10/08/06 6:17 PM ET
Tony La Russa pregame interview
By / MLB.com
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, Spiezio is playing. Came in after the game and said that his shoulder felt sore and fatigued. So going to play Scott.
Not injured, though?
TONY LA RUSSA: Yeah, that's an injury of a type, I think. And since it's something physical and it's restricting him.
Is Weaver still, would he be your guy and, if so, has he already gone on ahead or how do you proceed with that?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, we're going to concentrate on tonight. But the answer is that if we have to play tomorrow he's the pitcher.
Tony, some comfort at least in Spiezio's numbers against Woody?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, there's comfort mostly the way Spiezio has filled in, whether it's first, third, left field. I mean he's been key, and seems like every time he starts a game he's done something to help us have a chance to win.
So I mean, we feel like if Scott's not going to play, then the other Scott is a great alternative.
Available to pinch hit Rolen tonight?
TONY LA RUSSA: I think with the guys we have on the bench, I will probably go in a different direction. I think he'll be able to play defense. But he's not playing mostly because it's hard for him to get in a good hitting position.
And I mean, I would think we have other guys that would be a more fair challenge.
Do you have any sense with Rolen if this is a long term concern or I know you want to focus on tonight, but are you looking at needing to buy him some rest beyond just today's game?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, the conversation we had, I did say, I mean, if we could find a way to win this one, you have three full days before we compete again. And then we'd see how he feels.
Was this a you and Scott decision or was this a Scott and you and Barry and maybe Paletta?
TONY LA RUSSA: After the game he went to the training staff and the doctor and said, "I haven't been as in shape to play as I've been telling everybody," pretty much.
I mean, the word he's described his condition as is fine. Not okay, all right, but fine.
And he says, you know, he's felt something. But he felt like he had an obligation to be out there, which, you know, it's one of those rock and a hard place because it's been explained to him over and over again that, you know, we have other guys, just whoever is the guy that's sore, we have other guys and we don't need to send players out there. But he feels like he's one of the core guys that should play.
I mean, you know, probably the thing that I don't think we could have asked him more often or more clearly. And he just felt like he said he could make himself available, he thought we needed him.
Tony, did you send Weaver ahead to San Diego or will he fly with you tonight if you had to go?
TONY LA RUSSA: I just walked to the clubhouse. He's in the clubhouse. So I don't think he's flying anywhere.
Tony, would you had Scott not come to you, would there have been any point where you might have said you might have made the switch based upon lack of production?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, we've gone through this over the last couple of weeks. You know, there's been concern. And I'm not sure if in a private moment he's commented to a friend, a teammate or somebody else that, you know, I'm not right. But whenever we've approached him, it's never been any question. And the thing I hang my hat on and have hung it is that he's taken a ton of extra swings, which they don't add up. It adds up if you're trying to get well, but if you're fatigued and sore, the less you do, probably the better. So I've always felt his biggest problem is getting his stroke right. When that guy is that talented, that tough a competitor, you always feel like that game is a game that he's going to have the at bat that all of a sudden he feels it.
Was there any consideration at all to try to roll the dice again to go with a bullpen game and hold Carpenter for the game one in the next round?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, the way you ask it, that's a legitimate way. Was there a consideration?
Yeah, I thought about it. It's a different set of circumstances. I mean, there's, I think, a lot of different reasons why today is different from last Sunday.
Is it mostly the lack of another starter or ... ?
TONY LA RUSSA: That's one of the issues. But there's other stuff that you put together. But I don't I thought it was real clear. Once you think about it today, it's real clear to me that Chris pitches.
Do you look at him as, if you guys win here or maybe there on Monday, to go on three days for him, or will he get a full four?
TONY LA RUSSA: I bet you Derrick can answer that question. We're talking about tonight. I won't go beyond what ifs except that if we play tomorrow.
Tony, if Scott's not available basically tonight to hit and tomorrow might be a question also, has there any thought been given that he basically take a shot and he just be shut down from circumstance or whatever it might be hopefully he's ready to play the next round?
TONY LA RUSSA: You know, my preferred answer is we got an opportunity today and, you know, I feel terrific about our chances. And based on what happens tonight, you know, we can look at it. But you know, what's going to be clear to me tomorrow is what's clear today.
You know, for him to come forward finally, I don't see it's going to get better by tomorrow. But it may get better in three days, especially if there's something, you know, that can be done to alleviate the situation.
Well, you certainly want to commend a guy who wants to play. Is there a part of it in you or the organization that gets a little bit hacked off that a guy wasn't maybe as honest as he was supposed to be in this of situation?
TONY LA RUSSA: I wouldn't say hacked off. I think mostly he gets credit because, nowadays, the organizations, whether it's ownership, front office, coaches, managers, when guys had guaranteed money, you get more upset and more frustrated when they're not available.
If a guy is going out there, making himself available, it's pretty hard. But I do think, though, and we've stressed so many times, to the whole club, he's just part of the club, that you know, that's not the smartest way to go about it for a team.
And what you want to do is I think you want to have players be very straightforward about how they feel. And then there are times, based on your alternatives aren't that good, that you say, "Look, it if you can grin and bear it and it's something that's sore but you're not going to damage it, 75% of you or 50% of you is better than somebody else."
So I'm definitely in favor of players being very straight up with how they feel. Then you come to a decision based on that.
Tony, I've seen managers and coaches approach your situation in a different way. So I just want to get your thoughts on do you have guys come packed for a trip that you don't want them to make or how do you approach the travel issue here today?
TONY LA RUSSA: Approach it very similar. In fact, I had a conversation with Jim Leland. There's only one concentration tonight, that's playing the game to the best of our ability.
There's nothing else about our situation that we're going to get into our coconuts and get distracted about. That's one of them.
We're going to concentrate on playing our very best competitive game and seeing what the result is.
You'll fly tomorrow?
TONY LA RUSSA: Yeah, we're going to fly tomorrow. Hopefully it's to New York.
Chris is facing the same team for the third straight time in a short period. In the game of adjustments, who holds the advantage in that position, pitchers, batters, and why, if either?
TONY LA RUSSA: I think generally they'll tell you the more often they see somebody, they get a little better chance. But if a guy has a lot of weapons like Chris has, if he got them out with his fast ball today, he'll throw his cutter. Got them out with a curve ball today, throw a changeup. He's got so many weapons.
We just saw Chris Young yesterday for the second time in a week. And didn't do very much you know, a pitcher pitches. They have the advantage. And Chris has the advantage because of his stuff and his command. But if I was a hitter, more often I'd get to see somebody, the little better chance I have.
Tony, I hate to keep going back to the possibility of tomorrow, but you talked about when you looked at why Chris today as opposed to maybe what you did last week. Jeff's performance out in San Diego must come in and factor in as part of that decision making process.
TONY LA RUSSA: That's part of when you get a nonanswer. We're going to concentrate on today's game. And the only thing I'll say, if we play tomorrow, Jeff Weaver is the pitcher. But other than that, we just talked to our club. We said we're going to think about today, period.
Wilson/Taguchi tonight, matchups, anything beyond that?
TONY LA RUSSA: Taguchi is not playing.
Wilson instead of Taguchi?
TONY LA RUSSA: That's tough, because So has played well against San Diego. He becomes a great weapon on the bench if you look at it that way. I mean, I think Preston brings energy and some potential extra base, plus base running, just chose to go with him.
Albert seemed visibly disappointed about his performance yesterday. And have you offered him any words of encouragement between last night and today?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, my encouragement was to myself, not to get in the way of him going to the batting cage. Because he's in there tearing the net up.
He's a proud competitor, and he got beat, and I think he acknowledges it. The pitcher beat him, but it doesn't make him happy. So I mean, he hits, if he hits 400, he makes six outs at ten at bats. But he actually went 0 for games during the season and next day he turned it off and concentrated on playing.
Yeah, he was disappointed because he felt like if he does something, couples at bats, we have a better chance to win. But at this point, tip the hat to the other guys.
Tony, it doesn't happen that often where there's three day games in a row. Any conversation that you were able to hear maybe coming out of the clubhouse about night, no shadows, let's go get ready to hit and maybe see pitches a little bit better?
TONY LA RUSSA: Not really. For one thing, you know, we've been a good daytime club. So that didn't bother us. I think playing at night, you do get around that one problem, which whatever club has the edge, you get in the last couple of innings, that's a nice edge to have. I think Jim mentioned that the other day against the Yankees. So there will be more pitches.
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