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October 7, 2010

Rocco Baldelli


Q. After working this hard to get back, you were doing quite well. How disappointing is it for you not to all of a sudden be part of the march to the Series?
ROCCO BALDELLI: Well, the last day or so has been very disappointing for me, to say the least. It's not something that I anticipated. I have generally been feeling pretty good and been happy with the way things have gone on the field. Just to be sitting here and talking to you guys is definitely -- it's not something I really wanted to be doing.

Q. Can you just take us through it, what you felt, when you felt it, and how soon you knew that you were in trouble for the Division Series?
ROCCO BALDELLI: Yeah, I generally -- a lot of things that happened to me and the way my body feels are -- sometimes it's work-related and sometimes it's not, and I really don't have very good ways to explain why it happens. But what happened is when I was getting loose for the game yesterday, my left hamstring -- for the most part it was my left hamstring started to cramp up a little bit while I was just jogging back and forth.
During the game in the batting cage, where I do most of my work when I'm DHing, it cramped up, started to cramp up again. And then in my last at-bat that I took, it cramped up in the box while I was swinging. At that point I knew I was probably not in good shape.
And after the game I had some discussions with our guys, and I showed up today early and went out in the cage, and I hit and I tried to do some running, and it was a situation where I wasn't going to be able to go out there and play. I felt like I had a responsibility to the team to make sure that whoever was out there was able to play.

Q. Obviously the path you've been on has been very unpredictable so far. Do you have any thoughts if you'll continue to try to play next season or going forward?
ROCCO BALDELLI: No. I probably will address that probably to you and probably my family, too. You two will be the first people that know about it when I make my decision.

Q. On a personal level, not being able to do what you wanted to do yesterday, how were you able to deal with that? What's going through your head now knowing that you couldn't perform the way you needed to or the team needed you to perform yesterday?
ROCCO BALDELLI: Well, performance-wise on the field, obviously I don't think I did what I wanted to do. Just in general I think the old me and probably the way that most guys are in Major League Baseball, the way this game is is you put yourself and your personal -- basically everything that revolves around the self goes away and you do what's best for your team. There's a machoism and an egotism to everything that goes on, and I have fully been involved in that my entire career, and I'm beyond that now. I'm here because I want this organization to win a World Series.
With me being out there right now, I can honestly say that I'm not the best guy to do the job. If I could run in the least at this point or even hit at this point, trust me, I would be out there. But I mean, I have to look at myself and be honest and say that, like I said, I'm not the best guy for the job right now.

Q. Obviously at the beginning of the season, you weren't playing baseball and then you came back during the summer. Can you kind of take us through that timeline during the summer, getting back into baseball and what went into that decision and the progress you made to get back here?
ROCCO BALDELLI: Well, I think it started with a discussion that I had with Andrew Friedman this off-season. I didn't know what I was going to be able to do this year as far as baseball. My shoulder had some issues. Obviously I have physical issues besides that that I deal with, and Andrew always told me that I'd be welcome in the organization when I was done playing.
We spoke, I ended up coming to Spring Training, I worked mostly on the Minor League side, but I would spend some time on the Major League side, mostly just enjoying being around the baseball field over there. There's not much for me to do on that side.
And when the season started, I went and visited the Minor League teams. I ended up making it to every team except one, two times, and I was able to do some draft stuff. They invited me into the draft room and I did some work there, and I did a lot of different things, and I had a really good time doing it.
And around the middle of July, everything, my body meaning, started to progress where I could get some good workouts in, and I felt like I actually had a chance to come back and play, but I was a long way away from playing at that point. I kind of just jumped into games at the high A level. I hadn't seen a pitch in close to a year, and I struggled for a little bit while I was trying to get back in shape. I went from there to Durham, played there for a while, and got called up September 1st.

Q. The fact that -- I'm not saying quit or retire by any sense of the imagination, but does the fact that you have a chance to mentor people and work with the Minor Leagues and even around the Big Leagues -- does it give you more of a satisfaction, more of a relaxing feeling in a sense that there's other things that you can do to contribute to an organization, whether it's the Rays or otherwise? And does it make it as hard on you, the fact that you can't do the thing that you love the most, which is play baseball?
ROCCO BALDELLI: Yeah, not being able to play baseball has been one of the toughest things I've had to deal with for probably the last five years of my life. It's what I love to do, and it's a difficult thing dealing with it. But knowing that I have some other things that I can do at the field that someone is getting something out of it, maybe if I'm there and even able to help any of the young guys, then it's worth it to me. I mean, I enjoyed what I did this year. I had a great time.
I guess I'm not playing at this point, but at this point I try to keep my mindset as one of a player. No, what I did was great, and I had a lot of fun.

Q. Has this been a problem? Has it flared up since you've been back with the Rays?
ROCCO BALDELLI: It's a problem that I deal with from one extent to the other all the time, but it doesn't progress to this point usually. When it progresses to this point, I can't -- I generally can't play. It's something that has happened to me before in my time playing. It's happened to me a handful of times, and just like this time, I can't get out there.

Q. Not since you've been back?
ROCCO BALDELLI: No, not like this since I've been back.

Q. Do you try to come back this post-season? It sounds like you're resigned to the fact that you're not able to contribute at the level you'd like to for the duration of the post-season, or do you try to see how you feel?
ROCCO BALDELLI: Well, I'm not going anywhere. Andrew and Joe told me I'm not going anywhere, so I'm not going anywhere. I'll be here.
I mean, I don't know how the rules work as far as this. I don't know if the next -- from what I thought, maybe the next series I'm not allowed to play even if things did improve. I have no idea.
But I'll probably do everything I can to stay in shape, and as soon as -- I mean, this could be a thing where in four or five days or a week that I'm pretty much back into as good a shape as I can be in, you know, hopefully. So I'll probably just stay in shape in case something happens. I've ended up doing things I didn't think I could do before, so I'll just do what I do, be around the clubhouse, hit, and see what happens.

Q. As you mentioned, it's been a hard five years for you, or whatever the number is. What has kept you trying to come back?
ROCCO BALDELLI: I don't know. I don't know if I can actually answer that question. I love playing, so I really don't know anything else to do, and it sounds, I guess, kind of simplistic and even silly. But it's what I like doing, so I keep coming back. It's been difficult, but I think it's all generally been worth it. It's all been worth it, everything that I've gone through and come back from, even if it's coming back for September and getting to watch my teammates right now. I would do it all over again.

Q. I know you're not a doctor, Rocco, but have they mentioned anything about whether there's a stress element to this condition?
ROCCO BALDELLI: You know what, no, not really. The problems that I deal with aren't really completely described to me by any of the doctors that I've dealt with. I don't think any of the doctors that I've seen or worked with -- and I've seen some pretty, I don't know, well-known or prestigious doctors, and none of them have really gone out on a limb and said this is exactly what you're dealing with. I think they know, I guess, the family of what I'm dealing with but not the exact diagnosis.
I mean, I've had so many things mentioned to me by so many different doctors that I'm sure that some of them have mentioned stress as something that might enhance the condition. But no one has been able to say that decisively.

End of FastScripts

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