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10/06/06 10:11 PM ET

Steve Trachsel workout day interview

Game 3 starter says long layoff won't affect his performance

Well, you had mentioned that obviously you didn't get the chance to pitch in the postseason all those years ago, and your opportunity is finally here, how are you feeling? How does it feel?

STEVE TRACHSEL: I'm excited. I'm very excited. I've waited a long time for this. I'm trying not to approach it and make it a bigger event than -- it's still another ballgame, I prepare the same. I'm going to warm up the same. The effort and all that is going to be the same.

So the key is obviously going to be keeping emotions in check and once I'm able to do that then I should be able to continue to give our team a chance to win, like I've done all season.

Can you talk about how the long layoff might affect you and for those of us that don't cover the team regularly, can you provide any details about what took you away from the team last weekend?


As far as the long layoff, I've pitched kind of sporadically like that all season. A couple times on eight days' rest, seven days' rest. So I think that actually is going to help me a little bit.

I'm pretty routine oriented, as far as on my five days. So pitching end of last year and parts of this year on seven, eight days I've kind of developed a couple routines which have helped me to stay sharp. The issue is obviously are you going to be feeling too strong, not being as sharp as I normally would, on a normal five day rotation, but I think I've dealt with those pretty well this year. Different times of the season. So hopefully I should be able to use that tomorrow.

Are any of those routines you developed intended to make you feel less strong?

STEVE TRACHSEL: Yeah, for example, like throwing an extra bullpen, maybe having a bullpen be a little bit more pitches than I normally would throw in a regular bullpen. Just kind of maybe to fatigue myself a little bit. Not so much maybe more running or anything like that to fatigue my legs but more work than I would do in the bullpen on the mound.

Obviously you're facing the Dodger hitters and not Greg Maddux, but does it amp you up at all to go up in a match up against a guy like that?

STEVE TRACHSEL: Honestly, no, I faced him twice already this year. And we have had a number of match ups through my career. So obviously I have a lot of respect for everything he's done, I mean he's one of probably the top five pitchers, especially for a control pitcher, which is what I am. You know, I remember when I came to Chicago I was taking his place, so it's like, oh, thanks, thanks for the pressure, I got to replace Greg Maddux.

But as far as ramping up or anything because Greg Maddux is pitching, it's like you said, it's the 1-8 guys that I'm focusing on, plus Greg, when he's in the batter's box.

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Obviously I don't know if momentum is the right word but when you have the pitching performances that you've had thus far through the two games that the team has already played, how does that affect you as far as your mindset? I mean obviously you're going to go out and give it everything you've got every time, but is there any kind of extra umph that it might provide you at all?

STEVE TRACHSEL: No. Not really. I think momentum for starting pitchers is mostly built on your own momentum. What you've done and what your mindset is from previous starts through the year.

So obviously I had a poor start against the Dodgers some weeks ago, and I realize that and I'm not going to dwell on that, but I'm also going to look at that and make adjustments and make changes. So we have had two great starts from our starters and hopefully I'm expecting a third one tomorrow.

Do you feel a greater comfort or being relaxed knowing that your team is in a great position in this series or do you take it as a responsibility to end this series as quickly as possible?

STEVE TRACHSEL: No, my whole focus is just winning the game, and it would be that being up 2-0 or 0-2. I pitched a clincher for us earlier this year and that was great. I obviously would like to do that again tomorrow. And that's pretty much what my focus is, is to give us an opportunity to win and with lineup and the way our bullpen has been pitching and our defense, as long as I do that, our chances are real good.

You're a local guy and there's a couple others on the team, Shawn Green, and there's also a lot of former Dodgers.

STEVE TRACHSEL: Yeah. Chris Woodward.

Is there anything special about being here and possible clinching this series here at Dodger Stadium for you and maybe some of the other guys?

STEVE TRACHSEL: You know, I haven't really thought about it too much. Yeah, I grew up coming to these games, coming to World Series games here, Dodgers and Yankees, watching screaming at Willie, in those days.

But, yeah, it's going to be nice. I didn't get hit too hard with tickets. That's kind of died down since I've been coming back here for so many years, but it's just going to be nice to clinch and to advance, period. I'm going to really go out and enjoy myself tomorrow. I'm going to try and have as much fun as I possibly can, because like I said, I've been waiting for this for a long time and I missed an opportunity in '98, and I'm looking to take advantage of that, of this opportunity tomorrow.

Obviously having to leave the team like you did, coming back, do you have to speak with Willie and say, hey, you know, Willie, I'm okay, my mind's right, I'm ready to take the ball, based on the importance of the start?

STEVE TRACHSEL: Oh, yeah. No, we had a conversation about that while I was gone, when I'd come back. I mean, I told Willie, even before we started, because there was a lot of questions about whether I would start or what. And I said, "Look, this is the postseason, this isn't about Steve Trachsel, this is about the Mets getting to the World Series. And whatever it is that you guys want me to do, I'm going to do." And that would have included the bullpen. I would have done whatever. And Willie said, "No, we want to you start." We talked about game four, Game 3. We weren't sure.

And I came back. I threw my bullpen, I felt great. I was planning to throw one the next day. And Willie came out to the outfield and we were talking and he's like, you know, "I really think you should take the ball Game 3." And I said, "Okay, if that's what you want, that's what I'll be ready to do." And that's been pretty much been my preparation.

So that meant a lot to you that he had faith in you?

STEVE TRACHSEL: Yeah, we have -- our relationship has really grown a lot this year. Obviously towards the end of last year with pitching and not pitching we had some inconsistencies but we have put those all behind us and our conversations and our relationship has really grown this year and it's become a lot a lot better and definitely a lot more open. And we have had conversations like that a number of times this year.

As the senior Met you've been through various ups and downs during your Mets career, what's this like emotionally for you given that background?

STEVE TRACHSEL: Oh, the excitement level is just, right now is the most exciting part of my career. I mean, this is why you play. It's for postseason. And I've been fighting for this for a number of years. I felt like the last few teams that we have had here have been very good. We have been decimated by injuries. Unfortunately this week we have had that same issue come up. But postseason is what it's all about.

I've done a lot of other things in my career, which are nice, but the ring is what we all play for.

Just to follow up, having grown up in this environment out here, how do you compare the ambience of Dodger Stadium and Shea Stadium?

STEVE TRACHSEL: Well, I mean last time I was here for a postseason game I was, I don't know, 10 or 12, so it was a little bit different. I expect it to be very electric, obviously a lot of loud, screaming fans, which is fine. And New York's a different animal. We all know that. But LA, with a full house, is obviously going to be very loud and exciting.

Do you have any affection for the mound here? Other people love the mound here.

STEVE TRACHSEL: Um, I've not really ever had any issues one way or the other with the mound here. Not that I remember anyway.

Obviously you don't want to talk about what took you away from the team, but can you speak to whether or not you are clearly focused on what's at hand in front of you?

STEVE TRACHSEL: I wouldn't be sitting here if I wasn't, and I made that clear as well with Willie.

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