10/21/10 4:29 PM ET
Workout day interview with Joe Girardi
By / MLB.com
JOE GIRARDI: He's a great hitter, and the thing is, the guys behind him have been swinging the bats, too. So their lineup is very deep.
You look at yesterday's ballgame, they had 11 hits off of CC in six innings, but CC did a good job of getting a double play when he had to and making his pitches when he had to. But Josh Hamilton is pretty locked in right now.
Q. I know you don't want to make excuses for Phil, but how much do you attribute his Game 2 start to the extra rest and looking forward to tomorrow, what do you expect on the more normal rest?
JOE GIRARDI: It's hard to say whenever you look at extra rest and how it affects a player. But some guys are really routine oriented, and I expect him to have much better command of all of his stuff tomorrow, because it is his basically, his fifth day; where I think it was his seventh day before.
The last time he had extra rest, we were able to throw him an inning of relief, but we weren't able to do that. So I'm looking forward to his start tomorrow and better command.
Q. We have asked you a bunch about Mo and how many outs he can get, but you guys potentially have a situation where you're going to need him for more than an inning in back to back games; how do you manage Game 6 like there's no tomorrow but with the possibility there is a tomorrow?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, I think that you have to manage it like there's no tomorrow. Game 6, if we need him six outs, we need him six outs. I think that's what you have to do. If you need Woody six outs, you need Woody six outs. You worry about the next day the next day.
For me, they are available as much as we need them.
Q. If he were to go for those six outs, the next day
JOE GIRARDI: I doubt it. I doubt it.
Q. Would you have him the next day for more than one inning?
JOE GIRARDI: We would have to see how he felt and how he's throwing the baseball.
Q. Alex's numbers have not been great in this series, but what have you seen so far from him at the plate? What do you think of his at bats?
JOE GIRARDI: Well, he's taking his walks when they are giving them to him. I would not say that he had much to hit yesterday. It could be that way tomorrow. I'm not sure how they will approach Alex. But as far as his at bats, I think his at bats are good, but they have not given him a whole lot to hit.
Q. If this was a year ago, a lot of people are pointing the finger at Alex and saying, here we go again; how much do you think it's helped that he has gotten over that hump and perform well and was part of a World Championship?
JOE GIRARDI: Well I've talked to him a number of times that he has not had to answer those questions this year, and that makes it easier. We all know how explosive Alex can be. Tomorrow would be a great day to have four or five hits, maybe some long balls.
Alex is a big part of our lineup, and the good thing about our lineup is we don't have to rely on one guy. If they are not going to pitch to him, the guys behind have to make you pay.
Q. Quite a few players talked about the talk with the team is that something you always do or is that a motivational speech, and is this the time of year where you have to do it again tomorrow?
JOE GIRARDI: I don't necessarily when I think I need to talk to the club, it's based on what I feel we are going through. Is it something I need to do tomorrow? I don't think so. I think our guys understand what's at hand. You know, sometimes you can go through some tough streaks where guys maybe need a little pick up and remind them how good they are. Sometimes when you're struggling as a player, you can forget how good you really are, and there's so much talent in the room, and I just felt that we needed to do it and keep our focus just on one game. And that's what we'll do tomorrow. We'll focus on one game and let's see where we are at tomorrow.
Q. A lot of your hitters have not seen that much of Colby Lewis. How much can a second look help them?
JOE GIRARDI: Sweeny, I hope a lot. Before we saw him here, I believe it was on Saturday yeah, Saturday, we had two guys that had faced him, and it was years ago. So our guys have a better idea what he's going to try to do to them, and that can always be helpful.
Q. How is Lance today physically, and do you anticipate him being limited at all tomorrow?
JOE GIRARDI: The fact that he took BP today and was out there made me feel pretty good. And I don't think he'll be limited tomorrow. I'm sure he's sore. You don't fall that hard and not be sore.
But I don't expect it to affect his play tomorrow. He'll be in there. Unless something happens overnight that I'm not you know.
Q. And speaking of Lance, he took a pretty hard fall on that warning track, and Mark Teixeira was in there voicing some concern about the way that surface is; have you heard those concerns from players, and what do you think about that warning track at the stadium?
JOE GIRARDI: That's something we'll discuss if we think it's necessary to discuss.
Lance had plastic spikes on and a lot of times plastic spikes don't give you the same grab in other places as it necessarily does on the infield. And he switched after that and I think he ran over there once more and didn't fall down. That's encouraging.
But if we feel it's something we need to address, we'll address it.
Q. Just to clarify, what's the why would you have plastic spikes on versus the metal ones?
JOE GIRARDI: Some guys are just more comfortable. It's easier on their feet. They feel it's easier on their legs. I've seen a number of guys wear plastic spikes. Very seldom we see an outfielder wear them but infielders, it's easier on their feet and their legs respond better to it.
Q. CC I guess didn't throw; is he available in the bullpen for you here? At least he's been telling people
JOE GIRARDI: Our plan is he's available tomorrow. Let's see how he feels tomorrow but our plan is that he will be available for us.
Workout day interview with Phil Hughes
Q. Can you talk about watching CC yesterday and the way he bounced back; were you in the dugout charting pitches?
PHIL HUGHES: No, I was in the bullpen. Obviously he did what we needed him to do. We could not afford to lose another game, obviously, and we needed that win and he came through for us. You know, judging by Game 1 and then how things didn't go our way, or his way, and then obviously Game 2, where it was the same story for me, it's encouraging to see that bounce back outing and hopefully I can have something similar.
Q. How do you react when you have a rough start like that? Is it your nature to motivate yourself more or just bury it and then move forward?
PHIL HUGHES: Yeah, obviously coming back, you know, I'm facing the same team again, and something's got to change. I've got to execute my pitches better.
I have to make some adjustments and that's the key. I think whoever makes the adjustments is going to come out on top. You know, I'm just thrilled to have this opportunity again. It wasn't guaranteed I would have, you know, another start in the series, and I'm just happy to be able to pitch tomorrow and turn in a better start than my last one.
Q. You talk about adjustments. When a guy is locked in the way Josh is right now, what challenges does that present to you?
PHIL HUGHES: Yeah, he's a tough hitter. My first start, I walked him three times, I think.
Obviously, I hope that's not the case again. I just hope I make better pitches and there's not a bunch of guys on base when I am facing him. That's the biggest thing, nobody on and two out and he's up there. Just try to avoid the dangerous hitters in their lineup and when you do have to face them, make quality pitches.
Q. You've maintained all year that when it comes to innings and how you feel, you've been physically good, but it is getting to a point where you've thrown 40 more innings than you ever have; how are you feeling physically and how strong do you feel, and is there any kind of wear on you?
PHIL HUGHES: Yeah, I certainly haven't noticed any wear or fatigue or anything like that. Coming into the season, I wasn't sure how my body was going to react to throwing that many innings. To be perfectly honest with you, I feel great and when you come out and you have the adrenaline of a big playoff game like these are, any little aches and pains or whatever you have go away. That's the nice thing about this point in the season, you are out there and every time you take the mound you feel a hundred percent. It's just about calming those nerves and executing pitches.
Q. When you look back, you mention the adrenaline, do you think that might have worked against you, the emotions, is it the time between starts? Can you pinpoint why you were not normally as sharp?
PHIL HUGHES: Just execution, fastballs up over the plate, very hittable pitches. I had just as much, if not more, adrenaline in my first start against Minnesota and that certainly wasn't the problem.
You know, it was just being very predictable and throwing a lot of fastballs and hitters counts that were mistakes, is what it boils down to. Have to do a better job of that, and I'm confident that I will.
Q. You saw CC pitch yesterday, with essentially the season in his hands and now you take the baton now. How do you view that; is it a challenge to embrace, or maintain your tunnel vision?
PHIL HUGHES: Yeah, it's definitely a challenge. Like I said, I'm very excited to be given this opportunity again. I don't want to I didn't want my season to end on that last start. And so I look at this as a great opportunity to go out there, and obviously we have a lot of work to do. It's not like we are in the driver's seat here. We are still in this series and we have to win tomorrow, and that's the bottom line.
And I feel good going into it, and I think the rest of the guys in the clubhouse feel the same way.
Q. Can being back on regular rest help?
PHIL HUGHES: Yeah, certainly. I mean, you know, I had a bunch of rest in between the Minnesota series and this one, but I had, I think, the same amount of rest between my last start of the season and going into the Minnesota series. So, yeah
Q. Might it have been too much?
PHIL HUGHES: Yeah, really, it's hard to say. I haven't pitched on short rest and I've pitched on long rest a lot of times this year. Some have been good. Some have been bad. It's just about what kind of work you do on the side to make sure it's quality, and just go out there and just execute.
With the more work I have on the side in between, it helps, and now that I'm on more of a regular routine, it can only help. So hopefully that's the case.
Q. Your counterpart on the Rangers traveled a circuitous path to get to this point, and your path has been more direct, can you talk about the path you've traveled to get here and did you expect to be in this position at the start of the LCS?
PHIL HUGHES: Not really. Just try to take it a day at a time to be honest. Just coming in the Minor Leagues, you have a great opportunity in this organization to win, and that was kind of the approach I always took of, what can I do to help this team and help this organization. And whether it was last year in the bullpen or this year as a starting pitcher, I've just tried to embrace it and not try to do too much.
Because you know, we have a lot of other really good players in that clubhouse and as long as everyone just does their job, you know, we'll be fine. That's kind of the approach I've always taken is just to help us win in any fashion, and you know, it's worked out so far, and you know, hopefully I can deliver tomorrow.
Q. Do you learn more from watching a start by, say, A.J., because he's a righty versus, say, Sabathia, just how to deal with the hitters?
PHIL HUGHES: Yeah, I mean, obviously if it's CC or Andy going, they control the left handed bats very well and for a right hander, usually that's the opposite. But right hander to left hander, this is a very dangerous lineup anyway you want to look at it. It's more about making good pitches and executing them rather than the matchups game with righties and lefties.
Obviously they are going to tweak their lineup a little bit because I am right handed, but for me, you look at this lineup and they can hurt, you know, whoever is out there throwing.
So you know, you just have to, like I said, make quality pitches, execute, and if you can do that, with our offense, I think I'll be fine.
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