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October 14, 2010

Joe Girardi


Q. What went into your decision to put Sabathia --
JOE GIRARDI: There's a lot of things that go into determining what your rotation is going to be during the course of the post-season, and does it change from series to series. Some of the things we looked at was the success he's had here, he's pitched very well here. He's pitched very well on the road this year. If you look at his starts, both of them were going to be on the road this year. You look at our ballpark, sometimes it's a little bit more favorable to a left-handed pitcher than right-handed pitchers, and those are some of the things that we looked at.

Q. What went into basically keeping the roster the same as in the first round? Was there any consideration as to leaving anybody out or did you decide to stick with --
JOE GIRARDI: We had some discussions. That's the first thing that we talked about when we had our scouting meeting yesterday and we just decided that we were going to stand pat. We like the way that we have put the roster together. There was discussions about, do you want an extra pitcher and we felt we didn't need to. We tried to cover our bases with all things involved and we just decided to stand pat.

Q. Talk about how far Curtis Granderson has come, especially since working with Kevin Long, he sat a couple of games and worked on hitting against lefties and seems to have worked.
JOE GIRARDI: It has. K-Long changed a couple of minor things, his hand position and stride a little bit, and Curtis, he's played an important role down the stretch. He had big hits in the Minnesota series; I think about the triple off the wall on Liriano was just a huge hit for us. He's been a different guy, the home runs that he's hit in the last two months, you see him putting on really tough, tough at-bats on pitchers, and we love it.

Q. Just want to follow up on Kevin himself. He says he's got a dream job but says he doesn't deserve the credit, it's the players. As a manager, how much credit does he deserve for getting the team to where it's at?
JOE GIRARDI: He's done a tremendous job. He understands mechanics very well and he understands the swing very well. Teaching it to one guy might be different than teaching it to another guy and so you have to be able to communicate in a lot of different ways. He can do that.
The other thing I think he's excellent at is in-game adjustments. If a guy is getting his foot down or his hands are not in the right spot or he's open too much, he's very good at pointing that out to a hitter and asking them to make a minor change, and they adopt.

Q. So how old are you today?

Q. Congratulations.
JOE GIRARDI: Thank you.

Q. Back to the Andy/Phil decision, Game 7, did that have anything to do with it?
JOE GIRARDI: Yeah, that's one of the things you look at, too, yes, of course.

Q. So does that mean you would prefer to have Andy pitch Game 7?
JOE GIRARDI: You look at Andy, he's got, what, 40 post-season starts? A lot of people talk about Game 3 being a pivotal game, as well, and we just felt that this was the way to go with the rotation. There were a lot of factors that went into this, and now you're going left, right, left, right and they have some positions that they possibly platoon at and we just looked at all of those things and felt that this was the best way to do it.

Q. Was there any thought of asking CC to go short rest?
JOE GIRARDI: No. We just think it's too difficult. This is a guy that we have, for a long time, and I'm not so sure that if we did that, we would be able to do it with the other guy. And I think asking him to do that, you may not get the distance out of him that you would get in the two games, and you don't know if he'll be as sharp.

Q. When you guys look at the scouting reports and you see pitchers, do you ask them to do more than what they do during the regular season? Do you try to keep it simple with them? How do you look at it?
JOE GIRARDI: Our approach with our pitchers in giving them scouting reports won't change. We might get a little bit more information than what we had, because our scouts can follow one team for a month, six weeks, or whatever it is.
As far as giving our players a whole lot more than we would normally give them, we don't. We understand what they are able to take in and not try to overload them, and we just try to keep it pretty much the same.

Q. What have Kearns and Kerry Wood meant to you since you acquired them?
JOE GIRARDI: Kerry Wood has really given us experience. He has really given us depth in our bullpen, and he's been our 8th-inning guy, I don't know, for last month, last six weeks, however long you want to look at it. And he's even given us four and five outs at times. And he's a presence down there, because he's been through a lot in his career, and understands how difficult it can be to get to the playoffs and how much you need to appreciate it and enjoying what you're doing.
Austin Kearns gave us depth, when we had outfielders beat up. Swish was beat up and Gardy was beat up for a while and he gave us depth. The unfortunate thing for Austin was he got beat up, too. He got hurt in his hand and then he got hurt in the elbow and the last couple of weeks was kind of tough, because he was playing hurt, as well.

Q. Is a change of approach needed? You guys are a very patient-hitting team and you encourage guys to take a lot of pitches; is there a change of approach necessary when you face Cliff Lee?
JOE GIRARDI: We're going to talk about what we are going to try to do off of each starting pitcher, whether it's C.J. Wilson or Cliff Lee. We'll have a discussion with our players and it's a pretty open discussion about how we maybe want to approach a guy. When I look at Cliff Lee, you can say, be patient off of Cliff Lee and all of the sudden you're 0-2 and he can do whatever he wants at that point.
So I think with Cliff Lee, you have to be ready to hit, and if he makes a mistake, try not to miss it, because you may not get another one in that AB.

Q. So does that constitute a change of approach?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I think we try different approaches on him, and we'll just see how it goes when we face him. We'll focus on C.J. first, and how we are going to approach him.

Q. With A.J., I don't recall hearing you asked this, what did you think of the simulated game, and are you comfortable that he's ready to give you a good effort?
JOE GIRARDI: I actually thought he threw the ball pretty well. I know a lot was made of him hitting a couple of hitters, and we talk about that with our hitters all the time and obviously you never want to hit your own hitters. It happens, and we don't want to see the guys get beat up and I am confident in him and I've seen what A.J. can do and I saw what A.J. did in the last season for us. He went through some difficult times during the course of the last season, he did. And he also ran off 12 or 13 good starts in a row. We know that A.J. can do and we are looking for a good start from A.J.

Q. What have you seen of Neftali this season, and do you have any sense as you're watching him that he's only 22 years old?
JOE GIRARDI: He's got a live arm and he knows how to pitch and he knows how to hold runners late in games. He seems to be pretty relaxed out there. And for a 22-year-old, your first post-season, with this organization, that's pretty neat, and an All-Star this year.
He seems to -- when I look at him, he appears to be a veteran, and I think he has grown up in front of the Rangers fan's eyes. We saw him in the bullpen a little bit and there was talk about making him a starter and they kept him in the bullpen and this he was a starter coming up. He's just done a tremendous job for them.

Q. There was a time where the Texas Rangers were known for their hitting the home runs and they can still do that, and now especially in Game 5, we have seen that their speed can really help them. How dangerous is this team knowing that they are not just a home run hitting team any more?
JOE GIRARDI: They have very aggressive ballclub on the bases and that makes them dangerous. And you talk about speed, Vlad Guerrero is not the fastest guy in the world but he scored on a ground ball, and that's just being aggressive and not running hard and not assuming that you're going to stop at third. That's just good baseball and they are aggressive and if you don't pay attention to details, they are going to score some runs for you.

Q. Only once before in the Yankees history has the team had more than five days off in between post-season games. Do you remember in '96, was there a feeling of hesitation going into it? Andy spoke about it, he pitched terribly and that's why he got killed 12-1, but he said it's tough to mark that team, he would almost prefer to pitch on short rest. Can you talk about some of that?
JOE GIRARDI: I actually remember it being one of the most enjoyable weeks in my life in the game of baseball, because the anticipation of playing in the World Series, for the first time for me, and being able to enjoy it, not just going from playing on a Thursday and getting in and then starting on Saturday again in that sense; I remember it being extremely enjoyable, relaxing, and I got to tell you, I loved it.
Now, you do worry about not playing for six days. You do worry about that. And will there be rust on your players the first few innings. You hope not. We will try to do things and we have worked out and we have had some guys take live BP, but like I said, it's a little nerve-wracking having all of you guys taking live BP and we had two guys hit the other day, and hopefully they won't be rusty and they will come out and the rest actually did them did.

Q. Following up on that, where is the level of concern with CC having so much time between starts? He wasn't as sharp in Game 1 in Minnesota.
JOE GIRARDI: There's a little bit of concern. I mean, you always worry about that. I don't know any other way to handle it. You don't necessarily want to go five games, and you can't pitch him Game 1. I mean, that's not what you want to do. So you just have to deal with it. You throw a couple extra bullpens. CC has logged in a lot of innings. Maybe this will make him better.

Q. Are your relievers used to having no more than one or two days off and are they more susceptible to a long layoff like this?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, Robby, Joba, Boone, Woody, Serg and Moseley all through Tuesday in a simulated game, so they are going to have two days off.
I think it's easier to do that with reliever than it is necessarily with your starters, and I think that they should be sharp.

End of FastScripts

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