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October 15, 2009

Joe Torre


Q. Could you talk a little bit about the roster decisions in terms of pitchers, who you added and who you took off?
JOE TORRE: Yeah, we took John Garland off, and that happened because we put Kuroda on, starter, starter, and we just made the decision to take Weaver off and put Scott Elbert on because of the number of left-handers that they have.
We just thought -- especially, even though we have two left-handers in the bullpen, they're not necessarily match-up guys. So even though we have the two, we just felt that we wanted the option of having another left-hander for somewhere in the game, if that situation arises where we aren't going to use the other two guys.

Q. Could you give your thoughts on your facing Pedro, someone that you've seen plenty of times, both regular season and postseason, now seeing him again?
JOE TORRE: Yeah, I'm happy for him health-wise. He's a package, you know, to try to be patient. He's a tough competitor, and you're right, we've seen him a ton of times, and it won't be any different this time. You don't try to beat Pedro. You just try to outlast him. You need your pitcher to match what he does, because he's such a great competitor, knows how to pitch, and has a variety of stuff.
But it's going to be strange, that's for sure, to both of us over here in the National League where we both started, and go at it again.

Q. It was reported that Weaver had flu-like symptoms yesterday. Was that any part of the decision?
JOE TORRE: No, it was not. In fact, I let him know yesterday, and I had to call him at home. I can tell you he was sad, but I'm not sure if he was sad or just felt bad when I told him. But again, he understood when we kept him on in the first round -- it's tough, because you spend the season with 12 and 13 pitchers, and now you're using four starters. So somebody is going to have to come off, even pitchers that help you.
Just the fact that we had the right-handers that the Cardinals had in the first round made him necessary in my mind, and he helped us win Game 1. And for the reason I just said a few minutes ago, I just felt we needed the left-handed option, even though we hopefully don't use him, because that means our starters are doing well. But he seemed to understand, even though he would much rather be on.

Q. What impresses you the most about Charlie Manuel as you watch him from afar?
JOE TORRE: That he's never changed. I remember last year going in to congratulate him after they beat us in the Championship Series. He certainly had a very emotional postseason with his mom passing and all that. But he just seems the same guy.
I spent time with him at the All-Star game and it was a pleasure. He knows his stuff. The first time I met Charlie was when he was the hitting coach with the Cleveland Indians, and went on to manage them, and went over to Philly. I'm happy for him, because as I mentioned yesterday, I don't think any of us know when those good times are going to happen for us.
But I don't think he's ever changed one bit with the success he's had here in recent years, and I'm happy for him, because I know how thrilling it is, even though you have to wait a long time for it.

Q. When you first signed Padilla back in August, was there any thought that he'd play such a huge role for you guys?
JOE TORRE: Well, we were hoping. We were hoping. We knew he had good stuff. He had pitched against us when we played Texas this year, pitched well against us, and of course, Larry Bowa had him over there in Philadelphia, so he had a little insight into Padilla, and he's pitched well. He's really pitched well against us. The first game he started was in Colorado. He had one bad outing, I think it was against maybe Washington.
But aside from that, that game in St. Louis was pretty impressive, how well he pitched against that ballclub. Seven innings was the longest he had gone for us.
So we certainly were hoping that he would give us a boost. But would I have dreamed at the time we got him in that deal that he was going to pitch Game 2 of the Championship Series, no, I certainly didn't envision that.

Q. Was it disappointing for you this morning to open up the paper and your ownership situation being a sidebar to what you're team is doing on the field and everybody speculating about your thoughts about it?
JOE TORRE: You know, it's a very private thing, and I respect that. I think we've all had -- not necessarily all of us, but there have been personal issues that should remain that way, and I respect that about the McCourts. It's not going to affect anything that we do. My players and myself, we have a job to do, and whatever is going on there is certainly not going to affect what we do here.
As I say, it's unfortunate, and I feel badly, but it's one of those things that happens in life.

Q. You were talking last week in St. Louis about letting the players go out there and express themselves, kind of letting go of over-managing them. What's this moment like for you? Does a kind of calm come over you as you get ready these last couple hours?
JOE TORRE: Yeah, the managing is over. You talk to them. You have meetings. But if these players need to have me motivate them, then I don't think we have the right players. I'm not saying we're going to be successful, but I think they're going to go out there and hopefully have some fun and just let their abilities speak and stay away from mental mistake. I think all managers would love for that to be the case, if you can just stay away from the mental errors, because especially in postseason we're going to see them rerun over and over again.
But again, I've been very pleased with the way this ballclub has been able to play series that were important. You know, challenges for us early in the year, going into Philly, going into Chicago, teams that you spend so much time in your own division and the way the schedule is that when you go outside your division, you're not even sure how you measure up. But these guys have handled it very well.

End of FastScripts

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