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October 11, 2001

Tony La Russa


Q. How is Kile's health?

TONY LaRUSSA: He can tell you himself. I just asked him and he felt good throwing today, so he's good to go.

Q. Was his health a concern in his last start? Was that a concern?

TONY LaRUSSA: He's had a notch or two over his last several starts, so that's why we've been careful. We haven't really pushed him. But by not pushing him, he is getting the work in, and he's ready to go tomorrow.

Q. For Game 4, is Bud your pitcher regardless of the outcome of Game 3?

TONY LaRUSSA: Well, it won't be Matt Morris. It will be Bud or Dustin. I'm saying we're penciling in Bud as the pitcher. But tomorrow's focus is the one we're keying in on. If for some reason you needed Bud for tomorrow then you would pitch Dustin. Except we keep thinking we're going to need Dustin in the next three games to relieve more than we need Bud. I don't care what happens tomorrow. We would not pitch Matt before the 5th game if we needed him.

Q. Why is that?

TONY LaRUSSA: Why is that? Well, there are a lot of innings under a starter's belt at this time of year, and the first game, I mean that's a max performance, so if at any time a guy needs more rest it's at the end of a long year after a max performance. There's some talk during the year, we were going to be careful, because it's his first full year back in the rotation, but I think it's just one of those times where just looking at the past, other people have done it, you run the risk of injury: A guy coming up short, he's going to try to be a hero. I just think it's the wrong time to push a starting pitcher. And I think the only way you consider this if it's the seventh game of the World Series, because then you have the winter to rest. You go ahead and do it and if you win, you may have lost your horse for the next level, and then the next one. So unless you don't have anybody else to pitch, and this time of year ball clubs have guys to pitch, we have Bud Smith who won a lot of big games for us or Dustin Hermanson.

Q. With the rain we're having today and the forecast, do you think that plays into Arizona's hands with Schilling and Johnson?

TONY LaRUSSA: First of all, I think we're going to play tomorrow and I think we'll play Saturday. That's just the way it is. The other thing is, I never like it when somebody does it to us, and I think it's a real presumptuous to try to talk about the other club. You know, I hate when somebody -- whether they do it to you or to somebody else, some manager or coach, tell you what they should do and what they don't do and stuff, I guarantee you Bob Brenly and Bob Welch, they know their ball club better than any of us. We just try to take care of the Cardinals. I don't know if that gives them a break or it doesn't give them a break, I don't know what they'll do the rest of the series. I know they'll take care of business in a quality way and we'll try to make good decisions here.

Q. Is Hermanson more suited for the bullpen because he was a closer for a while for the Expos?

TONY LaRUSSA: Yes, I think so. He was drafted as a reliever. He's pitched a lot in the bullpen, Felipe (Alou) is the one that made him into a starting pitcher, even with a dire need they put him in the bullpen last year. That's the edge we have. Bud made two relief appearances when he got here to get his feet wet. But he's a starting pitcher. And I mean, if you pitch Bud in the game you're not going to pitch him for two or three days afterward. You could pitch Dustin every day.

Q. Are you planning on playing McGwire tomorrow?

TONY LaRUSSA: I plan on doing what we've been doing for a while now, giving it a lot of thought. I think the lineup is pretty well set. I think everybody knows who is going to hit in every spot except that sixth spot and that will be Paquette or McGwire. Right now, if we were playing I think I know who I would play, but that's part of the fun of being a manager, tonight with nothing to do and tired of reading you think about your lineup. I've changed my mind before, but I think I know who's playing, but I would rather wait until tomorrow.

Q. Tony, where is Mac mentally right now coming off that Game 1?

TONY LaRUSSA: You know, I think he's exactly where he was when he went in. I think when we talked about that, if he doesn't play, he knows there is somebody there I think would give us a better chance. If he was in the lineup, he is going to do his best. He knows his best, even though it's not normal. He might run into something like he has this year for 60 RBIs. I think when it's over, everybody looked around and said, "Is there any hitter here that deserves a gold star?" Schilling was tough on everybody. We put the ball in play once, so I think he was the same afterwards as he was going in. We just all tipped our cap to Curt Schilling.

Q. Did you expect the starting pitching to be this excellent?

TONY LaRUSSA: Well, I expect that baseball is so tough to handicap that by the time you think you figure, hey, this matchup favors one or this should be a well-pitched game there should be a lot of runs scored. You can just never figure. I believe our ball clubs are similar in a lot of ways and I think the starting pitcher goes out there has a chance to get a bunch of outs, and I expect a good game tomorrow. Even though I love our offense.

Q. Tony, what's your impression of Batista?

TONY LaRUSSA: I think the first time I saw him he was with the Cubs and he's been with several clubs since. I've always liked him. He has a live arm, a very resilient arm. I saw him in the bullpen. I've seen him take emergency starts. I've seen him in the rotation, and I think he's got the kind of arm you have to respect as a hitter. His fastball has life. He's got a nice tilt on his breaking ball and he competes well. What you hope for is -- it's not so much as location, you hope his location is in the middle of the plate because his stuff is good enough. Can I make a disclaimer? I'm not responsible for Steve Kline.

End of FastScripts....

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