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October 9, 2010

Joe Girardi


Q. Joe, a recurring and positive thing for you all year has been how Robbie Cano has stepped up being the fifth in your lineup. Can you talk a little about that?
JOE GIRARDI: There was a big question mark about who was going to replace Matsui in our lineup hitting in the fifth slot. We talked about different guys that could possibly do it, and our thought process, if Robbie could do it, that is the best fit for us because you would have a switch-hitter behind him and you wouldn't have to stack left-handers. He's been tremendous.
In Alex' absence when he has had to hit in the fourth slot, he's even been better. I talked about Robbie Cano where he's had an outstanding year and I believe he's the MVP of our league. Just because of you combine his offense and I believe gold glove defense and how he impacts the game defensively, I think he's had the best all-around year.

Q. How would you feel about expanding this round to seven games, four of seven?
JOE GIRARDI: Really haven't thought a lot about it. It would just prolong the season a little bit longer. It would make it more interesting. I think there would be -- it would be a different feel to the first round. I think clubs talk about the nervousness in the first round because it's such a short series.
I guess I really don't have a true feeling either way. I wouldn't be opposed to it, though.

Q. Could you give me an idea how much during the course of the season you worry about just having enough arms to get through a series or get through a week and whether those worries carry over into the postseason?
JOE GIRARDI: We try to make sure that our bullpen is well stocked. And we feel if we need another pitcher, we'll even add a long man as an eighth pitcher and play a little short from a position standpoint. So we've done that since I've been here. There haven't been too many days where I've been worried that we have enough innings for that day. Maybe once or twice. But for the most part, we're usually prepared for that. And we try to prepare ourselves for that in the postseason as well with the long man that we carry.

Q. So much of baseball is a mental game. Things go into needing one. One out to complete a no-hitter, perfect game, or one win to clinch a playoff spot. One win to clinch a series. Does that sum up a lot of the mental part of baseball? And with that, what's the best advice you've ever given or received in a situation where it's needing one?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I think when you talk about needing one, the biggest thing is you have to be able to relax in the situation. And your thought process has to, for me, has to be instinctual. When you start thinking too much in the game, I think it can paralyze you. So you do your preparation for the game, and you let the chips fall where they may. Whether it's one out for a no-hitter, don't try to do anything different. Just be who you are and don't try to do more than you should.
I think sometimes people can get caught up in those things. And since I've been here, I've been pleased with our players and their focus just doing the job on hand and not trying to look too far ahead.

Q. Yogi is here to throw out the first pitch again. Can you just talk about how much you have gotten to know him? Was it just when you were manager or back when you were a player too and sort of what it represents to you when he comes back to do this?
JOE GIRARDI: I think it represents the greatness of the Yankees, of baseball. Yogi is such an easy man to talk to. It's wonderful having him around. And I remember going to his museum, and when my daughter was first born in 1999, making sure that I got a picture of Yogi holding my daughter. That's how much it means to me. And I love having him around. I look forward to when he's here, when he's here in Spring Training, we sit around and talk baseball. He's such a wonderful man. His wife is a beautiful, wonderful lady. So it just talks about the greatness of the Yankees.

Q. What is A.J.'s routine been this week? If you do advance, will he be part of the rotation in the next round?
JOE GIRARDI: I'll worry about the next round if we have to worry about the next round. That's kind of how I look at that. He's done his bullpens. He's done some bullpens. He did a bullpen on Monday. We had a few guys do some light sides yesterday. And I'm not sure if he was one of them.

Q. I got two questions. How much does Alex' last year's postseason help him this year?
JOE GIRARDI: That's probably a question you would have to ask Alex. But I don't think there's been any point in Alex' career that I've ever doubted him in what he can do in the course of a game, in the course of a series, in the course of a year.
So for me, it hasn't changed a lot.

Q. And then in the first two games, forget the results, what did you think of his at-bats?
JOE GIRARDI: I thought they were good. He had an RBI out there. For the most part, he had a productive at-bat. He moved runners when he had to. I thought his at-bats have been good.

Q. We were talking to Kerry yesterday, he said the person that most reminds him of Mo in the bullpen is Maddux because of the calmness and the demeanor and everything. You've caught both of those guys. Can you see that comparison? Is it an apt one?
JOE GIRARDI: I think it's a good comparison. Greg Maddux always knew what he wanted to do, was always prepared and was always calm and a great student of the game. I think you can say the same about Mo. Great fielder. Didn't beat himself.

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