Oct. 11 Don Mattingly pregame interview
Q. Could you talk about some of the roster decisions and the changes you made on the roster, particularly with St. Louis as a team that hasn't hit lefties too well this year and how you came to drop the two guys in favor for the other guys you brought on?
DON MATTINGLY: I don't know if I really want to go into all the reasons why, but obviously, we feel like this is the best club, you know, with St. Louis for where we're at right now. The way our roster is set up with the number of players we kept, and the number of pitchers that we're keeping helped make those decisions. So, obviously, we think this is the best roster going forward to St. Louis.
Q. Can you offer anymore detail as to your thought process behind it, though?
DON MATTINGLY: Well, Carlos has got really good numbers. We felt like his power was good for us, lefties and righties. I really don't want to bad mouth my players that we didn't keep. We just felt like it's the best roster for us.
The decisions we make aren't like we just go in and do it easily. We met like over five hours yesterday going over these rosters and trying to put the best group of guys together, and for all kinds of different reasons. That's what I'm saying, I don't want to sit here and go through our whole meeting and give you the thought process of everybody in the room. This is just the roster that we came up with that we feel like gave us the best chance to win against St. Louis with the number of players and pitchers that we keep, and it covers us in all different situations.
Q. Can you just talk about Andre, having him back in the lineup, and what that does for your team?
DON MATTINGLY: Well, it gets us back to kind of the lineup that we played most of the middle of our year, with Andre out in center, and it feels good to get him back in there. I mean, we're comfortable enough, and he really basically had to be able to tell us that he felt like he was going to be able to go out there and make all the plays. That was the main thing. Not really for me, but for everybody in the room. It wasn't a decision like I'll go out there I'll go out there for you. It needed to be that I feel like I can make plays. And had he to have confidence in that not for me, but for the rest of the guys in that room.
We're comfortable that he can play center today the way he's capable of, and we'll see where we go from there.
Q. Any concern about a lack of left handers against a team that hits right handed right handers pretty well?
DON MATTINGLY: Well, obviously, a little bit. But, again, the consideration for the roster where a lot of things obviously are going to be generated by numbers and who hits who, and how somebody has been pitching. So, yeah, I think a little bit. But I mean, there are a lot of different areas that we worry about. Just these moves where we feel like the different way guys are pitching and the match ups with this particular team, this is best thing for us.
Q. When did you know for sure you'd have Ethier? Was it a workout today? And also, does his health feel tenuous to you or does it feel like he's back?
DON MATTINGLY: We knew today basically him being able to say he's ready to go today and bouncing back after yesterday. A lot of things we've seen yesterday we really liked.
At first it wasn't as good as I would have liked, but as the day went on, he got better and better out there in center. He goes, does a lot of things, making turns. So it feels like at least he's back today. We don't know how he responds after a game of Major League Baseball, not just a workout.
Worst case scenario then it would be back to a pinch hitter or something possibly tomorrow, then another day off. But the best case scenario is obviously that he's going to be able to bounce back, and tomorrow he'll be fine.
Q. Is Chris Capuano healthy, and have you decided on Games 3 and 4 starting pitchers?
DON MATTINGLY: Capuano's healthy, and 3 is going to be Ryu, and 4 is Ricky.
Q. With having Howell as the lone lefty in the bullpen, do you think it's possible that you might trust him to face Holliday? Because when you look at the top of their lineup, they might go left, switch, Holliday third, and then obviously a lefty after that?
DON MATTINGLY: J.P. has grown obviously through the course of the season and into the postseason. He's handled both, and really Paco had until probably the last five weeks of the season, and we still feel like Paco's going to be a productive guy for us. But J.P. has handled them both, has been here before. He's a guy who we trust late in the game. There are going to be times, obviously, when you've got one lefty that you're only going to be able to use him one time.
But also we've got some other guys. Withrow has been good against lefties. Carlos has been good against lefties. So we have multiple guys that we can get lefties out with.
Q. Given how much he did for you over the course of the season, how difficult was it to tell Paco he's not on the roster?
DON MATTINGLY: It wasn't easy. Again, really tough decision for a guy that's really helped get you and get us to this point. But for the people who have been following us over the last five, six weeks, it's really been two different guys. The guy up until that point and the guy from that point has gotten to be a little different.
Now where does that come from? Is it from just usage where he's in his first full year and just kind of running out of gas? Whatever that is, it still didn't make it any easier to be able to talk about that and tell him that he wasn't going to be on the roster.
Obviously, doing the rosters is probably one of the worst things that I've had to do. Guys in spring training, usually they know. The roster thing is tough, because guys are working to where you want to be, and to say you're not going to be a part of this, that is not easy to talk about with guys, because guys are competitive. You know they want to be there, and in some cases they've helped you get here, and you're just having to make tough decisions.
Q. What went into putting Volquez on the roster?
DON MATTINGLY: Again, the shape of our roster. We went with 14 players. Instead of 13, 12, we went 14, 11. We knew we were going to have to have some length in there. We had to have a guy that could definitely be a long guy, and we felt like he was the best long guy in this club. Also a guy that's a power arm, and then we could use him and there was a possibility of using him in different ways also.
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