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October 7, 2010

Andrew Friedman


Q. Can you just run through the procedure of how you got this -- when you first decided to try to do this and how the approval came down? When did you decide to try to make this move, and was there any -- did you have to wait for MLB, a certain amount of time, did they have to see medical records? How did it get approved?
ANDREW FRIEDMAN: We had Rocco come in early this morning and work out, and once he said that he couldn't go is when we set the wheels in motion.
You have to fill out a form to submit to MLB and have our team doctor talk to a doctor as appointed by MLB, and we went through that process, and then ultimately got approved.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about your relationship with Rocco, and especially this year, the kind of things that you did with Rocco? He was talking about being in the draft room, visiting all the Minor League teams, stuff like that. Can you talk about your relationship?
ANDREW FRIEDMAN: Sure. Rocco is as much a part of the Rays family as any player that's ever worn this uniform. He's as selfless of an athlete as they come. His dedication to the game on and off the field has made a tremendous impact on all of us. And so this spring I sat down with him and we talked about kind of a two-pronged setup, one where he was rehabbing and getting well and seeing how his body was progressing, and the second was to help us, and felt like he had a lot to give back even if he wasn't on the field.
He made a great impact on our Minor League system this year. The players speak extremely well of him. And to have someone like him who's done it so recently and to be able to talk to these guys from firsthand experience is extremely valuable. In the draft process he was also surprisingly insightful, had very good questions and thoughts and added a lot to our process. And then it progressed into July, obviously, where he started his rehab assignment. But everything he did before that was very meaningful.

Q. It's difficult for Rocco to express himself where he's feeling emotionally and mentally through this whole thing. Can you just relay to people how hard he's worked through this whole thing and where he is at in his head with this?
ANDREW FRIEDMAN: Yeah, I mean, I think it's fairly evident. I walked by the TV and saw him when he was doing this, and you could see it on his face, the amount of work that he's put in to getting back to this point. And to have something that he has no control over, essentially, at least for this post-season, take the game away from him, it's something that would be very difficult for anybody.

Q. Is this something you thought could happen? Obviously it's been kind of weeks considering what your post-season roster is going to be, or you know there's an uncertainty with Rocco?
ANDREW FRIEDMAN: Sure, just based on his history we knew that it was a possibility, and it speaks to our depth. And it was also a decision that wasn't very easy for us in the first place. But certainly we knew it was a possibility, but the fact that he had DH'd in back to back games in Triple-A, engaging how his body felt after DHing and playing the field with us in September, we felt like there was a better chance than not that he would get through it and be able to DH in these two games and be a bat off the bench in Games 3 and 4. But of course we knew that there was a possibility.

Q. When you have the injury position like this, is it now a fact that Rocco is done for the post-season or is it too risky to bring him back?
ANDREW FRIEDMAN: The rule is that he's done through the ALCS, and obviously if you're fortunate enough to get to the World Series, then we'll gauge it from there. But I think with the fact that he DH'd in Game 1 and the way his body felt thereafter, it's hard to imagine that in the World Series we would put him on the roster if we're fortunate enough to get that far. But rules-wise it's just through the ALCS.

Q. Stepping away from your role as team executive for a minute, just on a personal level, you've been around Rocco a lot, you know him really well. How disappointed are you to see this season at least end this way for this guy?
ANDREW FRIEDMAN: It's tough. It's tough for all of us that know him well to know what he puts in and what he has to do that -- I'll say most to all players don't have to go through, and just the constant not knowing how his body is going to respond is extremely difficult. And to see it happen like this is really tough for all of us.

Q. The question I have is knowing the medical problems that he's had in his history and the fact that this could flare up, how much of that was a factor to put him on the roster in the first place? Was that a bit of a roll of the dice on your part and Joe Maddon's part, as well, or in your mind did you think he'd be able to go the distance?
ANDREW FRIEDMAN: We did. We felt like based on what he'd done in August in Durham and the way his body responded here in September that by setting up a position where he would DH in the first two games, we felt very confident that he'd be able to get through that.
That being said, we still knew that there was a possibility just based on his history. But the fact that he was DHing and not playing the field gave us a lot of confidence that he could get through that.

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