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October 3, 2013

Fredi Gonzalez


Q.  What were the reports that you heard from when Walden threw down there in Florida, and are you comfortable entering the series being able to use him like you have in the past?
FREDI GONZALEZ:  Yeah, the reports were great.  We just wanted him to get some more mound time.  He was fine.  He was fine.  I feel comfortable.
Garcia was down there, also, and he just threw a couple innings just to stay sharp.  And we're going to do that with a couple of the other guys.  As you know, they're going to stay here with the opening ceremonies and be with us, and when we go to LA then they're going to go down to Orlando and stay sharp, and Roger has the program for that.

Q.  That was yesterday, right, that they pitched down there?
FREDI GONZALEZ:  Tuesday.  Tuesday.

Q.  I forgot to ask you yesterday, will Uggla stay with you?
FREDI GONZALEZ:  Yeah, he's part of the team.

Q.  Travel?
FREDI GONZALEZ:  Yeah, I would love for him to, yeah.

Q.  I didn't ask you yesterday about the only one looking back I was kind of a little surprised by was Varvaro.
FREDI GONZALEZ:  Varvaro was fine.  We were just kicking the roster around, and we felt going 11 pitchers because of the days off, two on, on, two on, off, we could carry 11, but we didn't really have a long guy, and I think with David Hale, he gives us that long ‑‑ the chances of those extra innings.  He's a guy that's thrown five to six innings here just a couple weeks ago, so that's the reason for that.

Q.  Can you just talk a little bit about Minor and the growth he's shown this year?
FREDI GONZALEZ:  That's tomorrow.  Don't get ahead of yourself.  I wasn't even prepared to talk about Minor.  You guys got to give me a little heads up on that one.
I think there was a point last year where he just turned it around, and you felt comfortable with him.  You felt that he could minimize the damage.  The innings didn't unravel on him.
And there's a number out there that people have said.  You haven't been a Major League starter until you get about 32 to 35 starts under your belt, and Mikey was about dead on.  After about his 33rd start, you started seeing him maturing, you started seeing him get confidence on the mound day in, day out.  You see every pitcher goes through first and second or bases loaded, nobody out, and before Mikey turned that corner, that would have been a four‑run inning.  Now he gives up one and he minimizes the damage and he keeps pitching, and I think that's the biggest growth.
I think you've got to give him a lot of credit, but I think you've got to give Roger a lot of credit, also.  Here's a kid.  Not only him, but the three starters we've got going into this division with Medlen and Teheran and Minor, those are the three guys that Roger under his tutelage, he's done a terrific job with them.

Q.  Kris was never really awful at all this year, but there were times early in the year where he was scuffling a little bit.  Is he back now to where he was last year?
FREDI GONZALEZ:  Those numbers last year were pretty sick numbers, the stuff that he was running out there, but he's back.  You're right, sometimes we have a tendency to think when you're on a roll like Kris was last year that it's going to continue, then all of a sudden he doesn't have a couple of good starts and people start asking what's the matter with, what's the matter with Medlen.  Same with hitters.  I think Kris has been fine.  I think he's always been fine.  I think some of those numbers early on, if he would have gotten some run supports, he would have gotten a couple more wins.
I feel confident at every level that he's going to go out and give us a good performance tonight.

Q.  You've had a few days to think about what your last message to the team will be before you send them out for the series.  I'm assuming you're going with less is more, but how much is that going through your mind?
FREDI GONZALEZ:  Well, my last message was yesterday.  I wanted‑‑ we did everything we wanted to do, all our preparation was yesterday afternoon.  We wanted to come today and not have to worry about anything other than going out and playing the baseball game.  I spoke to the guys yesterday, and now today all they've got to worry about is taking BP and taking the field at 8:37.

Q.  A couple late inning questions for you.  First of all, it looks like Ethier is basically pinch‑hitter only for the Dodgers in this series.  To what extent can you try to control so that he basically sees a lefty?
FREDI GONZALEZ:  Well, we've got two left‑handers down there and then you've got a right‑hander that you can get left‑handers out with Walden.  He's good, when you look at the numbers.  You feel good that you can neutralize him, but there's going to be a time during the course of the game that Donny may pop him earlier than you think he can, and you've got no defense for him.
But you've got three guys, you've got two left‑handers, like you said, in Walden, if he's in the game.  But we'll see.  I know he's going to be lurking the whole game.  You'd almost rather see him in the lineup because you know when he's going to come out, or whoever.  If it's not Ethier, a Bonds back in the heyday, because you knew when he was going to come up.  If he wasn't playing you were worried about that the whole game because you could pop him at any time and really have no control of that.
We'll see.  We'll see how the game unfolds.

Q.  And then with Gattis in left, is it pretty well established in your mind who you would like to bring in for defense late in the game or is that kind of any one of a options?
FREDI GONZALEZ:  Different couple of options.  It depends on who we use pinch‑hitting wise getting to that point.  It could be Schafer, it could be B.J.  I think it'll be one of those two guys.  I don't think anybody else would‑‑ or to that level of defensive replacement.
But again, it depends on how we get to that point.  But for me it will be one of those two guys.

Q.  When you look at your roster, people will say you've got seven outfielders on the roster and basically one backup infielder.  Is that what played into it?  We talked earlier about how a lot of your backups, when you're putting guys in, it's basically defensive replacement.
FREDI GONZALEZ:  Yeah, we really don't pinch‑hit for our position players.  You look at the whole year, I don't think I‑‑ there might have been a situation.  I'm not ‑‑ off the top of my head, I'm sure there is.  But we usually pinch‑hit for the pitcher.  We'll pinch run.
There's been times where we've went defensive for two positions, left field and third base late in the game, so that took a lot into it.  You've got a couple of guys in the infield, Janish could play all three positions in the infield, same thing with Elliott, so you felt you've got that thing covered.
The only thing you don't have covered if something happens in the 11th or 12th inning and you bring in Janish to replace Chris Johnson and something happens, somebody rolls an ankle, then you have to scramble a little bit.  And we've made some plans for that, also.
Laird can play third base and then you can move some stuff around.  That's all fine and dandy.  We haven't used Laird as a pinch‑hitter.
You try to cover everything, but there's that unknown that you hope you've got everything covered.

Q.  I know each game is its own separate entity, but the Cliff Lee‑Medlen game last week, since it was not very long ago, is that one of those that you drove home saying there's a really good possibility we could see a rematch of that type of game coming up in the series?
FREDI GONZALEZ:  I think so.  I think so.  I think that's a good game to point at and say, hey, this is Cliff Lee and Kershaw, both the same type of pitchers.  Both have won Cy Youngs.  They're both very dominant.  I feel okay that we've played that game against Cliff going into this game against Clayton.
But you know what, we could overanalyze everything.  We've got to go out there, and I remember not too long ago we got Strasburg and Minor matchup, and they were both out in the second inning.  Here we go, we've got to cover nine innings out of the bullpen.
We'll see.  But the way we went about‑‑ I think that's a good game to point at, good playoff atmosphere, one run, a solo home run by Chris Johnson, and we ended up winning the game.

Q.  You mentioned the 8:37 late start.  Do you hate it?  How do you keep yourself busy during the day?
FREDI GONZALEZ:  This is being recorded, so I can't tell you exactly.  It is what it is.  You know, it is what it is.  You can't make everybody happy with the starts and that kind of stuff.
If it was up to me, I think the sooner the better just to get the butterflies and the anxiety.  If it was up to me, we'd play at 1:00 and nobody in the stands and my team against your team, and we'll keep score, and we'll call balls and strikes and just play baseball, but that's not going to happen.

Q.  You said yesterday you considered Minor for the No.1 spot, too.  I just wondered has he kind of been a guy who all who you've kind of considered an ace type?
FREDI GONZALEZ:  Well, I hate putting labels on guys, especially young guys.  But he has pitched‑‑ he's done a good job, or better than a good job, really.  I think when you're‑‑ you've got six, seven years in the Big Leagues and being successful, that's when I think we should put labels, or this guy is an ace or this guy is a No.1 or you've won some hardware to back it up.
But I think Mike Minor is a really, really good pitcher.  We may not have a No.1, a solid No.1 or an ace, but we've got some pretty good pitchers, pretty good young starting pitching.

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