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10/05/06 4:41 PM ET

Ron Gardenhire workout day interview

Manager discusses the pitching rotation for the ALDS

Can you talk about whether you have decided to save Santana for a potential Game 5? Just your pitching, how are you going to set it up for 4 and 5?

RON GARDENHIRE: Right now we got Radke going tomorrow because we know we are playing that game, and then we've got to go from there.

As far as Saturday, we have to wait and see where we are at with Santana. He is, of course, sore, and we have to be extra careful with him. I will never stick him out on a mound if he is not able to go out there and do the job and feel comfortable doing it. So health-wise is the big issue there. If we see it fit that he can go out there and there was a Game 4, and everything is good, then we would do it, but if not, it's Carlos Silva. And we have to see how Santana does and feels afterwards. I know this right now, he is pretty sore, and it looks like it's going to be Silva and then Santana on Sunday.

And that's just guessing right now because we will still talk to Santana after the ball game tomorrow and see how everything lines up: Was that a roundabout answer or what?

What's it like to have Radke on the mound? Is there a lot of emotions with having him around?

RON GARDENHIRE: Well, I mean, he is our best chance. We know that. We have had some struggles throughout the year with our rotation. We know that Garza is a good young pitcher.

And he just gets a little out of whack, and we wanted to see if Radke would be able to throw the ball, we gave him that opportunity. You know, he threw five innings at home and the ball came out of his hand great, and that's what we wanted to see. We wanted him out on the mound. It's a lot of pressure on a guy who hasn't pitched but five innings, but if there is one guy who can go out there and do something special, it would be Brad Radke.

So it's a good scenario for our baseball team. The guys are very excited and this is what baseball moments are all about, let Radke go out there and see if he can give us an opportunity to win a baseball game against a team that's playing very good baseball, so we will gauge Radke by how the game is going along and see where we are at.

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Was there a point that you thought you wouldn't have Radke for post-season?

RON GARDENHIRE: Yeah. In all honestly, when I took him out of the game in Chicago and he was throwing the ball probably 70 miles an hour, 75 miles an hour, and he threw a pitch and it was 80, and I asked, Andy what was that, he said that's his fastball.

When we took him out and he sat down, I thought this is it, we are not going to see this man again throw the baseball. Then they come back two days later, tell me he has a fracture of his shoulder, and in all honesty, I just said there was a reason why he was in so much pain. We knew he had a tear in his shoulder. He has had that for two years, so at least we know something, so I really put my mind-set towards all these young men throwing the ball, and who we were going to throw our rotation, but as it went along, he started feeling better and better, and was playing some catch, and stretching it out, and didn't feel anything. Then you started getting your hopes back up again maybe he could do something. We wanted to see him take the mound again and, shoot, when we put him out there to start, everything flowed.

Do you think most guys would have given up after something like that?

RON GARDENHIRE: Well, that's hard to say. That's kind of trying to answer for all the other people in baseball, but I just know this: He has a lot of character, and he has been doing this for a long time, and if there is -- on our baseball team, he would be the Number 1 guy, I would say, that would take that chance to go back out there and try to work, to go back out there, because he has been our leader throughout the year, and, yeah, he has got a lot of courage.

I think we have seen that throughout the year, and pitching with a shoulder like he did, not throwing in between starts, just to make sure he could get on the mound, so he is the guy, no doubt.

Even if Johan were feeling great right now, would you guys save him based on the experiences from '03 and '04?

RON GARDENHIRE: Yeah. That's all going -- it's not really worked out that way too well anyhow, so you want your best pitcher out there. If it's Game 4 and you want to win, we got to try to win the ball game or there is no Game 5, but I am not going to take a chance with a pitcher that can't go out there and be ready to do that health-wise. He has been pitching, as I said, out on the field since World Baseball Classic at spring training, and that's a lot of baseball, and that's a lot of innings, and a lot of pitching on that arm, and he is pretty valuable to this organization, so he will take all that into consideration, and it's more likely that he is going to throw Sunday.

Do you break out in a cold sweat sometimes when you think back to Game 5 with Eddie on the mound?

RON GARDENHIRE: All I know it was like the movie Jaws, and when I went out to talk to him, he said "I can't spit." And we had nowhere else to go, it was Eddie, and our Twins killer Ray Durham at the plate, and I tried to sit down, I tried to stand up, tried to sit down, and you couldn't do anything, so yeah, that was one of those moments that I will never, ever forget, when we finally got that last out and everybody celebrated. That was pretty exciting to watch Eddie out there just trying to get that last out. In this ballpark that's a lot of good memories in it from that.

You hear some of your players talk about just win the first one, and they obviously can't think about three, but is there a sense that because you guys would have Santana in Game 5, that if you do get the momentum going your way, that you can really turn things around?

RON GARDENHIRE: Well, I think that's a great statement. Win the first one. We haven't done that yet, so we haven't got a win, and that's not good in a short series like this so, obviously, we have to win, and you have to take it -- as I told you out there, our season is one game now. We can't think about three. We have to think about tomorrow's ball game. It doesn't go on if you don't win that one.

And the scenario is going to probably be the same. If we were to be fortunate enough to go back to the Metrodome and have Santana going against Zito, it will be a heck of a baseball game, and believe me, there is nothing more that this ball club would like to have happen than to take our chance again with Santana, but we have got a lot of work to get there and it starts tomorrow night with Brad Radke.

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