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October 16, 2009

Joe Saunders


THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with Joe Saunders.

Q. Joe, obviously it's been a while since your last start. How do you stay fresh and prepare for tomorrow night?
JOE SAUNDERS: For me it was just many, you know, throwing a lot of bullpens, throwing side work. Making sure I get my work in and stuff like that. Obviously I know I'm going to be a lot fresher than usual. So I was trying to work out as much as I could. And, you know, get the arm activated as much as I could to keep the command there.

Q. You know, a lot of people talk about the Yankee lineup, and they call it "unrelenting" is the word they use for it. Can you talk about the challenge and the different type of hitters they have? They take a lot of pitches. How does that fit into how you're going to throw against them tomorrow?
JOE SAUNDERS: For me, obviously everybody knows their lineup is pretty good. So I think for any pitcher going against them, it's more about throwing strikes, getting ahead and working ahead. I think if you get behind those guys, you know, they're going to hurt you. If they're in hitter's counts, obviously they're going to hurt you pretty good and hit the ball pretty hard.
For me and for us it's about throwing strike one, working ahead and getting them on the defensive and off the offensive.

Q. Joe, Mike was just in here talking about how your stuff seems to play well in this park. When you hear your manager sort of like single you out like that and put you in this spot, what does it feel like as a player?
JOE SAUNDERS: It's good to know obviously my manager has confidence in me. I'm not going to know really how my stuff plays in this park until tomorrow. We'll see how that goes. But obviously you know CC does well here. Andy does well here. You know, I've looked up to them my whole career and as a young kid. So I'll just follow what they do and really go from there. Just attack them and keep them on the defensive is going to be the game plan.

Q. Mike was saying that after they had you stop pitching for that stretch in August, since you've come back you've attacked your starts with a vengeance. What is different? What will we see that's different about the way that you're pitching now as opposed to before that time?
JOE SAUNDERS: At that time you know, even early on, in April, May and June, I was pitching through some discomfort in my shoulder. You know, there was a little bit of a knot back there. I was trying to pitch through it. I took that time off. They got the knot out of there, and I think that time off really helped me get my shoulder healthy and really kind of cleared my head of those kind of so-so/bad starts. For me it was just trying to come back and really show them that this wasn't really a fluke thing last year and stuff like that. And really, you know, I can do this. I want a big part in this postseason.
You know, for me it was kind of like make or break time for me in my head. You know, I hadn't pitched well. I was like, I know I'm better than this. That time off when I came back, it was like, all right, I'm just going after guys. I'm going to try to win as many games as I can and really attack hitters, and really get as many wins. Because we were in a dogfight with the Rangers at that time. Every start was crucial for us.

Q. You had one postseason start last year at Fenway. What was that experience like for you? And what are you expecting for Game 2 here? The nerves, emotions, how do you prepare for sort of the big moment?
JOE SAUNDERS: For me it's not really nervous. When I go out there, the focus kind of takes over for me. For me it's more the anxiety the day before, like today. I was like let's do this, let's get it on. Let me get out there and do my thing. But I think myself and all my teammates have learned a lot from last year. We got some really good experience. And we know what we can do and what we should do.
And I think last year, when Boston swept us, you know -- they didn't sweep us but they beat us pretty good -- we really learned to calm our emotions down and play within ourselves. I think we were trying to do too much as kind of a younger group, with the team last year. I think it was a good learning experience for us. I think we can build off that.

Q. How much do you pay attention to weather reports? And certainly rain can be a factor tomorrow. I'm just wondering how much you pay attention to that? And also do you wear more layers tomorrow? Can you talk about how you might figure that out?
JOE SAUNDERS: For me, the cold weather -- I grew up in Washington D.C., I pitched at Virginia Tech for a long time. The cold weather, I'm used to it. The cold weather is not going to affect me and the rain certainly, I dealt with a lot of that in my career. For me it's just another bad day, but a great day to play baseball. So I'm going to go out there and pitch my game. The elements probably won't faze me at all.

Q. Do you think it's possible for teams in Southern California to get lulled into expecting good weather? And this being an affront having to come in?
JOE SAUNDERS: I wouldn't say expecting good weather. I would say we get used to the good weather. We were watching the game on TBS and I think it was like 85 and sunny there today. So we were like, wow, that weather looks pretty good compared to here. They're there and we're here. We have to take care of business here. We'll get back there soon enough. But for us it's just a matter of taking care of business and whatever the weather throws at us we have to deal with it. Just like the Yankees have to deal with it. They're just as cold as we are.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Joe.

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