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Ron Gardenhire pregame quotes
10/08/2004 7:58 PM ET
Q: What will you be looking for in Santana pitching on three days' rest? Will you be looking at location, velocity, if he's laboring, those types of things?

A: You know, we're not too worried about the kid. He threw a light bullpen yesterday and he was feeling pretty good about himself and told the pitching coach he feels great and wants the ball, and we'll let him have the ball and see how he does.

You don't want to mess around too much with these guys, the Yankees. You got to throw your best at them, and if he wants the ball, that's good enough for us.

Q: Ron, can you touch on tonight's game a little bit and facing Brown?

A: We haven't seen much of him. All we know is from the past. He's a slider guy with a splitter. He's very competitive and will come right at it. All we can do is see what he's doing early in the game and make adjustments. We've seen a little bit of film on him. So we just have to wait and see what he's doing out there and go from there.

Q: Ron, you have an entirely new right side of the infield versus last year. What do you think they brought you this year?

A: Well, we know the offense part. We know that for sure. He can drive the ball, and if you make a mistake, he's got a chance to hit the ball out of the ballpark. He's played pretty defense for us, too. That's important. He's been swinging the bat very well and he's played good defense this series.

Second base is his best position. With Luis out, this is our best chance to do things. He's got a very strong arm and they're both concentrating. That's all we can ask.

Q: How is Joe Nathan physically?

A: Well, he feels good. He's ready, but I doubt if I'll pitch him three innings tonight. We'll give him the ball for the ninth inning and we'll go from there. He's ready to do that.

Q: (Inaudible)?

A: He's going to play second base. If I want to put somebody in defensively later in the game, I've got a chance with Rivas, he came in today and his elbow feels a little better.

Hopefully, that will get him over a little bit of the hump. If I have to, that's what I'll do. Right now Cuddyer is doing okay.

Q: Ron, how seriously were you considering using Carlos tomorrow, and did that have any factor into your decision at all?

A: Probably I think he's over that more so than anything else. It was all depending on Santana. We talked about using three guys, and could Santana do this, and we thought he probably would have been able to do that. We're looking at it like that, and Santana wants the ball. I don't think he threw too many pitches last time. I think he's strong enough. He wants to pitch at home in this Metrodome and that's good.

Q: What, in your mind, do you think your team took away from losing to these guys last year and, in your opinion, what do you think is the difference this year as far as how this team fares against the Yankees?

A: The more you're in this atmosphere, and playing against the Yankees, they're still a great baseball team. We know all those things, but you get to feeling a little bit better about yourself. We've changed a few things on our team. We have a little more power. We can pop the ball a little bit, maybe score some runs.

We're going to go out and grind and do everything we can. This team has a lot of heart. We pretty much know the Minnesota Twins. We know what the Yankees are. We have to go out and make pitches and execute. If we do that, we feel like we've got a chance.

Q: Do you think Santana will have to battle a little more tomorrow or will he be, in your mind, who he usually is?

A: I think he had to battle the first time. I think you saw -- you have to pitch against the Yankees. It doesn't matter who's pitching against the Yankees, you're going to have to battle, I guarantee that. That's a lineup full of All-Stars. That's how good the Yankees are, when you're going through their lineup, they're that good. They have a bunch of All-Stars on there that really know how to play. That's a pretty tough lineup to run through. Every pitcher is going to have to struggle.

Q: With the short rest, though, do you think he will --

A: On short rest, I think he's going to be fine. We've protected him all year. We rested him at the end of the season to be prepared for these playoffs. We've always taken care of him at 100 pitches or so, and I think he'll be fine. I think he wants the ball, and the only way to answer your question is, let's wait and see what he does out there on the field.

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