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October 19, 2010

C.C. Sabathia


Q. You didn't use it as an excuse after the first game in Texas, but how important do you think it will be for you to take the mound on regular rest for the first time in a little while?
CC SABATHIA: I think it will help. You know, still no excuse for the way I pitched the other night, no time off or whatever, but I felt like I was ready throwing out of the bullpen, but obviously I wasn't. I threw a good bullpen two days ago and look forward to being ready tomorrow.

Q. What have you been working on in the bullpen with Dave Eiland leading up to this start and how much do you guys focus on those things?
CC SABATHIA: That was really what it was all about, just making sure I stayed tall, staying closed and getting my fastball command back, because every pitch I throw it comes off my fastball; my changeup, my cutter, my curveball.
So you know, I need to have my fastball coming in to be able to command both sides of the plate and that's what we kind of focus on a lot in the bullpen.

Q. When we have asked you in the past about going up against another guy, you don't focus on who you're facing, but when you see your buddy, Cliff Lee, do what he's doing, do you feel responsibility as the ace of the Yankees to try to match that in terms of going out there and doing your thing?
CC SABATHIA: Well, I mean, you know, we are down, and we need to -- everybody needs to pitch well.
Of course, I feel like I need to go out and pitch like that every time out. I think you guys know that. Like I said, I wasn't able to get it done in Game 1, but I'll be ready to go tomorrow.

Q. I want to ask you about tonight's game. A.J. obviously has struggled quite a bit. You, as the ace of the pitching staff, have you felt the need or desire to talk to him, give him any advice, encouragement, support?
CC SABATHIA: Me and A.J. are pretty close. We came here together and we have a lot of conversations. I think he knows what we need out of him tonight, and what we need really out of all our pitching staff.
We haven't really talked specifically about tonight, but we know that everybody needs to step up and kind of match what Andy has been doing this post-season.

Q. Object there's not a ton of playoff experience in the other dugout. What strikes you about the way these hitters have approached their at-bats? Are they more relaxed than you would have expected or anything along those lines?
CC SABATHIA: It's a young team, they don't have a lot of playoff experience, but it's a veteran lineup. They are good, they can hit, they have a lot of power up-and-down. You can't expect them to be nervous or anything like that. They are a veteran ballclub and it's still baseball. They go out and play and have been playing the way they have been playing all year.

Q. Cervy is catching A.J. tonight and Joe was in here talking about they worked together a lot. How much does it affect you and your pitching with who is behind the plate?
CC SABATHIA: I have a good relationship with both of those guys and not saying that A.J. doesn't, but I try to keep the lines of communication open at all times and talk about whatever when we are sitting on the bench. But with the catchers we have now, it really doesn't matter who is behind. It's fine by me.

Q. What was it that you struggled to correct during that start the other day? Because typically you'll get back into a groove if you struggle with your hand the first inning?
CC SABATHIA: Obviously I didn't really know what I was doing. I hadn't been out there in so long, I didn't know what to correct. There were so many things; not standing tall, flying open, because typically I can have a bad inning and then find out what I'm doing wrong and get my mechanics right and be able to correct it during the game. But I just didn't really have any clue. I was searching for anything and at that point I was trying to throw strikes and I kept battling and staying in the game as long as I could.

Q. What do you see when you see Hamilton play, his swing?
CC SABATHIA: He's got a good swing. The guy hit .359 with 30 homers this year, he's got a lot of pop in that bat and if you make a mistake, he's going to make you pay.

Q. Just continuing on the pitcher/catcher theme, Joe was talking about how he believes in that relationship, between pitchers and catchers and I'm wondering whether there was anyone in your career, in Cleveland or Milwaukee, who you had that sort of real close relationship and then why it worked.
CC SABATHIA: I think just starting off in my career, having Sandy Alomar coming up through the Minor Leagues and talking to him, really understanding that the pitcher and catcher relationship is really important. You know, I had Victor Martinez, he was unbelievable. I had him pretty much my whole career in Cleveland and we were really close friends. You know, he wasn't scared to tell me when I was doing something wrong and I wasn't scared to tell him anything.
That's the biggest thing is to trust each other. That's all you've got out there. You've got to trust that he's putting down the right fingers and trust that you're throwing the right pitches.

Q. I know that you told us situations don't make you pitch any differently, but how do you suspect you'll feel when you wake up tomorrow whether it is 2-2 or 1-3. In past playoff experiences, how do you treat the way you get ready for a game based on the situation?
CC SABATHIA: The same. I can't change anything. As soon as I start doing things like that and worrying about what is going on or anything, other than focusing on making sure I'm ready to pitch, I won't change anything. My routine won't change. I'll come in the clubhouse and be the same guy and be ready to pitch.

Q. When you come off a disappointing start, are you more excited about getting back out there and having a chance to redeem yourself?
CC SABATHIA: That's the toughest thing about being a starter is you've got to wait four days. You know, especially in a situation like this, so, you know, I'm itching to get back out there, like I said, I threw a good bullpen a couple of days ago and I'll be ready to go.

Q. You mentioned Andy earlier about what he's meant to you guys in the post-season. He's one of the guys that at the end of the year reevaluates whether or not he wants to come back or not. Do you ever look at him, especially after what he did last night, maybe this could be it or that possibly you won't see him again?
CC SABATHIA: I hope not. I'll be calling him and begging him this off-season to come back. He's meant a lot to me, two years that I've known him, coming here, from day one in Spring Training, just welcomed me with open arms and any questions I ever had, about the organization, about the city or pitching against these guys in the AL East, he's been more than happy to help me and I think he's been a big reason why I've had success here so far.

Q. Three in a row, Texas has scored in the first inning; is that random? Is that preparation? Is there anything to make of that?
CC SABATHIA: Of them scoring in the first inning? That's making mistakes. You know, like I said, I mean, that's a good-hitting team, and any time you make a mistake -- put together a great at-bat last night and Josh pitched out in front and hit a homer. They have done a good job of jumping on us early and that's what puts the pressure on us.

End of FastScripts

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