10/05/06 3:49 PM ET
Tony La Russa pregame interview
By / MLB.com
TONY LA RUSSA: I think it's a big miss for Khalil, because he's a terrific young player and would be a second post-season experience. But Blum has really given him you know the replacement they need, and they were able to finish in first place because he came in there. And Blum is a solid player. So I think personally for Greene it's a tough, they can't be 100 percent, but for the Padres, they're covered.
How did you end up ordering your lineup for today and what went into the couple of decisions you may have had to make there?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, easy one, Wilson just slides in the 2 spot for Chris. I think you need to protect Albert with a right-hander and Scott's got the most success against Wells. So he hits fourth and Encarnacion fifth and Jimmy sixth.
Imagine it's safe to assume that Jimmy checked out okay. But was there a conversation with him on how he's feeling?
TONY LA RUSSA: Yeah, it was kind of neat. I actually called him last night and left him a message. I was walking down the street with my wife, walked right by the restaurant where he was having dinner. So I got to ask him in person. And he feels ready to go.
These couple of games have been, you know, I think the second or third time you've had all these guys available. Putting aside the offense, what's the value defensively of having everybody in there, of having Jimmy, of having Ronnie and Eckstein in your middle, just having your whole defensive line in the middle there?
TONY LA RUSSA: I'll be careful talking about the infield, I don't want to disrespect -- Aaron Miles did really an outstanding job for us. And considered he had mostly second basemen do what he did, he deserves a ton of credit. I'd be careful anything I said. David has more experience more at shortstop. We did fine with Aaron. Our outfield, that was a problem. And Encarnacion filled in and he did a good enough job and So and whoever played. Set up right now with Jimmy in the middle, it's outstanding.
Tony, I know that you've said, that it's a good problem to have. I'm wondering how you look at trying to get Spiezio involved in some way, there's maybe an interest in starting him again more at bats but also need to keep him as a threat off the bench. How do you weigh those?
TONY LA RUSSA: I think a lot of those considerations are the ones you face during the season. You work really hard to balance getting the guys off the bench, with enough playing time and keeping the core guys fresh. When you get into October, it's all about, you know, what's the best you can do to win today. I mean every game has so much importance by itself. So from my point is when you look at our three outfield choices, we're picking from some really good options there, and I mean I really don't feel like I can go wrong. But I'm not thinking I've gotta get Scott a start, because he's gotta be better than one of the other games for that game.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.