10/05/2002 2:29 pm ET
Wells pumped for Game 4 challenge
By Jim Street / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- There were many reasons David Wells jumped at the chance to return
to the Yankees this season.
"I have faced a lot of these guys for a long time and it's a matter of me going
out there, hitting my spots and being effective," he said. "Everyone knows
strike one is best pitch in the game. Hopefully every pitch I throw is for
strikes. If I can throw everything for strikes, I think I am going to have a
good day. Location is everything and basically, keep them off balance is what I
have to do."
One of them is he really likes George Steinbrenner. Another is the Yankees are
always playing games in October when so many other teams aren't.
"When I was traded in '99," Wells said Friday, "I knew Toronto had slim chances
of going to the postseason. That was tough to swallow, knowing the Yankees had
the team, the depth and the desire to go to the postseason every year.
"Everyone plays their butt off every year to get here and I want to pitch in the
In his first year back with the Yankees, Wells is in the playoffs and will start
Game 4 of the American League Division Series against the Anaheim Angels
Saturday afternoon at Edison Field.
"It's not fun watching it on TV," Wells added. "The last three years I wasn't in
the postseason, I very seldom paid any attention to the playoffs, except for
last year when I did some analyzing with John Kruk on (FOX's) 'The Best Damn
The Yankees are counting on Wells putting on a pretty darn good show in Game 4.
The 18-game winner takes on a Wild Card team that is performing much better than
Wells said he loves challenges and Saturday's game ranks at the top, so far this
Yankees manager Joe Torre has seen that side of Wells.
"I think he likes to be challenged," he said. "When you dare him to do
something, or tell him, 'You're a little too heavy, David, I think you should
lose some weight', he is going to show you he can pitch at that weight."
Pitching at something well above 200 pounds this season, Wells posted a 19-7
record, winning 12 of his final 14 decisions, losing only to Oakland and
"As far as I'm concerned, right now he's same pitcher we had last time," Torre
said. "He's his own person. I can't say he has his own fear, but he has a great
deal of confidence. He dares people. . .he dares you to hit him and that's why
he throws so many strikes."
The manager pointed to a start Wells made against the Seattle Mariners on August
16 that flipped the switch that led to such a grand finish.
"He worked with Mel Stottlemyre on his delivery and since then he has been very
consistent, very good and economic pitch-wise," he said.
That has been a winning combination.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. This story was not
subject to the approval of MLB or its clubs.