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10/10/06 2:49 PM ET

Jeff Weaver workout day interview

Weaver discusses his journey getting to the Cardinals and pitching in past playoff games

Could you just talk about the strange journey you've had this year and now starting Game 1 of the NLCS, just what a weird journey that's been and how well that's ended up for you.

JEFF WEAVER: Well, yeah, baseball I guess, you never know what you're going to get during the course of a season.

But, you know, obviously the way it started, had some struggles out there in Anaheim, and with those struggles, things are obviously going to be changed and, you know, I was sent to St. Louis. But at that point in time, you know, I just was excited about the opportunity because you kind of put things behind you, you can start fresh, new league, getting back to the league that I was familiar with for the last couple of years and had some success.

So, you know, with those thoughts in mind, you know, you just stay confident. I worked with Duncan quite a bit, just more so talking about who I was as a pitcher and trying to get back to that, and not trying to change who I was or what I was trying to do out there, but getting back to what got me to that point and having success.

With those things in mind, you know, just finally kind of got my feet on the ground and got back to who I was and, you know, I wasn't so mechanical. You know, my strengths are kind of changing my arm angles, giving different looks and kind of got away from that a little bit.

You know, when you come to a team that's built to win and you have that opportunity to help that team succeed and get to the post-season, you know, all of those things are motivation in itself to get back to the guy that you know you are. And just, you know, I've always kind of said, especially when you've gone through struggles before and worked yourself out of it, that things happen for a reason. You know, maybe this is what was supposed to happen to get me to this point and enable me to get back to the post-season. You know, despite all of those struggles, I was able to get out there in the first series and win a ballgame. So, you know, when you do those things and accomplish those things, it's easy to put those tough times behind.

I was going to ask you, if, in fact, after winning the first game, if it put away a lot of those gremlins or whatever, the bad thoughts you had from the last time you pitched in the post-season and so forth.

JEFF WEAVER: Well, despite the World Series appearance, ironically enough, I pitched against St. Louis in the first round with L.A. a couple of years ago. I had a tough time with that start, too.

So, you know, having the opportunity again, obviously you want to make the best of it, finally get that first post-season win out of the way. You know, when you accomplish something that you haven't done before, it's just added confidence, and the way I've thrown the last couple of months, which just continues that process and hopefully just take this into this series and continue to help the team to win some games.

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I'd be remiss to not ask you this while you're here in New York: You're sitting here and a couple of miles away the Yankees are having a news conference with their usual chaos, what impact did your stay on the Yankees have on your life and your career?

JEFF WEAVER: Tremendous amount. I mean, when you go from Detroit, a small-market team to the biggest market in baseball, you know, it's all new. You're on the biggest stage in baseball, and then on top of it, you're going through your toughest season as a professional and just added strain and stress to try to dig yourself out of holes. And sometimes when you do that, it even makes it worse.

So those experiences are something that I can always go back to, remember, remember how I handled it, remember that I was able to work myself out of it, remember that I was able to get back to who I was. You know, when you go through the tough times again, you can always remember that you worked yourself out of it. You're going to get back to it. Just continue to work, stay confident and know that your abilities are what got you there and eventually things will turn around.

You know, all of those things, good or bad, are experiences that help you to be the person and the professional you are today. That definitely prepared me for anything that can come my way.

. Can you talk about the key to beating the Mets?

JEFF WEAVER: That's a good question. I don't know if many people have had that answer thus far this year. (Smiling).

Obviously, a huge key is trying to keep Reyes off the bases. That guy is a run producer. He's always getting on base and scoring runs. And then the middle of the lineup is as potent as any in baseball. Obviously you've got to be aggressive. You've got to get ahead of these guys and hopefully get them to swing at and try to hit pitches that you want them to, instead of falling into a place where you have to kind of give into them and have an opportunity for them to hurt you. But, you know, there's going to be some runs scored. There's no doubt about that. But we've just got to as a staff stay away from the big innings that they are capable of. If we can do that with the guys we have, we're going to put up some runs and hopefully just a few more than them.

All of the players who have joined the Cardinals since Albert Pujols has been there has said it's stunning to watch him on a daily basis, as opposed to just the little times you see him on the other side. Can you talk about what that's been like for you and how he's a game changer, maybe the best one in baseball.

JEFF WEAVER: Well, I mean, coming over, it was a situation where, you know, you get to see him on an everyday basis and you just understand how consistent he is. I mean, it really is on an everyday basis he has an opportunity to change the game, and usually, I mean, it was evident with all of the go-ahead RBIs he had this year, he comes up huge in the clutch. For the last couple of weeks when we were struggling, it was him that was constantly putting up the production. And not only because of his offense, as good as it is, his defense, the way he plays first base is as good as there is in baseball, also. He's just an all-around great player, and as consistent as they come.

Any question in your mind he's the MVP of the league?

JEFF WEAVER: I don't think there's any doubt, any doubt in my mind.

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