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10/09/06 9:45 PM ET

Ivan Rodriguez off-day interview

The Tigers' veteran catcher talks about Game 1

How much has Jim Leyland meant to you and working with him since he was hired?

IVAN RODRIGUEZ: Well, it means a lot to us. He's a guy that he's put everything to us in spring training. He's a guy that's talking to the whole team, spends time with the whole team, and told everybody how good we are as a team.

Basically he's been doing that all year. You know, he keeps us very positive, talking to each guy, sitting in the clubhouse, chatting with us.

It's a big part of the success that we have this year, the whole new coaching staff. I think we're doing it very good.

How is Nate a different pitcher now than he was last year at this time?

IVAN RODRIGUEZ: Well, Nate is basically what he does differently is he throws more strikes. He gets ahead of it pretty much every time, and he just changes that fastball. He likes to pitch more inside now and the sliders.

The key for Nate tomorrow is just throw strikes and don't try to do too much. If Nate does that tomorrow, we're going to be okay.

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