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October 3, 2002

Tony La Russa


MODERATOR: Questions for Tony LaRussa.

Q. In a game when runs are at such a premium, how much is a successful sacrifice bunt?

TONY LaRUSSA: Two games here, that hasn't been the easiest play to make, especially when you have guys with real good stuff like the four pitchers. So Mike did a good job of getting it down.

Q. How are Finley and Rolen?

TONY LaRUSSA: We all thought it was the blister, but it was not. You know, like right here, that little muscle, it was cramping on him, just got fatigued. I think he'll be all right. Rolen, I don't think it's probably too smart to say anything too definite. He's definitely got a sprained shoulder. He's going to get a scan tomorrow. I mean, I'm sitting out there thinking about it. My heart is really warm about the way we're playing and I'm sick to my stomach about Scott. It's not really he is a just good player, but he's really excited about the post-season. He played at such a high level. You know, news is probably not too good.

Q. The way this unfolded, especially with that injury, is that another tribute to your team's resiliency?

TONY LaRUSSA: My opinion, we already passed those tests. I'd just as soon we not keep getting tested. I mean, that's just the game of baseball. On the professional side, I mean, guys get hurt. I just saw Mr. Gonzalez walking. Guys get hurt. We'll go out there. I feel worse for Scott than I do for us.

Q. Runner interference on Cintron, do you think that was a case of inexperience? Do you think Scott could have made the play?

TONY LaRUSSA: The back half of that is easy. Scott could make that play. This guy is incredible. I think the guy on second, he's trying to tie the game. He just hauls tail. You know, he's trying to run to third, get there as soon as he can. I think it's one of those unavoidable collisions that ends up being a really tough break for us. Trust me, if he wouldn't have interfered, the inning would have been over and we would still have a third baseman.

Q. Talk about Finley's performance.

TONY LaRUSSA: Cannot give him enough credit. Coming in, he was one of the keys to our chance. First couple innings, he made great pitches, then he started pitching even better. We were working into a tough call. Guys winning one-nothing, how far do you push him? He showed up so big for us. I'd give anything for playing JD deeper, catch McCracken's ball. But we got the win. It's post-season. He was great.

Q. Beating Johnson and Schilling back to back, how big is that for you?

TONY LaRUSSA: You need three wins in this level of series, right? The win is the critical thing. To get two... I knew our club, there wasn't one guy that worked out yesterday, wasn't one guy came to the park thinking that "We got one." I mean, we were going to play, keep playing the way we've been playing. When you stop and think about it now, you faced those two guys, I mean, nobody respects Randy and Curt more than the St. Louis Cardinals. We competed against them. We ended up, when the day was over, to have two wins. Yeah, it adds something to it. The wins is what you look for.

Q. Can you talk about Cairo and his ability to deliver in situations like that with a lot of regularity?

TONY LaRUSSA: That's why I was so glad he was called into the interview room. I wasn't really glad he wore shorts because we have a fine about embarrassing the club when you have ugly legs (laughter). I mean, you've seen it all year long. You look at his pinch hitting record, he's right at the top in the league this year. He has gotten so many huge pinch hits, just like today. Drive in a run, start of the rally, middle of the rally. I think it's a tribute to how hard he works. Keeps himself in shape. He's a very smart player.

Q. Would you talk about the mood, the confidence, in the clubhouse after winning these two games?

TONY LaRUSSA: I think if I had to describe it, it would be excited. But we have done an excellent job for a long time at not getting carried away. I mean, this is a three-out-of-five series. We know who we're playing against, the defending champions. We have total respect. We're really excited that we've got two. But, truss me, there will be nobody that's half-stepping on Saturday because we know how dangerous the Diamondbacks are.

Q. Are you legitimately concerned that Rolen has a Luis Gonzalez type injury?

TONY LaRUSSA: Well, I mean, here again, this is not my area. I just talked to our team doctor before I came over here. I don't think the severity is like Gonzo's, where he had surgery, his tendons, whatever. But I do think that his continuing to play for sure in this series is very questionable. We'll hold our fingers crossed through tomorrow. I think there's a chance that he might have played his last game.

End of FastScripts�.

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