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Oct. 10 Jim Leyland pregame interview

MLB.com

THE MODERATOR: Detroit Manager, Jim Leyland. Questions.

Q. The obvious question, Jim, can you tell us about putting Jhonny Peralta in?

THE MODERATOR: Detroit Manager, Jim Leyland. Questions.

Q. The obvious question, Jim, can you tell us about putting Jhonny Peralta in?

JIM LEYLAND:. Well, Jhonny Peralta has played shortstop a whole lot more than he's played left field. He's been on the All Star team twice since he's been here as a shortstop, so I feel totally comfortable with it.

Q. Jim, a lot of your contemporaries have left managing, Davey Johnson just retired. I'm wondering if that impacts your perspective on your job and how much longer you want to keep doing it?

JIM LEYLAND:. I'm still tickin'.

Q. Is it a matter of pride?

JIM LEYLAND:. Like I said, I'm tickin'.

Q. Well, then flat out, are you coming back to manage next year?

JIM LEYLAND:. Well, we have a policy in Detroit because I've been on a one year contract for several years now, we don't discuss my situation until probably the day or two after the final game. Hopefully that's not for a while yet.

That's a policy we've had. We didn't announce anything last year until afterwards, so that will be the same policy this year.

Q. Discuss your pitching situation, who is available in the bullpen?

JIM LEYLAND:. Justin Verlander (Chuckles.) He's available! And Max Scherzer will not pitch, nor will Sanchez, unless it was some kind of a freak thing, 17-, 18-inning game.

The bullpen is intact and obviously Justin, so that's what our pitching situation is.

Q. It seems like Cabrera was moving along better in the last couple of games. The two days' rest, how do you see his improvement? Is he doing better now?

JIM LEYLAND:. Well, it looked like he tweaked it the other day. I'll say this one more time. I think he's in one of those situations where he gets better to be honest with you, but if he has to make a quick move sometimes, the way I understand how these injuries work is if you have to move real quick to start or when you slow down and stop, they hurt.

If you get in a gait where you're just running, it really doesn't bother you. But if you have to get started or a quick move to stop, then it aggravates it some.

He's obviously in the lineup and it is what it is. He's been playing through this for quite a while and hopefully will be able to play through it for a few more games.

Q. Going back to the shortstop decision, was that something that took a lot of conversation with your coaching staff or was it an easy decision just given that in a game like this, you would expect defense to be important all the way around?

JIM LEYLAND:. Defense in left field is important, too, and he's played shortstop a whole lot more than he's played left field. I will share this with you, although, the manager makes the decision, I can tell you that I discussed this with my coaching staff, and it was unanimous. We're trying to keep the bat in there. If you remember what I said in Detroit the other day, we're trying to keep another over the fence bat in there. Really what you're doing is playing Kelly for Jose Iglesias. Donny Kelly had two hits off of Gray the other night. He put a hit-and-run in play. He's an excellent defender in left field.

So when we weighed all the options, this was a decision that I ended up making after some discussion and this is on me.

The reason I don't like to say anything about the coach is because I don't want it to look like I'm using somebody else, Oh, everybody else agreed with me. I made this decision and the coaches more or less assured me that they agreed with it.

I don't know how this is to turn out. It may be one that other people can have fun with be. Criticize it if doesn't work, good move if it does work. But in my heart, you have to make these decisions. In my heart, I think this gives us the best chance starting this game tonight, and I emphasize starting this game tonight, I think this gives us our best chance.

Q. Would you talk about your approach to Sonny Gray after just seeing him a few days ago?

JIM LEYLAND:. Sonny Gray obviously was terrific. Absolutely terrific. If you look at the Cole kid last night that pitched for Pittsburgh, these young guys coming up...

Cole was really good, too. He gave up a two run homer, but he was really good.

This kid is tough. He didn't back off anything the other night. I'm sure Bob had a tough decision to make and I give him credit for the decision he made.

It's not that easy for a manager to be put in those situations, and I think he made a great decision. The kid is special. Hopefully the fact that we have seen him will help us a little bit. It certainly doesn't guarantee anything.

If he is like he was the other night, it's going to be tough no matter how many times you saw him. But this is a big game and we got a big game pitcher going as well. Bob feels comfortable with his and I feel comfortable with mine.

Q. Justin Verlander is a hell of a pitcher anyway, but he's dominated the A's over the last two seasons. What do you think it specifically is?

JIM LEYLAND:. I don't think that would be a good thing to share at my press conference two hours before the game. I really don't know the answer. Sometimes it's amazing. Sometimes pitchers just match up against a certain team, you can't figure it out.

I know there's been a couple of times in my career where a guy was phenomenal, I won't get into names, but it happened to us this year. A pitcher was phenomenal against us this year, and the next game he got bombed. I was just scratching my head. How does this happen. It works out sometimes at the end of the day, sometimes it doesn't.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Jim.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.