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October 3, 2002

Tony La Russa


KATY FEENEY: Questions for Tony LaRussa.

Q. Is Andy still good to go on Saturday?

TONY LaRUSSA: Yeah, he's improving every day. I think no doubt in our minds he'll pitch.

Q. Would you talk about the keys to Andy's resurgence this season.

TONY LaRUSSA: Courage, tenacity. More than anything else, he had worked so hard during the off-season to get in good shape, ready to compete in spring training, he had succeeded. Went out there the first couple, three games, and didn't pitch well. I think he got frustrated, a little embarrassed. The difference was consistent location. He's come back. He's just making better pitches more often. But to get there, a lot of courage.

Q. Are you hoping to get Izzy in the game today, even if it's not a safe situation, to give him some work?

TONY LaRUSSA: What we've learned with Izzy is that he can have a real good session in the bullpen. So I don't think it's absolutely necessary that he pitch. The other things is you're playing on the road. If it's a one-run game, all of a sudden you give him some work, you tie the game. He may pitch. If he doesn't pitch, he'll have a real good session in the bullpen.

Q. Have you ever had a better defensive club than this one?

TONY LaRUSSA: Well, I tell you what, Oakland club with Carney, Weiss, Gallego, McGwire, the catchers, Dave Henderson, outstanding centerfielder. Rickey could play outside defense, especially when Dave was getting on him. And Jose. I hat comparisons because you always end up taking something away from one of them. I thought that was the -- there were two parts of those Oakland clubs that were never talked about: how hard they played every day, we had a lot of glamorous personalities, and our defense. This defense reminds me of that defense where you want the ball to go to every position. You don't care because you know there's going to be a play made. I hope that's true today.

Q. It's been suggested that you may have had an edge on Randy Johnson. Would you talk about that?

TONY LaRUSSA: How many Cy Youngs has he won? Four. How many games did he win? 23. You know, what I want to answer is that, oh, yeah, we had him figured out. Same thing with Mr. Schilling today. The more they think we're reading something, the more distracting, we gain an edge, the pitchers lose an edge. Realistically it's just location. It wasn't having some kind of a read because they're tipping.

Q. In April, throwing 97 consistently. Tuesday it was only 94. Is that anything significant?

TONY LaRUSSA: Well, I think he just keeps developing as a pitcher. I remember back when I first saw him in Seattle, you know, just incredible stuff. He would fire, fire, fire. Every year you see him, command is better and better. What was reported is that lately he's added a little - I don't know what he calls it - but he's taken something off his fast ball. Baltimore, BP fast balls. It's a real effective pitch because know he throws you something that's 92, 93, sinking, down, all of a sudden he throws you 97, instead of 97 all the time. I think he's doing it on purpose. It's really smart. It's very effective. Got a couple outs on those things the other night.

Q. How are your dinged up position players, especially Edmonds and Drew?

TONY LaRUSSA: I think until we get into the game and something happens, this is as good a shape as our club has been in for the whole 13-man roster. There's a little here, a little there, but nothing that prevents them from going a hundred percent.

End of FastScripts�.

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