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October 1, 2011

Ron Roenicke


Q. Could you take us through the process on Greinke starting?
RON ROENICKE: Well, I think that's what we would have wanted all along, if everything would have worked out the way we wanted it to. Setting up our starting rotation through those last few games when we felt we needed to win the games to have home field advantage, but also of thinking how we're going to set it up in the playoffs in trying to work out both, and they didn't work out as well as we wanted to.
But the last game that Zack [Greinke] pitched Wednesday, he pitched really to pitch again Sunday. The way he went about it, the conversation I had in game with him after the 5th inning, we were talking about pitches, and if we got a bigger lead he was going to come out and that was what was on his mind. I didn't really talk to him that way during the game, but afterward that's why he was asking me after the 5th inning, is because he was thinking about this game Sunday.
So I felt good about him coming back and throwing it. He threw a bullpen yesterday, he threw real well. And I think with the 74 pitches that he threw in that game, I think it set it up good for him coming back and pitching.

Q. Does the way your bullpen performs and the setup this year make it easier to bring him back? Is there a limit on how long you want him to work on Sunday?
RON ROENICKE: I think we'll see how the game goes. But if he goes five innings, I feel really good with going to our bullpen. We're not asking him to go out there and throw eight or nine innings.

Q. Could you tell us what you're doing at third and then why, whatever you're doing at third?
RON ROENICKE: Well, today we're doing Jerry Hairston at third. And why? Just, I think, that he's been swinging the bat better. He's also good defensively. And then matchups, looking at what he does against Kennedy and also looking at tomorrow what Casey [McGehee] does against Hudson. We'll see tomorrow. I haven't made up my mind a hundred percent, but I think I know what I want, what I'd like to do.

Q. Do you wrestle with it? Was it tough telling Casey or just how did that come out?
RON ROENICKE: It wasn't tough telling Casey, because we've had a lot of conversations in the last week or two on what's going on. Casey wants to win. Whatever it takes for us to put the best team out there to have a chance to win, that's what he wants. He's very comfortable and confident coming off the bench, when we needed a right-handed pinch-hitter. So I think with all that and him thinking the way he's been thinking lately, I think this was a good option to go.

Q. Can you just discuss Nyjer and his preparedness now and if he's ready today? I know he was anxious even the other day to play, so I imagine he is ready to play. How do you see him progressing after the shin injury?
RON ROENICKE: He's doing well. Yesterday he was out running around, felt a lot better. Every day it was getting better. He's ready to go. He doesn't have anything that's going to hold him back.

Q. Going back to Greinke, what does it say about him that he's willing and wanted to come back after short rest? And how much did his performance at home play into wanting him to pitch in Game 2?
RON ROENICKE: Well, in our mind some of it had wanting to pitch him at home. But Zack has been really good everywhere lately. The home numbers, I know there's quite a bit of difference if you look at the season. But if you look at just the last month or two, he's been good both places.
So it's not that big of a concern to me whether he starts at home or not. Maybe it is with him, he hasn't told me that. And maybe that was his thinking was, wanting to come back and wanting to pitch.
But probably more of it is Zack does not like to go a long time without pitching. And what we were talking about what the days would be, especially the Wednesday game if he didn't pitch, it was too long for him to wait and come back on Sunday. So if he would have gone long Wednesday and had a tough time and his pitch count would have been up around 100, then we would have waited and pitched him Tuesday.

Q. Can you tell us what your preseason expectations were for Zack, as far as fitting in, knowing the social anxieties, what you thought it was like, and what it actually was like, because you told us many times it was way better than you envisioned?
RON ROENICKE: Yeah, I didn't know what kind of conversations I would have with Zack or how he would fit in with the team coming over. You hear some things and until you're with him and see how he interacts with the other players, it's hard to imagine what was going to go on.
But right away in Spring Training, Zack likes to engage. He likes to stir it up a little bit with the other pitchers. He's very confident, as you guys know, he's brutally honest. And at times, you know, maybe some people take a little step back at that, but if you know Zack and you know where he's coming from, there's no malice in it. He's fun to be around and when you're talking to him about something that is important to him, you're going to be in a long conversation. It's just the fluff that he doesn't like.
If I want to ask him how his day is going or where he's going out to dinner tonight, that's not the conversation Zack likes to have. But if you're talking about how to get a batter out or how to field his position or how to hit, because he loves to hit, you're going to be in a conversation with him.
He's been really nice on this team and he really fits in well with the other starting pitchers. And I think the injury coming out of Spring Training I wasn't sure what was going to happen there, how long he was going to be out, how he was going to come back. I think that's another reason why -- I know it's another reason why we don't feel so bad on him coming back on three days rest, because he's got less innings than anybody we have as a starter, and for him quite a bit less innings than he's used to pitching in a season.

Q. Jerry Hairston, is he equal to your other guys defensively at third base? Has he exceeded expectations from what you thought you would get from him?
RON ROENICKE: I think he's a plus defender. Counsell would be a plus defender, also. I don't think he's exceeded what I thought because the people that I had called about him before we got him had really good things to say about him. So they told me he was a plus defender. They told me he was a gamer, he was going to get some big hits for us. He's not intimidated by situations, and that's what I see from him.

Q. You only listed three pitchers so far. Is Game 4, are you waiting to see what happens in the first three or is Wolf --
RON ROENICKE: Wolf is Game 4.

Q. No matter what happens the first --
RON ROENICKE: We'll see how it goes. We'll see what Yo's [Yovani Gallardo] outing is today. If he happens to go short today, which I certainly hope he doesn't go short today, it could change that.
But, no, Wolf is Game 4. The only reason I think I didn't say who Game 4 was because I think the question was who was Game 3 and then automatically we would know who Game 4 was.

Q. But barring something unforeseen, Wolf's got that game?
RON ROENICKE: Wolf's got that game, yes.

Q. When you look at the debacle in New York, losing Verlander and Sabathia right out of the shoot. I guess you're more appreciative of it today --
RON ROENICKE: I heard the comment Girardi made, it's too late to put a roof on. Really, if you're a player, you've got to love being here. This is a great place to play. The weather is cold outside today. Inside during the ballgame it's going to be really pleasant.
You know, the new domes, the new stadiums, they've got some great stadiums out there. But the new domes, being able to open them up when you want to, I think is a huge advantage for what you try to do every day and the consistency you have with your team. And staying away from double headers, because they are really tough on a team.

Q. Is it even a recruiting tool for free agents, do you think?
RON ROENICKE: I would think so. We pack the place. You couldn't get a better atmosphere than this ballpark and the fans that we put in it every day, consistently, even when we weren't playing well at the beginning of the season.

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