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October 8, 2010

Phil Hughes


Q. Phil, I just asked Joe if he thought he had to speak to you about maybe keeping your emotions intact, big moment, chance to put them away. Do you feel you have to be concerned at all about keeping your emotions intact on such a big game?
PHIL HUGHES: Not really. The adrenaline is going to be there that's a big game. You're going to have that. Everyone everybody does. The playoff experience helped last year even though it was in a bullpen role and in '07 pitching out of the bullpen as well. I know the atmosphere. It's going to be a matter of keeping my emotions in check and going out there and taking it pitch by pitch.

Q. Phil, how much are you just relishing the opportunity to have the chance to be the guy to finish it off?
PHIL HUGHES: It's great. We did what we had to do in Minnesota. And now we have the opportunity to close it out here in Game 3. And we can't take anything off. We have one more game to win and we know this is a dangerous team. And just because we're at home, it's not going to be any easier.
So we're in a good position right now. But we still have one more to get.

Q. When your name came up during the Santana trade talks, how far did your mind wander during that time? Were you going on the internet, checking the roster, looking at the Minneapolis area? Were you following it pretty closely?
PHIL HUGHES: I really didn't. My family was actually remodelling the house in California when that was going down. So I had no TV or no internet. That helped a little bit. It's funny looking back at that now how kind of how far things have come in the last year and a half, two years.
I really haven't thought about it too much. I'm just happy to have stayed.

Q. Phil, last year during the regular season it was such a strong year for you out of the 'pen. The playoffs came and you struggled a little bit more than you did during the season. Now you have had this season which has been so productive again. Do you worry at all would anything last year in the postseason? Did teams pick up on anything? How do you view that dynamic?
PHIL HUGHES: Last year I kind of viewed it as me struggling in the wrong time. I really didn't think that the playoff sort of atmosphere or anything like that factored in. I just wasn't making good pitches. I feel like I'm in a good spot now coming into the playoffs. I had a couple of good starts leading into this. I don't think about that at all.

Q. Phil, what about Minnesota most concerns you?
PHIL HUGHES: Well, they're a good team. We have had the chance to play them last year. Obviously without Morneau they're a little bit different. Mauer is obviously dangerous. Delmon Young has had a great year. They have had the will of guys that can hurt you. You have to go out there and make quality pitches. I think we'll score enough runs and, you know, for sure they're a dangerous team. We kind of have to be really careful with them.

Q. Phil, is your mindset the same? Would it be the same had you come back either tied 1-1 or down 0-2? Is there even the slightest just change in approach that you are up 2-0 with a chance to clinch?
PHIL HUGHES: I don't think so at all. If it was 1-1, if we were down 0-2, I don't think it changes. I have to go out with the approach of winning this game. That's it. Making good pitches and like I said earlier, taking it pitch by pitch and going out there and giving us a quality outing. I don't think that changes necessarily just because we're in the driver's seat or if it was 1-1 or down 0-2.

Q. Andy Pettitte did his thing again last night. He's done it so many times before in the playoffs. What have you learned from seeing him go about his business in the postseason? And has he said anything specifically to you about going out there tomorrow night?
PHIL HUGHES: He hasn't said anything specifically. But you learn so much just from watching what he's done. In '07 when I was here and watching him go out and pitch tremendously in the playoffs, he was coming off that injury this year and missing some time and not necessarily pitching great and the last couple of starts and going out and doing what he always does. It's truly remarkable. I just hope I can kind of follow up that performance with a good one as well.

Q. Joe talked a lot about back-to-back lefties against this lineup. Do you approach their left-handers, do you have a specific way you want to go about a lineup with this many lefties?
PHIL HUGHES: I think my change-up has been a big key my last couple of starts in being effective against lefties. I think it's going to be a big pitch for me again tomorrow. Obviously, CC with his slider and Andy with his cutter, they can neutralize lefties really well. For me, I have to take a little bit different approach. Maybe some cutters in, fastballs, I think that change-up is going to be a big key for me.

Q. Does it feel different for you being in this position as a member of the starting rotation as opposed to being in the bullpen? Does it just feel any more part of it or any different or any bigger?
PHIL HUGHES: I wouldn't say bigger. It definitely is different. Being my first postseason start, it's definitely a different feeling than being in the bullpen. But I'm looking forward to it. And it should be an exciting challenge. I feel like I'm ready.

Q. Can you say different how?
PHIL HUGHES: When you're starting a game and relieving, it's just a different feeling. You're going out there, you're warming up. You know you're pitching. You're expected to go out there and give us six-plus quality innings. And as a member of the bullpen, it's just a different job that you're having to do. So it's definitely a different feeling, but at the same time, it's 60 feet 6 inches. You're out there trying to throw quality pitches. And that's it.
THE MODERATOR: Phil, thank you very much.

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