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10/04/06 2:26 PM ET

Hong Chih Kuo offday interview

Game 2 starter talks about his background and facing the Mets

What is the biggest game you've pitched in your life so far before tomorrow?

HONG CHIH KUO: Probably tomorrow.

Before tomorrow?

HONG CHIH KUO: I don't remember (smiling).

Are you from the same town as the pitcher from the Yankees?


Did you guys know each other?

HONG CHIH KUO: Yeah, we're pretty good friends.

Did you ever play together?

HONG CHIH KUO: We played in national team, like, long time ago.

But you guys never played like little league baseball together, anything like that?

HONG CHIH KUO: No, no, I didn't.

Have you talked at all in the last few days, spoken?

HONG CHIH KUO: Yeah, I talked to him, like, three days ago, yeah.

What did you talk about?

HONG CHIH KUO: Just tell him good luck and he tell me same thing I say, so....

How long have you known him?

HONG CHIH KUO: Well, we went to the same high school together.

Same high school?

HONG CHIH KUO: Yeah. He's one year older than me, so...

Did you play on the same high school team as him?


Who was the No. 1 starter?

HONG CHIH KUO: Probably him, yeah (smiling). I played outfield when I was in high school, yeah.

Was the team a good team?

HONG CHIH KUO: Yeah, pretty good team for high school, yes.

Championship team?

HONG CHIH KUO: We won a championship a couple times, yeah (smiling).

When did you start pitching and not playing outfield?

HONG CHIH KUO: Well, I been pitching by, you know, by pitcher, outfielder, pitcher, outfield. But when I come to, like, maybe, like, two years after my high school, just starting pitching last year.

Wang only pitched?

HONG CHIH KUO: Yeah, he pitcher. Always good pitcher, so...

Did your families know each other, or were you friends all the way in high school, or was he just older?

HONG CHIH KUO: He just older than me. We pretty good friends, pretty close. We come here. When I was in Minor Leagues, we've been talking a lot, about the rehab stuff, ask a lot about how to, like, throw sinker and stuff.

Were you on any of those little league teams in Taiwan that came here to play?


Was he helpful at all when you had your various injuries and you were going through your rehab? Did you talk to him a lot then?

HONG CHIH KUO: Yeah, I been talk a lot of people when I was doing the rehab stuff.

Why do you think that starting, what is it about starting that has brought out the best in your pitching?

HONG CHIH KUO: I guess, you know, maybe just I feel more comfortable. I don't have like, you know when they call the bullpen, I could throw five or ten pitches and try and get ready and just go out there and punch my fastball and also I come in. When I'm starter, I get 15, 20 minutes, whatever I want, working on my stuff. I feel more confident during the game.

When they originally made you into a reliever, was that something you were already uncomfortable with because you were a starter before? Had you been a reliever before the Dodger organization made you one?

HONG CHIH KUO: I just try to do everything to help the team, try to do whatever they ask me to do. For me is new, but I still learning.

(Inaudible) He's a veteran, how do you feel about the challenge to him tomorrow?

HONG CHIH KUO: Well, he's been good pitcher. For me, I just go out there, try to do best I can and help team. That's all I thinking.

Does it give you added confidence that your one win was here?

HONG CHIH KUO: I don't worry about it. Just try to go out there, just try to help team, try to pitch like what I do last time.

When you pitched that game here a month ago, what was the key to the success you had that day?

HONG CHIH KUO: I didn't -- probably I was throw, I was starter. So I was lucky, and I throw strikes. That's the key, I throw more strikes (inaudible) so...

When you have time to warm up and have command of everything, what do you throw besides your fastball that works well for you?

HONG CHIH KUO: Well, I just, you know -- I mean, I throw the fastball, slider, changeup, everything. But when I was a reliever I just throw fastball and slider. I don't have chance to throw my changeup more. But as starter, I can miss a little bit maybe throw some changeup, some curveballs. It's not my best pitch but I got to throw it and mix it up, so...

Is there another pitcher on the Dodger staff that you've found it educational to talk to, who's helped you with your pitching?

HONG CHIH KUO: I almost, like, have learned a lot from old guys, D-Lowe, Maddux, Penny. I can ask a lot of questions but, you know, you can just learn from them when they're pitching the game. You sit there, you watch, see how they get the guys out. You can learn the thing from them.

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Have any of them taken a special interest in you, do you think?

HONG CHIH KUO: You know, also when I have the second Tommy John, I talked to Gagne a lot and he give me a lot of information.

With the Tommy John surgery, did you have any question you'd come back like this?

HONG CHIH KUO: I never think about it. When I heard, I just started doing the rehab day by day. Like Gagne would tell me and Dreifort, too, he's got two Tommy Johns, he would tell me it's been 30 years, he still pitching, so he tell me don't give up.

What are your thoughts on the Mets' lineup?

HONG CHIH KUO: Tough. Just go out there and do the best I can.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.