. So I'm used to it. I'll be ready for it.

Q. CC, when did you start using that slide-step? And why did you make it part of your game?
CC SABATHIA: I started using the slide-step probably in about 2005. Just because Terry Mulholland was one of the pitchers on my team. He just talked to me about the importance of shutting down the running game. Guys were running, I really didn't have a good pick-off move. He kind of taught me the slide-step. It's been great for me in my career.

Q. Are you surprised at how easy-going the atmosphere has been this year given that it's New York? People have probably told you to expect a bit of hell fire coming to this area.
CC SABATHIA: Not really, to be honest with you. In spring training we came in and I didn't really know what to expect coming in spring. Just seeing these guys through the first couple of weeks in the spring, I knew it was going to be a real laid back and relaxed atmosphere as far as the team goes. That's all that really matters to us. Being in the clubhouse with a bunch of guys who have fun and are relaxed and love to play the game is all you really care about.

Q. In that same vein, how much was that made easier that Teixeira was new, A.J. was new, Swisher was new and the focus wasn't on you and what you could individually do? Did that make the transition easier?
CC SABATHIA: It made all the difference for me. Being able to come in to A.J., talk to Tex. None of us had ever played in the big market, big media and things like that. So it was a lot of fun being able to come in and have those guys to lean on.

Q. CC, have you had moments in your career where you've dealt with a delay or a significant rain delay in the middle of your start and been able to come back? Say there's a delay tomorrow in the third, would you feel comfortable coming back out and pitching in the fourth?
CC SABATHIA: Yeah. I mean, I can't recall if I've had a long rain delay and came back. But, I mean, that shouldn't be a problem.

Q. CC, you had your chance to go anywhere you wanted this winter. You chose to come here. How has that worked out? Any regrets or second thoughts or anything you would have done differently?
CC SABATHIA: No. You come here to get a chance to win a championship. We are one step closer to that. It's been a lot of fun coming here and playing with all these great players. You have guys in that clubhouse that are probably going to the Hall of Fame. It's fun to see them go about their business every day and being a part of this team.

Q. CC, two years ago you came about as close to playing in the World Series as you can without actually getting there. How long did it take you to get over the disappointment of not making it to the next step? Have you been waiting for the opportunity ever since just to be able to make that right?
CC SABATHIA: I mean, you know, baseball you have to get over it and move on. But it was tough. I usually am a guy that usually watches the playoffs and watches the World Series. I didn't watch it that year. Just because I felt like we probably should have been playing. I got over it, moved on.
Just glad to have the opportunity to be back in this organization and try to get there.

Q. CC, what percentage of responsibility rests on the pitcher to control the running game? And how much is that on the catcher? What's the division there?
CC SABATHIA: I would say it's 50/50. It's a lot of responsibility on us just to change up the looks, change the times, hold the ball. Just do anything you can to give the catcher the best chance he has to throw the guy out at second or even at third.

Q. CC, would you rather pitch on three days' rest or seven days' rest or doesn't it matter?
CC SABATHIA: Don't matter. I told Dave earlier that you know on three days' rest, you know, you don't have your best fastball, you don't have your best stuff. So you have to stay under control. The delivery is a lot better. So I think last year pitching on three days' rest my stuff was a little better.

Q. With the uncertainty of the weather for tomorrow, does it affect your routine any differently for tonight and during the day tomorrow?
CC SABATHIA: No. I mean, I think a lot of these guys have seen me here the day I pitch. I'm pretty relaxed and hanging out. It doesn't give me a -- it just gives me lot of time to play "RBI".

Q. You've been in big playoff games before. Is there anything special you do in the hours leading up to a game in order to stay calm? You talked about the intense atmosphere that's going to be tomorrow night. Anything you do or is it just the same? And can you talk about what that routine is like getting ready to go out there in front of a big crowd like this?
CC SABATHIA: I'm pretty -- I'm really an emotional guy. I get fired up. You know, it don't take me much before the game. I don't have to listen to a certain song or do anything special to get pumped up for a game. Once I step out this, I'm focused. And I know what I need to do. So whatever I do in the clubhouse before is just natural. Just like another day. When I step out on the field, I'm ready.

End of FastScripts

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