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October 20, 2009

Joe Girardi


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Joe Girardi.

Q. I know a lot was made of your decision to go with Jose Molina for the catcher the first time around, and I'm guessing he will be again. Going a little bit beyond that, I was wondering if given your catching background, if you can tell us what's that pitcher-catcher relationship from another. And how much does it impact the game?
JOE GIRARDI: Basically it's how much can a pitcher-catcher relationship impact the game. I think it can have a fair amount of impact. And the reason a pitcher might have a better working relationship with one catcher more than the other, a lot of times there's no rhyme or reason. It just kind of happens.
I've had it in my career where I've caught certain pitchers and didn't catch others. And obviously, as a catcher you want to be out there every day. But that pitcher-catcher relationship can be very important because, you know, a lot of these games are based on pitching.

Q. Howie Kendrick is batting over .400 against you guys. Can you just talk about the success he's had against your pitchers and what makes him a dangerous hitter?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I think what makes him a dangerous hitter is that he's got bat speed. He has an idea of what he wants to do when he goes up to the plate. He's a good fastball hitter. He can hit the ball in or out. He has the ability to foul pitches off. He's dangerous. We know that. We've tried pitching him a couple different ways. At times we've had success, and at times we have not. Yesterday we did not.
So we keep, you know, trying to figure out ways to get him out. But when you're a good hitter like Howie Kendrick, you just can't stay in one area all the time, because he's going to beat you. He'll make an adjustment, and he did that yesterday.

Q. Last night you said that the Aceves match-up was better on paper and scouting reports. As manager of the New York Yankees you're under a microscope that's built by NASA. A lot of people talked today about your decisions last night. How much of what you do is based on your heart, your gut, and the scouting reports?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, it's a combination of all three. You look at scouting reports. You look at all the information in front of you, you talk to people about it, and you have ideas in your bullpen who you want to get certain guys out.
Yeah, you are under a microscope. But if you manage a game not to be second guessed, then I don't think you're managing the game correctly. Bringing in Ace, if it doesn't work, I know I'm going to be second guessed, but I believed it was the right move. We talked about it in the dugout, and I believed it was the right move. It didn't work.
If every move you made as a manager was 100% foolproof, then you'd probably win 162 games, but that's not going to happen either. There are going to be times where things don't work.
We prepare it. We talk about things. I felt in my gut and in my heart and in my mind that it was the right move.

Q. I assume by now you've seen or heard of the video of Mo allegedly spitting on the ball. I wondered about your reaction to that?
JOE GIRARDI: I kind of laughed. Mo's been throwing one pitch for a long time. I happen to catch him. He was accused of throwing a spitter. The one thing about a spitter is it consistently does not go one way like Mo's ball consistently goes one way. So I kind of laughed at it.
MLB has investigated, they have nothing about it. We just move on it. To me it's a dead story. I caught Mo for four years, and I know for sure he never did anything.

Q. Can you just talk about how impressed you've been by Mark Teixeira's defense all season long and especially in this series?
JOE GIRARDI: You know, he's done this all season long for us. Diving plays. He had a play early in the season where he dove to his right, threw from his knees to throw to home plate and save a run and save the game for us. He's a complete player. Whether it's defensive, base running, offensive. Thinking, talking about the game, he's a complete player. And his defense has saved us a number of times this year.

Q. When a player like Vladimir Guerrero's numbers aren't what maybe they were in the prime of his career how does your approach change? He's still a very good hitter. He's probably not the intimidating over-the-top guy that he used to be. How do you treat him?
JOE GIRARDI: You know, he can beat you. You still pitch him carefully. The thing about Vlad Guerrero is he came off a couple of injuries. I think he had a pec muscle, and I think that took more time to heal than he allowed it to and had to come back and had to deal with that while he was playing. We know he's very dangerous. We pitch him very carefully.
If you make a mistake, like we did yesterday, he can hurt you. He did it in the Boston series. He got Papelbon, and he got us yesterday.

Q. As TV cameras as intrusive as they are and cell phones and YouTube replaying things endlessly, how does that affect you as far as just relaying signs on the field to just your own personal behavior in the dugout?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, my personal behavior doesn't change much because of cameras. I've always been somewhat not show a lot of emotion. Even as a player I didn't show a lot of emotion. That's just kind of who I am. So I really haven't changed it.
I think I'm more careful probably away from the field than I am at the field because you never know. But as far as being intrusive, I think it's what people want to see. It's part of growing the game, and it's just another thing that you have to deal with. But I got to tell you I never worry about it when I'm in the dugout that I've got cameras on me. I don't worry about that.

Q. Do you have a lineup?

Q. And a follow-up after we hear it?
JOE GIRARDI: Jeet, Damon, Tex, A-Rod, Posada, Matsui, Cano, Swisher, Cabrera.

Q. And are you concerned with the way that Swisher has been swinging the bat in this series?
JOE GIRARDI: You know, we've had some guys that have struggled a little bit in the playoffs. Swisher is not the only one. You know, and guys are going to struggle during the course of the season, and you just don't give up on a guy if he's struggling, because usually the flip side of that is they're due to get hot. So we feel good about Swish today. You know, he had a big RBI right-handed the last round for us. So we feel good about Swish today. And we're going with our guys here.

Q. We always talk about how important Game 3 is, Game 4, Game 5 is, but are you concerned at all about getting a team as good as the Angels momentum?
JOE GIRARDI: That is something that you try to guard against at any point during the season or any point during the playoffs, no matter who you're playing. You don't want to give another team momentum.
So we've got CC going tonight. They've got Kazmir who has pitched very well against us in the past. I expect another close game. We'll do everything we can to win it?

Q. The fact that Teixeira's made some plays defensively for you, does that make it easier to accept a little offensive run he's going through right now?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I mean there's a lot of ways that you can win a ballgame. It just doesn't always have to be with your bat. Tex has saved us defensively during this series a number of times. We expect him -- he's another guy that the law of averages is he's going to start getting some base hits. And tonight would be a great night to start. But if it doesn't, I know in my heart that it's going to happen.
Tex is too good of a player to not be productive.

Q. Can you just talk about why you placed Posada in the fifth and sixth, and also was there a thought in you that facing Kazmir today that you might not start Matsui in the DH role?
JOE GIRARDI: The reason we flip-flopped Jorge and Matty (Matsui) today is Jorge's had a lot of success off Kazmir. That is the only reason that we flip-flopped the two of them.
As far as not starting Matty, we had planned on starting him all the way today.

Q. How much impact will how you used the bullpen yesterday have on today's game in how you use your guys?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I'll check with everyone. Really no one threw a ton of pitches yesterday. So I would think that we'd have everyone available. You know, these extra inning games can tax your bullpen a little bit, but with the days off, that's been really helpful.

Q. I didn't know if you talked about it in the postgame yesterday, I didn't hear. What was the rationale or explanation for the Marte-Coke back-to-back?
JOE GIRARDI: We haven't used Marte where he got up-and-down. We all know that he's had some issues. He had some physical issues during the course of the year. It was kind of a longer inning. And we just felt we better go with Coke.

Q. Did knowing that give you pause just about going with cove from the beginning since maybe he would get up-and-down?
JOE GIRARDI: We were going to let him go a couple of hitters. But we had, you know, if -- let's see, he got Figgins. If Figgins got on, he was going to face Abreu, and then we were going to bring in a righty.

Q. With Joba, the whole business all year was the Joba Rules was reportedly to get him ready to give you starts in the postseason. Had the schedule not worked out the way it was, would he have, in fact, been the fourth starter in this ALCS?
JOE GIRARDI: That is something that we would have talked about. I can't tell you exactly what we would have done, because we felt with the way we were able to prepare CC, that we wouldn't have to use four starters in this round.
So as far as saying that Joba would have been our starter or not, I can't tell you 100% either way. Because we hadn't discussed that because we had a thought process of what we were going to do.

Q. I know when you made the Aceves move you thought in your heart at the time it was the right move to make. But I imagine there are times as manager when you've slept on a move, gotten up in the morning and realized it was a mistake. Did you have that thought this morning, and if not, why not?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, because of the preparation. I did not have the feeling that it was a mistake because of the preparation that we did before the game and our reasoning for using Ace. And the only reason I don't necessarily tell you exactly why I did it is because then you give away a game plan and what you're trying to do to certain hitters.
I did think about it. You always think about it. But I still feel that it was the move that we would have made, and it just didn't workout.

Q. Beyond the pitcher-catcher relationship, are there things that a catcher picks off that perhaps other players might not that make him more suited to becoming managers?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I would say that there's things that all players pick up because of the position that they play that makes them suitable for a manager. I think personally for me I learned as much about hitting throwing BP once I was a coach as I learned as a player. Just because you see it from a different perspective. You see things from a different perspective when you're coaching and managing.
So I think there's advantages to being any type of position player or pitcher that you're going to have over that round. But the thing that you do is I think you learn. I think the great managers pick up quickly.

Q. I know a lot has been made about the pitching, but the offense, with runners in scoring position yesterday, 3 for 28 in the series. Is that a function of their pitching? Are people trying to do too much? What do you see when you look at this offense?
JOE GIRARDI: I think it's a function of a couple of those things, Suzyn. Obviously we know they have very good pitching. They throw good starters at you. They throw good relievers at you. They have good pitching. But I think we went out of the zone a little bit at times when we've had runners in scoring position. Is that a fact of good pitching or trying to do too much? I can't tell you exactly what it is, but I think you could probably think about both of those things.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts

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