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10/13/06 5:38 PM ET

Jim Leyland pregame interview

Leyland talks about injuries to the pitching staff

Any new news on Joel Zumaya?

JIM LEYLAND: I haven't really talked to him today. To be honest with you, I haven't seen him yet. He was much better yesterday. I doubt he'll pitch today, but hopefully tomorrow he'll be ready.

What's Rodney's year been like? He's obviously been very impressive in this series.

JIM LEYLAND: Rodney has been great. He actually started out the season as our closer because Jonesy was on the shelf, and he did a tremendous job. Relief pitchers are -- they live in a little bit of a strange world because they do a great job 15 out of 16 times and they have one bad outing or two bad outings, and everybody sends a red flag up.

It's just not fair. They're not going to be perfect every time, but he's been fantastic for us, done a great job.

For Infante, is that just another inkling you have? Is that a feeling?

JIM LEYLAND: No, but he's 1 for 3 with two walks. I want to have Gomez over there possibly to pinch-hit for Santiago late in the game if I need that. I'll have Thames over there, also. It's not -- there's really not much of a track record obviously when you see 1 for 3 with two walks, but I think Omar is a real good hitter. He's probably a better match-up for this guy, but I don't know how that's going to turn out. And I like the fact that Omar can sit for a few days and still get a base hit off a good pitcher.

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We were talking out there about your team being a pretty free-swinging team most of the year and being disciplined. As the manager, what's the line between I want these guys to be more patient, they are what they are, and I don't want to get in the way of how they usually hit? What's the fine line?

JIM LEYLAND: I think that's a great question. I'm not really sure I know the answer. Like I said the other day, we kind of contradict ourselves. We want to be aggressive but we want to be patient. If you're going to be aggressive you're going to swing at some bad balls. I think if you have a game plan, what you're going to do at the plate -- I think if you're pulling off that's one thing. If you're swinging at bad pitches, that's another thing. There's so many things involved in that.

So far our approach has been real good. I think we've grown leaps and bounds in the last couple weeks as far as our discipline at the plate, but you never know. A lot of times it depends on the pitcher's stuff. If somebody is obviously pretty nasty that day, obviously you're going to swing at more bad pitches.

How important is it for you guys to take this one and not give Oakland any life in this series?

JIM LEYLAND: Well, I don't think it's -- I don't really think about stuff like that. I think that Oakland has life in this series. They're here for a reason. They're a real good road team.

I don't really -- if we win this game, I'm not going to be jumping up and down, and if we lose it I'm not going to be pouting. That's just the way it is. Somebody has to win four games. Oakland is very capable of winning four games in this series, and so are we. So we just play it and find out how it turns out.

Again, for Santiago and for Infante, at what point did you tell them they were going to play? Same as Gomez in the lobby, or when did they know they were going to play?

JIM LEYLAND: I told both of them yesterday. I told Infante he was DH and I told Santi he was playing short.

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