NLCS Game 1: Dave Roberts pregame interview

October 14th, 2017

Q. You said yesterday that you're pretty optimistic that Corey would be in the lineup today. He's not on the roster. What's changed in the 24 hours?

DAVE ROBERTS: It improved, but enough to warrant him being out there, it's still sore. It's still sore. Hasn't hit, hasn't moved around. And to see that he can be not only take the field but to be effective out there, I think that we had to weigh everything. Corey was open to everything, but at the end we decided that with the lefties that they've got potentially going against us and having Charlie being able to catch the baseball at short and like him against a left-handed pitcher, it just made sense for us to kind of not have Corey on the roster.

Q. Is it fair to say that if you felt like he would be ready by Game 3, he would be on the roster and you'd just play with 24 for a couple days?

DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, I think that's fair.

Q. So is there a scenario -- you just rule him out basically for this series, regardless what happens to anyone else on the roster?

DAVE ROBERTS: Right now where we're at, yeah. If we saw him ready for Game 3, then -- but now you're talking Game 4, then it's like things that we don't even know what's going to happen. So I think for right now where we're at, it's day-to-day. But to your earlier question, if it was Game 3, then we would have probably done something different. So that's as far as I think that we can forecast anyway. So he's day-to-day. We're hopeful that he continues to improve. As this series takes shape, then we'll make decisions according to his health.

Q. To know who is pitching today for the Cubs this late, does it make any difference to you as you view the game?

DAVE ROBERTS: No. No, it doesn't. As long as we know who is pitching by game time, we'll be ready. So we know. We're ready.

Q. We were told that Corey hurt himself sliding into second base there. That was in the first inning of Game 3. What was the feeling at the time? In hindsight, is there anything you guys could have done or could have known to have prevented this?

DAVE ROBERTS: No. You know, I think it got to the point where he was getting stretched out in the middle of the game. We asked him and the training staff if he could keep going, and he was adamant that he was fine. I think that the adrenaline and after the game, after the game was over the adrenaline subsides, and then there's more kind of soreness or tightening up or whatever it might be, I think, kind of took place. As the next days -- the following days it just got worse, I guess. So he an epidural and tried to keep it at bay. So -- and with that, there was improvement each day. So to your question, I don't see we could have done anything different, because once he slid, the injury had occurred.

Q. When was the epidural?

DAVE ROBERTS: It was the day after -- I think it was the day after the last game in Arizona.

Q. You mentioned Culberson against lefties. Is he in there today? And also what is your plan at short for the remainder of the series?

DAVE ROBERTS: Culberson is starting at short, hitting 8th today.

Q. So yesterday you said -- your exact words were you were very optimistic that he would be in there today. Did it just not improve as much?

DAVE ROBERTS: It just didn't improve as much. Optimistic, hopeful, yeah. And Corey was too. As it came down to setting your roster and feeling is he able to feel confident in his body to not only be out there but to perform. So that's something that the doctors and training staff decided; that to have him active wouldn't be the right thing to do.

Q. Did you guys test this at all? Were there any physical --

DAVE ROBERTS: No, that's part of it is there are tests that he did in the training room, but to get on the field, he hasn't done that. So the first part of that is he's got to be able to show he can run or swing a bat to even really consider being active.

Q. So we're not sure he can run at this point, right?

DAVE ROBERTS: Well, he hasn't run. He hasn't run.

Q. Has he had an MRI or any of those kind of detailed tests?

DAVE ROBERTS: Not that I -- I know that he got the epidural. And the scans, I think they had a scan, but I don't know which scan they took, if it was an MRI or a CT. There was a scan, and all it showed was basically a sprain in his back. So it's more muscular, and he just can't beat it right now.

Q. I know you don't want to look too far ahead, but theoretically, if you get past this round, is there a possibility -- given the fact that he can't run or we don't know that he can run at this stage, that he might not be ready for the World Series?

DAVE ROBERTS: I think anything's possible. But, again, we're hopeful that he will continue to improve, which he has. But enough to warrant having him active this series, not enough -- but treatment and medication, hopefully, in the coming days, it will get better where we can go out there and test it. If we get to the World Series, and when that does happen, that will be a discussion I'm sure we'll have.

Q. What type of impact does this have on your clubhouse and, more importantly, on your matchups without Seager in the lineup? And just to reiterate, you're not looking at him as a possibility in case somebody else gets hurt during this series, are you?

DAVE ROBERTS: It doesn't affect the clubhouse. We have a lot of good players. That's not going to sway our confidence. We still have to go out there and play well. The matchups, obviously, Corey provides a matchup difficulty for the other clubs, and so now with Charlie in there, that we've got Joc on the roster to potentially give us a little flexibility positionally. As far as a potential injury, I guess we'll deal with that if that presents itself.

Q. So he's not counted out necessarily?

DAVE ROBERTS: It's all contingent upon his health, so right now he would be. But in the coming days, the next couple days, if it continues to improve and we can test them and he can pass some tests, that's a different story. So a couple things right there have to happen for us to even entertain that.

Q. You had Corey out, as you remember, I'm sure, for much of the early part of September. You had Charlie up here when Corey was hurt. He started. Didn't really play much thereafter, using Enrique and Chris at shortstop. Presumably, because they would be ready if Corey were hurt, why wasn't Charlie used so he could be ready for this situation?

DAVE ROBERTS: Why wasn't Charlie used with when?

Q. When Corey was hurt.

DAVE ROBERTS: Well, I think that we feel very comfortable with Kiké and Taylor at short. So for us to have those guys play short made sense. You have also on the roster at that point in time, you have three guys that can play shortstop. We can't predict Corey in Game 3 to hurt his back in Game 3. So to go back into September and say why didn't you play Charlie at short when you had two other guys that can play, I just don't think that that's a question that I can answer.

Q. Are the other two guys in the lineup tonight?

DAVE ROBERTS: Yes.

Q. Can we get that lineup for today?

DAVE ROBERTS: Yeah, it should be sent over. It should be sent over now. There's a little gamesmanship going on, I think. So it took a long time to get theirs over to us too. So it's over there.

Q. There was a lot of, I guess, push-pull with Corey this year about his workload, the amount of swings he was taking. Was there any concern about the amount of stress he's put on his body put him at risk for something like this?

DAVE ROBERTS: Well, I think that he's a guy that really likes to work. He enjoys working, trying to get better. When he's not right, he wants to figure it out by working. Those are conversations that I've had with him, the training staff, and I don't think that this was the reason for this particular injury. I think that it was one thing where he slid and his back felt the consequences of being sprained. So I don't think that's a workload issue, but he's doing everything he can, and has done everything he can to stay on the field. So I think there's two separate things.