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October 22, 2009

Joe Girardi


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Joe Girardi.

Q. I know you're focused on the Angels, but I'm from Philadelphia. So I just want to see if I can get your impression on the Phillies repeating? And do you have any relationships from anyone in that organization?
JOE GIRARDI: You know what? I'm still going to focus on the Angels, because that is the task at hand right now. Obviously, us and the Angels are trying to get a date with the Phillies, but I'm just going to focus on the Angels.

Q. Alex had said in the early part of his or right after the surgery in Colorado he was concerned that he might not play a single game this year. Did you even for a brief time harbor that thought, and if so, how alarming a vision was that for you?
JOE GIRARDI: When he went out there it was alarming that he had an issue and we were very concerned. We got good news pretty quick. But I still think until you actually go through the surgery and you start your rehab, there's concern.
Once we heard he was going to come back, there is still a concern how he's physically going to be when he gets back. You can talk about rehab should take so long, but sometimes there are setbacks. So there was a substantial amount of concern until we actually saw him start playing.

Q. Did you have to piece together a vision of a team without him in your mind even if it was just for a few days or a week or so? And if so, what did that team look like in your head?
JOE GIRARDI: You know, we didn't necessarily think the worst when he went out there. But there were discussions, you know, if he's out for a substantial period of time, do we make a move? Do we do something? So there was some a little bit of internal discussion, but not a lot.

Q. Yesterday you were talking about how it's so on difficult to hide in the New York kind of market. Teixeira hasn't gotten it done at the plate. But his defensive play has been so good. Can you just touch on how well that's been and how it's overshadowed going 2 for 18 in this series?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, he's made so many big plays. Plays that have saved innings for us during the course of the year. Plays that have saved games for us. So there is more to just making a great play to me, because not only does it change the complexion of that inning, it could change the complexion of the whole game down the road because your starter's not throwing extra pitches. His innings are shorter. Your bullpen might be short one day, and if a guy doesn't make a play, all of a sudden he's out in the fifth instead he should have went seven or eight.
His defense has been spectacular for us. I can't say enough. Whether it's been diving plays and throwing home, turning double-plays, over-the-shoulder catches on pop on-ups, to me he's played gold glove defense.

Q. Can you talk about trying to get this done tonight? Not giving a team as good as the Angels a chance to build some momentum?
JOE GIRARDI: I mean that's what we're trying to do because we know how good of a team they are. We had a chance to play them ten times during the season, and they're a tough club to play against.
So for us you want to try to win it tonight. Not to give them momentum. Obviously get your guys some rest. But we just take it one game at a time. A.J.'s going to take it a pitch at a time, and we'll just try to execute and try to win a game.

Q. Given the way Jorge's been swinging the bat and his numbers against Lackey, was there more of a discussion at all to make him the DH today?
JOE GIRARDI: A little bit. The thing is you talk about a player when he's -- DHing is a different animal in a sense where it's one thing when you're playing defense and you're in the flow of the game and opposed to just getting like four pinch-hit at-bats. It's not necessarily the easiest trade to learn. It takes people some time. So we felt comfortable with Matty still in that situation, even though Jorge's swinging the bat so well. Matty swung the bat well against Lackey as well, so we just stuck with it.

Q. Any number of people have been talked about being key pieces of the clubhouse culture this year. I'm just wondering with all those new players and new stars coming in, where does Derek Jeter still fit into the leadership in the clubhouse and what does he bring into that element?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, he's our captain. And Jeet is the type of leader that is going to do it one-on-one most of the time. He will speak up. We've had our share of discussions where he has spoken up. He leads by example.
He plays hard every day, every play. He never takes a play off. He never takes a pitch off. Physically you see him play beat up. You see him play sick. We had to tie him down in the Mets series, he was so sick. He had a 102, 103 fever, we had to tie him down and say no, you're not playing. He's still the great leader of this club.

Q. We start talking about instant replay back in Minnesota in regard to the playoffs and there's been talk about first the red flag and then the red button. Do you think there have been enough calls or missed calls in these playoffs where even an empire admits to that? Maybe it's time to warrant that discussion after this postseason?
JOE GIRARDI: You know, that's probably not for us to decide at this point, because I don't want to take the focus off of what my job is and what the player's job is. We all understand there is going to be human error on our part, and there is going to be human error on their part. No one's perfect.
As players, when you make a mistake, you have to deal with it. When umpires make a mistake, they have to deal with it. But you have to be able to move on. You've got to be able to create your own breaks and take care of what you're supposed to do.
Will baseball internally talk about it? I don't know. Maybe. But for right now I'm not too concerned about that.

Q. You talked about Jeet today being sick and he was sick yesterday. Is he getting any better and has that spread?
JOE GIRARDI: It has not spread. And if you ask him how he feels he gives you the same answer every time, "Great." In that tone. So I think he is better. I think the day off probably physically helped him and kind of let him rejuvenate a little bit. But as far as being concerned about him playing, no concerns.

Q. There are some great players who never get to one World Series. You have a handful of guys who are on their verge of their seventh and/or eighth World Series. What is the common thread you see between the contributions that those guys have made to help the team get to that point?
JOE GIRARDI: They understand what it takes to win. They have been on very good teams with a lot of talented players. They're extremely talented. They know what it takes when it comes to taking care of their body and being on the field every day; or if you're a closer, being physically healthy year after year after year, taking care of yourself. They understand how to deal with the pressures at this time of the year and not try to do too much.

Q. Last time out Jose came out a lot to talk to A.J. In those meetings, what is he trying to get across? And what does he have to do with A.J. when it calls for a meeting?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, it's usually talking about pitch selection in those situations. Sometimes you might go without giving a sign or you might go a couple of pitches without giving a sign. But it's usually about pitch selection.

End of FastScripts

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