home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


October 1, 2011

Tony La Russa


Q. We see Furcal in and Holliday out. Can you give us an update on where both of those guys stand and how you can use them?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, at the end of the workout after Rafael had pushed it, had tried to have an honest conversation, and he said he's 100 percent good to go, so he goes.
In Matt's case, at the very least we think he can take an important at-bat. And as he keeps working it, we'll see if more is possible. I wouldn't even think about tomorrow's lineup, which he could play in, but if not -- if he never plays, I think he could be a significant weapon off the bench.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the dynamic between Mark McGwire and Mike Aldrete, how that dynamic works between those two in regards to practical application, advance scouting, video, why it's worked so well for you guys?
TONY LA RUSSA: I think it starts with why are there two guys, and now with virtually every ballpark having two cages, the one on the field and the one inside, there are a lot of times where one guy can't be both places. Sometimes even we have two indoor cages. You can't watch both. And then there's the video work. We don't do much of the advance scouting in person; we do it with video. If you're playing a series, the next one gets there in a hurry, so Mike will generally stay ahead. Any time Mark is somewhere, he's the other place.
The dynamic works because they were teammates in Oakland. They have a very healthy respect for each other, and their theories are very similar, so it's not -- there's no danger of stepping on somebody's toes or teaching different things. There's no confusion. They discuss the guys all the time, and the players are equally free to take advice from both of them. It gets the work done, and because these two guys are really good guys and good teammates, they're careful.

Q. I was wondering if you could discuss your thinking behind saving Jaime Garcia to Game 3. Was it just like the home road split or was it something else?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, the most important thing was to pivot on Chris Carpenter. We feel like if one guy is going to get two starts potentially in a series, it should be Chris. That's our best chance. We have confidence in everybody else, but Chris is our horse.
If Chris had any other kind of game on Wednesday and we didn't think we could push it, Jaime would have pushed here rather than say Edwin (Jackson) because Jaime has pitched well in this ballpark. But mostly it's Chris pitching Game 2, so if there's a 5, he's ready. If you had an edge, you would prefer to pitch Jaime in St. Louis, but he could have pitched here, too.

Q. Could you talk about how much Furcal means to the lineup and him being in there and what he's meant since coming over?
TONY LA RUSSA: He's an established player. You know, we've all, until this year, never competed with him, against him, so you know the weapons he has. He's got life all over his legs, his arm, bat. What we saw coming in, we had heard things about his teammate, and we saw it ourselves. Very good teammate, very much into winning. I didn't know until -- I really hadn't paid attention, he's never played in a World Series, so he's part of the guys that really get everybody ready, we've got to find a way. So he's been excellent on the field. Off the field he's a fun teammate. And it's nice to take all these weapons for you instead of against you. Just hope he's healthy.

Q. Players often talk about trying to keep things as normal as possible so all the extra stuff going on doesn't affect their performance. As a manager does that apply to you at all in terms of the preparation, or how much thinking you do about game planning and all that sort of thing, or do you have to do extra yourself to get ready?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, if we did it right and we tried to -- and this isn't anything we invented, this is stuff that's been taught to myself and coaches over the years, but we play April like it's September. That way -- the reason is that you can't get to September with a chance to win unless you win a lot of games, and you practice that -- it's the best two out of three, and you'd better win a lot of those games to have a chance. If you're pressuring the team in April, then you've got to establish a certain process for getting ready. There really isn't anything we're doing differently for this series. It helps it with the last four or five weeks. We've had a lot of have to win to stay alive things. But we just had the pitchers' meeting and it was actually shorter because we just played the Phillies recently.
I think the only real difference for players is you can see the end in sight, you know? It's a fun time of year from August on when you're in contention, and now it's a five-game series. It's fun for a coach, manager. The difference is you get to the end, you're not taking a long view on a lot of the decisions. Same with the World Series stuff, just media stuff.

Q. If you commit to five starters in this series --
TONY LA RUSSA: How many?

Q. If you kept all five starters with you this series, it would seem as though with 11 pitchers on your staff, the 11th pitcher becomes a decision perhaps between Sanchez, McClellan, Boggs. Enlighten me if I'm wrong, but could you explain the thought process that went into making the decision about the last guy?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, Sanchez really excited us in Houston, and if we weren't as deep as we are, we'd take a shot at putting him on there, just not knowing how much we could get out of him. The whole idea with Sanchez if he could leave here knowing he's healthy and then get ready for 12. So it was easy to make the call on him. I mean, we just can't pitch him two days in a row without worrying.
It came down to Boggs and McClellan. McClellan is a real weapon. That was a very tough call, and I know he's very upset with it, and he should be. Made totally on his best interest. We felt, and he agreed, that towards the end he had a tired arm, and there were days that he was really limited how much he would pitch or if he'd pitch.
The training room you could see he was getting a little weaker. It's just purely a physical decision that coming in here would possibly hurt him and hurt us. I mean, our hope is if we can somehow qualify for the next level that he, with this chance to exercise and rest, would be a part of the staff.
And this club in particular, Phillies, he would be one of our major weapons. It's a big hole for him not to be on that playoff roster, we just couldn't take a chance.

Q. He seemed genuinely upset and surprised yesterday when he found out. Is there anything you can do to kind of hold him together, for lack of a better term, given the surprise that he seemed to reflect on the decision?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I talked to him last night on the phone. I haven't talked to him yet today, but I talked to him on the phone. Yeah, he should be disappointed. He's a part of the club and he wants to participate, but I tried to explain exactly why. If he looks at it, a lot of it is protecting him because it's not really helping us for him not to pitch. We're really worried that he's not himself and we're going to push him and hurt him.

Q. Did he get seen by a doctor?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I don't know that -- I haven't seen Paletta. But if towards the end the trainers are working with him and they see differences in how strong he is and if there are days that he's not available -- and in fact he came and talked to me about it a couple times, we can get the official. I just know there's a scare factor there that we're not prepared to do.
If this was another club we were playing, for example, a real right-handed club, then you may wonder about is there some kind of game we're playing. But this is the Phillies with those switch hitters and the left-handers. He's a major weapon that we don't have. We're not happy about it, but we're happy about taking care of him.

Q. Just one other thing, Boggs, the point was made to you in September a few times, his relative inactivity for extended periods of time. Where do you see him relative to two weeks ago when it became an issue a couple of games when he didn't appear?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, he had limited work, but his last two or three appearances he's done a good job. He's got a live arm. The phone rings, it could be him. If you look at Salas and you look at Dotel, Motte, do you see them? No. But like I said, he's got a good arm, and even with inactivity when he pitched recently, he pitched effectively.

Q. On the other side of that, with roster decisions, it looks like it would have come down to Patterson or Chambers for that last spot. Is that accurate? And if so, how do you kind of weigh those factors and what goes into that decision?
TONY LA RUSSA: No, it actually came down to Greene or Chambers. That's what it came down to. Corey has done a nice job. He's a veteran, but the real answer, which is the one you're supposed to give unless you choose to dodge it. If it came down to Greene or Chambers, and if Matt (Holliday) wasn't on the list, it would have been Greene and Chambers. And the reason we took Chambers, we were so infield heavy and didn't have an outfielder, extra outfielder.

Q. I don't know if you've heard anything about the weather tonight, but after we saw what happened in New York and the suspended game that cost two starters, do you, because you have all five of your starters on the roster, do something if there's weather in the area, change maybe who you warm up, get two guys going? What would you do with that?
TONY LA RUSSA: We're stuck in the dungeon there and I've asked a couple of times and have not heard the forecast. I know what's out there, and I heard obviously what happened in New York. I was talking to Jimmy (Leyland) this morning. Supposed to be bad weather tonight, too. It's the same situation for both of us. I'm sure they don't want to lose their starters. But we do have Edwin and Jake (Westbrook) ready to go. So whatever Mother Nature decides, we roll with it. What is the forecast?

Q. Wet, rain.
TONY LA RUSSA: A lot of rain? Rain like New York or just a little rain?

Q. In the area.
TONY LA RUSSA: Maybe it'll just rain when Roy pitches and not when Kyle (Lohse) pitches.

Q. I'm sorry if this goes over old ground, but a lot of managers always say that momentum in this game is the starting pitching, nothing goes beyond that. But the way these two teams came into this post-season, Phillies kind of coasting a little bit and you guys scratching until the last day, can any of that carry over or do you put it aside?
TONY LA RUSSA: I think the last point you made is the best one, if you just look at the history. I've looked at the history of these things for years before we ever got playing in them. And sometimes we play it's -- you know, a club that clinches early, somebody asked me yesterday, you would definitely prefer to clinch early. You can clinch early and go deep.
The team that has to ride it out until the end, if you come out of it in good health and fresh, you have an advantage of playing must-win games. But the team that clinches early means they have a really good team, so they've got that going for them. I know they won -- did they win five in a row to end it up or four in a row? They're back on the beam. Rather clinch it like they did it rather than how we did it. But we're excited. We feel like we have a shot. We know how tough the Phillies can be.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297