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October 4, 2011

Tony La Russa


Q. What's your lineup for today?
TONY LA RUSSA: Same as Game 2, exactly the same. Furcal, Craig, Albert (Pujols), Lance (Berkman), Freese, Molina, Theriot, Jay.

Q. What's the update on Matt (Holliday)?
TONY LA RUSSA: Right now he's on the roster because we think that he's improved enough to where he can pinch-hit, and if he keeps improving we'll see what else he can do tomorrow. But my understanding is that he's better.

Q. It looks like on this lineup you switched Craig and Berkman, right and left field. Could you just talk about that?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I can take a minute. It's my tribute to Moneyball. I'm not a big Moneyball fan. I have this little place, don't have a big place. So what we do is we take the square footage between the right field line and center field and the square footage and from left field to center field, divide that by pi, and we multiply it by bullshit, and then we pick the dugout. The field that's closest to the dugout, and that's where Lance plays. That's almost always true. Some places there may be -- if it's spacious, probably not good. Here it's close to the dugout, that's where he plays.

Q. I know you've talked about this in the past, but with Jackson going tomorrow, could you just talk about that trade and how that's impacted your team here?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I remember at the time if you just looked at what it did to our club we were better on paper, and then for the while the wins were not there so people were scratching their heads. But you added a quality starter and enabled us to move Kyle (McClellan) to the bullpen, and you had Dotel, and you had Rzepczynski, and all of a sudden our bullpen was deeper and better, and that was the first thing. And then of course you get Furcal and you get Arthur (Rhodes), but Colby (Rasmus) was a useful player. A big part of that was Edwin (Jackson), and he's very talented and he's in a great place in his career because now he's got a ton of experience and he's still young, and his stuff is alive. When he commands, he's tough to hit.

Q. (No microphone).
TONY LA RUSSA: No, we thought he was going to be good, and he's been really good.

Q. I apologize if you just touched on this. You've seen Edwin at various points of his development with the Dodgers, with the D-Backs and where he's at now. Any dramatic changes to what we see now as a relatively finished product?
TONY LA RUSSA: We had the ability to see him when he first broke in. We were training in Florida, so we'd go over to Vero, and I remember the first saw I saw a pitch against him, and I was like, wow, and then I saw his age. And because of his talent and they had a need, they promoted him very quickly. So he got up as a thrower, and every year that he's pitched he gets more of an idea, and we didn't really know, we'd heard some good things about him from Chicago and from Arizona, but I remember after Dave Duncan sat down with him, he came away very impressed at his knowledge of the art of pitching, about what the delivery is supposed to be, and he's an athletic guy who's very competitive.
I just think experience is a great equalizer, and he's got some nice experience, and he's going to get better.

Q. Is Matt available to pinch-hit today?
TONY LA RUSSA: My understanding is he's available to pinch-hit.

Q. How would you quantify how Matt is better? Is he able to take BP before the game today, or can he do anything today that he wasn't able to do in Philadelphia?
TONY LA RUSSA: I have not seen the BP list. I don't know if he'll take BP. I was told he can pinch-hit, which means you may see him on the field. I mean, I guess the word is he did get an injection, so I don't know if that's going to preclude him from taking some swings early that he could take later. But I know he'll take some work in the cage. But I know that they expect improvement, and he's available to pinch-hit.

Q. Is there a decision here to any degree where you're weighing like a Kirk Gibson scenario, a one-shot deal for him, or any consideration where you would shut him down and gamble that maybe we could have him if you go all the way to something? Is there a balance there you're trying to weigh at this point?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, that balance was prior to setting the roster for this series. You should never take anything for granted. If he was going to have a problem like he was having, then we really talked to him and we really tried to be smart about activating him as even a pinch-hitter. We just felt if he could pinch-hit, that's a heck of a pinch-hitter. And then he had that discomfort with that one swing. If you mean Kirk Gibson because he only took one at-bat, but if we could have gone seven, Gibson would have pinch-hit more than one time.

Q. I wanted to get your reaction to being fined by Major League Baseball for your remarks on the day. Do you think that what you said was worth the cost?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I have no disagreement at all. As soon as MLB called, my response was, "whatever is imposed, you'll get no argument." I'm embarrassed that I crossed the line. I know what the line is. I got upset and I crossed the line. If I get a chance, I will apologize to Jerry (Meals). Like I said, I've never had any problems with him. He's a pro. He has my utmost respect. We were competing, and I got upset and crossed the line. So whatever they throw at me, I have no -- I just take it. I deserve it.

Q. As you've had Dunc sort of back in the mix for a few days here, it's no secret what he means to you guys. What's the value been? What's the sort of change been just having him around for a while now?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, we're back to operating as we think is our best chance, and he's been part of our best chance for how many years. Part of his contributions are the preparation before the game, and we continued that because we've got a lot of his information, we continue to talk to him. But his in-game contributions, conversation with Yadi, conversations with the pitcher, talking with me about match-ups, now we have that. We did good without him, and Derek (Lilliquist) did a really good job. But we were just working this process.
Now we have him there, and I can tell you just in Game 2, we had a number of conversations about what we were both seeing. I mean, it's great to have him back.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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