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October 2, 2013

Terry Francona


Q.  First of all, Michael Bourn is okay?
TERRY FRANCONA:  Yeah, he did really well last night.  If he can pass last night, he can do anything.  We ran him through everything full speed, turns, bases, outfield.  He's good to go.

Q.  What about the decision then to start Lonnie?
TERRY FRANCONA:  He's got a little bit of history, and the way they match up, it gives us some balance where they bring in a lefty, we've got to be able to fit in there.

Q.  How much thought did you give to putting Chris on the roster, and was that at all a difficult decision for you?

Q.  Perez.
TERRY FRANCONA:  We gave thought to everybody, but no, it wasn't a tough decision.  You don't know how a game is going to go, whether it's 9, 10, 11, 12 innings, and given the right situation, he could find his way into a game.  He's got 20‑something saves.
He's run into some tough outings lately, but he threw the last day in Minnesota, he came and threw in a simulated game on Monday here.  He's done everything with the right attitude.  So I think we wanted to put him on.

Q.  Do you recall the last time or the first time you saw Danny Salazar throw?  Was it in Spring Training?  What were your impressions of him?
TERRY FRANCONA:  No, it was down in the Dominican when I went down to visit with Mickey.  I was visiting Carlos Santana and Ubaldo, and they were long tossing.  I said to Mickey, I was like, Who's that other guy?  Because the ball was coming out of his hand and just‑‑ like with ease, and then he threw a little side, and Mickey was telling me, this kid‑‑ you're really going to like this kid.  He's probably not ready, but you're going to love him.
They explain to me coming off of Tommy John and limiting the innings and everything.  Then about halfway through the year when some of the coordinators came through, Danny was in Double‑A.  And they were like, hey, if you've got a spot start, we think he's ready.
That game in Toronto when we needed a spot start, he looked ready to me.  They had to monitor innings in the beginning of the year so if we got to a point here we could let him pitch.  So I thought our development people did a great job, and now we can turn Danny loose.

Q.  Back to Perez for one second, did it give you any pause when he told you that he might not be able to help you out in that last weekend?
TERRY FRANCONA:  That's not what he said.  He said he didn't want to hurt the team.  He never said he didn't want to pitch.  He goes, hey, you need to match me up against somebody in the 5th.  He was just telling me he with do anything to help us and he didn't want to hurt us.  He wasn't baling on anybody.  Maybe I misspoke if I presented it that way.

Q.  Obviously this is one game and you've only seen Tampa Bay a few times this year, but what do you recall the rivalry you had with them, with your previous employer?
TERRY FRANCONA:  Well, when you play a team 18, 19 times a year, it's a lot.  You know, they were good.  I mean, they found a way in the American League East on a smaller payroll to compete every year.  So you know they're doing things right.  They've made tremendous decisions.  I mean, there's a lot to respect.
In one game, though, you go play and turn your players loose and hope you get to keep playing.

Q.  Was it a very intense rivalry you had with them, would you say?
TERRY FRANCONA:  I don't know that there's been a game played that I don't feel like there's intensity.  Maybe in Spring Training sometimes.  But once a season starts, you want to have intensity every night because when you get in situations like this, you can't just push a button and elevate your game or hit the ball farther.  That's why you try to have an atmosphere where every game is the most important game, so when you get to this point nothing changes.

Q.  Was there an extra message that you tried to drive home or an extra talk that you gave before this game, or was it just everything has been the same for you guys?
TERRY FRANCONA:  No, try to stay in the routine.  I don't need to be giving them any Knute Rockne, One for the Gipper or any‑‑ they know what's going on.  I mean, I think I mentioned embrace the challenge and enjoy the competition, but nothing much more than that.

Q.  Can you talk about Carson and Ramirez on the roster?
TERRY FRANCONA:  Yeah, I mean, Matt, since he's come up has been a big part of what we're doing, whether it's going in for defense, pinch running, can play all three outfield positions so it gives us some flexibility.
And Ramirez, kind of the same thing.  Since the day he got here, he looks like he belongs.  He can change the game with his speed and we can move him around the infield in case something happens.

Q.  You said all year long that you felt the fans would come out and embrace this team in these type of settings, and certainly it seems like the last 48 hours there's been so much kind of hype for the game.  Just talk about what you expect out there tonight and the intensity of the fans if you will and how much they've kind of shown up and embraced the team the last couple days.
TERRY FRANCONA:  Well, I think they've been dying for a game like this and wanting it so bad.  So for a lot of reasons, obviously we want to win just because we want to win, but it would be great to not only create some excitement but then extend it.  These people deserve to have a chance to show their appreciation for these players and vice versa.

Q.  Back to Salazar, his stuff is just lights out, but mentally what have you seen from him in the last couple of months to put him in a situation like today, a one‑game playoff?
TERRY FRANCONA:  I would say mentally matches his stuff.  That's why we're so comfortable pitching him.  I asked him after his first start, How nervous were you, you know, the next day?  And he was like, Not really.  And usually you get that from guys, and you know they're lying.  He kind of explained it to me, I've been through so much with my arm, being on the mound is the most comfortable place for me in the world.  He goes, I actually felt pretty good, and I believed him.

Q.  Two quick things:  We all saw how last year ended for Swisher.  How much do you think he just almost seems like a different guy the way this year is ending for him, and what was your reaction to the atmosphere last night in Pittsburgh, kind of riding on his question about the fans here?
TERRY FRANCONA:  When you talk about Swish, what do you mean?

Q.  Well, last year we saw the way he played‑‑
TERRY FRANCONA:  I wasn't sure what you meant.  That was last year.  That doesn't matter.
Swish has embraced Cleveland since the minute he got here.  We full court press Swish.  We wanted him bad.  I had been on the other end of that for a number of numbers where you let teams court him and then you swoop in and give him a little extra money.  When we got Swish that was a big deal for us, and he's played his best baseball the last month of the season, and his personality is the same every day.  He never tires out.  I don't know how he does it, but he never runs out of gas.
And as far as the Pittsburgh thing, I grew up 30 miles from Three Rivers, now it's PNC, and unless we're playing them I'm a big fan of what they're doing because I grew up there and I knew every lineup from Manny Sanguillen to Willie Stargell to Dave Parker.  I was thrilled.  I thought it was really neat.

Q.  I was wondering what time you got here today and did you have any ice cream cravings?
TERRY FRANCONA:  I'm not pregnant.  I got here probably about quarter to 11:00, because I wanted to swim a little bit in the swim ex.  And I didn't go the ice cream route last night, I went the gummy bear route, and it was not a pretty picture.  (Laughter).

Q.  You wanted Giambi in that clubhouse.  Can you describe ways that he's even exceeded what you were asking for?
TERRY FRANCONA:  You know, I've tried all year because of how strongly I feel about him.  I've known him for so long.  I saw him in the fall league clear back in 1994, and saw him turn into one of the premier players in the game and then saw him on the other team for so many years.
And then when he came, we talked to him late in probably January, and he decided to come to our camp, and pretty quickly you saw that part of him.  And we explained it to him right away, hey, we really want to keep you, but we have to have a team that's versatile enough where we can have just a DH only that's not going to DH all the time, and he understood it.  And because we had Aviles and Raburn, it worked.
I've told a lot of people, the local guys, I don't think we would be here without him.  I mean even organizationally, he has made everybody better.  We've leaned on him more than is fair.  He's been a blessing to everybody, myself included.  I've gone to him so many times.  He always has something to say to help somebody, and people gravitate towards him.
Every team has veterans that have a say‑so.  Sometimes you like to limit it.  He has always taken care of anything that needs to be taken care of, whether it's have a meeting‑‑ call a meeting or just as you're walking by, but I've never been around somebody with his presence before.  And I feel very fortunate for having him.

Q.  Do you almost approach this game, you don't have the drama and the pressure that leads up to a Game 7 with the previous six games, but does this almost feel like a Game 7, or is it completely different?
TERRY FRANCONA:  No, it's exactly the same.  You win, you move on; you lose, you go home.  But we've been doing that for a while, because of whether you call it a predicament or a challenge or the last two, three weeks of the year we really needed to win about every night.  You can either embrace it or run from it, and I have a feeling both teams will embrace it and hopefully we'll be one run better.  I'm sure Joe is feeling the same way.

Q.  What's it like managing against Joe Maddon?
TERRY FRANCONA:  You need to be prepared for the unexpected because they're not afraid to do anything at any time, so the ball better end up where it's supposed to, especially when they get a run or two up on you.  They really hit the gas pedal, try to take extra bases, so the ball‑‑ when you hit a ball to the outfield, you don't need to have a whole lot of air underneath throws, because they're very aggressive.

Q.  As far as a little bit more about Giambi, in what ways‑‑ what does he do when he interacts with the players that has made them all better?  You said him being around, but can you describe it a little bit more?
TERRY FRANCONA:  Sure.  I mean, he has a presence about him to begin with, and he admits that he's been on top, he's been on the bottom, he's been in between, and he doesn't push himself.  He doesn't have to.  People gravitate towards him.
The first time I saw it was in Spring Training, the very first day.  I told him, you don't need to take grounders.  He wasn't going to play first, but he took his glove out there, and our first kid‑‑ I was taking throws from like the middle infielders, and we had a young kid Jesus Aguilar, and you could tell he was nervous.  He was kind of boxing them, and I happened to hear G walk behind him, kind of pat him on the back and say, Hey, kid, relax.  I heard it, and I know it wasn't intended for me to hear, but the way he said it to that kid, that was my first taste of G, and I was like‑‑ it obviously grew from there.
But he's lived through everything, and all he wants to do is win.  There's no ego.  What other guy that's accomplished what he's accomplished can you pinch‑hit for in the fifth inning, and before his fan any hits the bench he's screaming for the guy to get a hit that's hitting for him.  That's the type of guy he is.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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