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Oct. 8 Joe Maddon pregame interview

October 8, 2016

Q. Not to second guess or anything, but you talked about --JOE MADDON: Please do.Q. Maybe a little bit. No. Amora on the roster and putting him on defense, why wouldn't he come in the 9th inning last night?JOE MADDON: Why didn't he? He was possibly coming in previous to

Q. Not to second guess or anything, but you talked about --

JOE MADDON: Please do.

Q. Maybe a little bit. No. Amora on the roster and putting him on defense, why wouldn't he come in the 9th inning last night?

JOE MADDON: Why didn't he? He was possibly coming in previous to that. If we had double switched I was going to bring him in for the double switch.

But he's not just in there for his defense, he can pinch hit. He's very good at handling velocity as a pinch hitter. There might even be a start involved, depends on how this thing plays out.

But last night it was only going to be based on a double switch in the 8th inning. Had we had to go to Chappy in the 8th I was going to double switch him and Zo. He was going to hit 9th, pitcher was going to go in the four hole because Aroldis was going to have to play more than one plus inning. So that's the only reason why I was going to do it last night. It may happen in the future, but for last night that was the plan last night.

Q. I know you love your defense and you're going to probably stick to it and it makes sense in a short series with close games, but how seriously did you consider Coghlan knowing his work against Samardzija?

JOE MADDON: The last game, I was looking at the last game he hit that ball down the first baseline, a double. I don't know, I looked at it, I did. But overall what's going to happen -- what's more likely going to happen, what do you need more. The fact that they have so many left-handed hitters in the lineup today and our pitcher is a heavy ground ball pitcher. Not that it's necessarily going to be hit at the second baseman only, I think that when Kyle pitches a lot of ground balls are funneled through the middle period, so it's nice to have that. And I'm not denigrating Zo, it's just that Javy is Javy right now.

So, it was that, you could have put Coghlan out there and you could have put Zo back at second base. But you saw the significance of it last night. That's been our DNA primarily, especially in this ballpark, to really be able to catch the ball and help our pitcher in that method. So, yeah, you're right, there's a whole bunch. Soler, Jorge Soler is another option there too. There's so many different things, we have all this different ability. More in the latter part of the game.

But I just chose to go with the defense again tonight. I thought it looked pretty good last night. Contreras catching also helps to shut down the running game. He's played well with Kyle. He's caught Kyle well over the last several times out. So all these things are factors for me.

Q. This is not game related, but in searching your background I see you spent 1979 in the Bay Area, at the Santa Clara Padres?

JOE MADDON: Padres. Powerful Pads, yeah.

Q. So the three --

JOE MADDON: I used to drive from Salinas to play there. I played there for one month. I got $200 to play there. I was living in a closet at that time and I wasn't getting any gas money. Thank God it was a Volkswagon. I'm serious. I was commuting from Salinas to play with coach Joe --

Q. Well, so my question is, what --


Q. We're all getting older. What did you take away from that experience, number one, and number two, do you stay in touch from anybody from that year and have you ever been back to Washington Park?

JOE MADDON: I have not been back to Washington Park, but I caught Tracy Harris. Tracy Harris was a knuckleball pitcher. We were having a hard time having anybody catching Tracy, so I was able to catch Tracy for that last month.

Joe, he was a coach at Santa Clara University. And he had -- they were really good guys. Good fellow anyway. An Italian last name. It was a very Italian uniform, red, white and Green. It was the Italian flag.

Anyway, it was a great experience. I wanted to still play. Of course people thought I couldn't play anymore, I still thought that I could. So I Joe Gagliardi I think was the league president at that time and he was negotiating the contract because they were I guess owned by the league. And he pretty much told me in no uncertain terms that they didn't need me, take the 200 bucks, take it or leave it. And I wanted to play so badly I took the "two-hunski." And then it was a drive from Salinas up there and back for home games. And I got to play a little bit. And I had played the last game I think San Jose vs. the San Jose Giants and the beast, right. And I hit a double down the left field line, it was my last pro at-bat, and I moved on from there.

But that's my takeaway. Loved the ballpark. Listen, I just wanted to put on a uniform and I thought I could still do it. I started out that year with Bakersfield, the Bakersfield Outlaws. Ended up with the Santa Clara Padres.

Q. Do you stay in touch with anybody from that team?

JOE MADDON: I don't remember that I do from that particular group. I don't think I do. Other than just a really good memory and it was a very difficult time.

Q. How about the closet, do you remember that?

JOE MADDON: The closet, no, not that either. That was in some apartment in Salinas. Not really proud of that moment. Although that's when I really fell in love with Bat Out Of Hell by meatloaf. Very popular.

Q. I just asked Mark Gonzales, Volpi?

JOE MADDON: Joe Volpi, that's exactly right. You're absolutely right.

Q. What is the biggest difference between Kyle Hendricks last year and this year?

JOE MADDON: Biggest difference I think is, A, confidence. Confidence does some really incredible things for all of us as an athlete, as a pitcher. I think he has the confidence to throw any pitch he wants in any count, any direction. Starts there.

With that comes the execution of the pitches, with that also I think the addition of more apt to throw his curveball for a strike when he wants to. And then the four-seam fastball. All these things are like the new things this year with him. I thought it began -- latter part of last season I thought he started to grow in his real Major League skin as a starting pitcher. Spring Training this year I noticed a little bit of an uptick with everything too, I thought he just puffier in a good way.

Earlier in the season we took care of him by not really extending him pitch number wise and all a sudden, just looking it up, had a game against Philadelphia here, nine innings, he gave up one awkward run in the 9th, otherwise it should have been a shutout. From then on we started getting him deeper into games pitch number wise. He got over 100 more often and he liked it. He liked it.

And I think that I've talked about a mind when stretched has a difficult time going back to its original form. I think once we stretched him mentally and physically, he liked it and he knew that he could do it. I think that's the ancillary benefits is what you're seeing right now, that he has arrived at this point of confidence and now when he goes out there to pitch he knows he can pitch more deeply into the game. I know he can throw 100 plus pitches and still be effective. All those things he knows that he can do right now. I think that's the difference.

Q. A step further, why has he been so good here? Is it this park that's maybe more suited to his strengths?

JOE MADDON: Obviously this is -- it's been a good pitching ballpark this year. You can't deny that. Weather conditions have been in the pitchers' favor I think for the most part. You saw it last night again. I think that has some kind of a component with it.

I also believe, and I even talked to John Smoltz about this, I think that someplaces that as pitcher looking in you like it. It's you like the background, you like the setting, I'm comfortable here, I feel good. I feel like I'm right on home plate, it's not 60 feet six inches, it looks like maybe 45 feet. So I think there's a part of it that's really comfortable for him and for a lot of our pitchers. And he is still 26, right? Is he 26, be 27?

I had my experience with a lot of young guys, pitchers that eventually get as good on the road. So I'm thinking that he's comfortable pitching here. I think it's been a good pitching yard for the season. Give him a chance to grow. He's pitched some really good games on the road, don't get me wrong, he has. But I think as young pitchers really build into their success, and then they take their act on the road they become more comfortable with the backdrops, depth perception, things like that, they adjust more quickly.

Q. So the last day or two there's been a lot of talk nationally about locker room talk and what might be appropriate versus inappropriate.

JOE MADDON: I have no idea what you're talking about.

Q. In light of Donald Trump's comments.


Q. How is that --

JOE MADDON: That's political. That's not locker room.

Q. How has that line changed over the years or evolved over the years and is what he's saying true about what goes on in the locker room?

JOE MADDON: You expect me to comment on that?

(Laughter.) And I'm not -- I don't have my head in the sand. I did. I'm aware of what he said. I read the New York papers again today like I always do. The guys that are here.

Listen, man, that's just, it's his situation to deal with right now. I'm not going to talk about what we talk about in our clubhouse. It's unfortunate that that's out there right now in a sense based on it's a presidential election and it's pretty important. But otherwise, we like to maintain within our clubhouse what's within our clubhouse.

Q. In the last couple years you brought up a number of young players from the Minor Leagues and almost by definition there's going to be things that they have to deal with that are new and different here that they haven't dealt with before. What are some of the steps generally that you or measures that you take to help make that integration as smooth as it can possibly be?

JOE MADDON: When you asked me that question my mind first goes to Spring Training. And we have a meeting with everybody. I have an individual meeting with every player and you talk to them about pretty much everything that you perceive to be their strengths, maybe some of their weaknesses, and you're very straight up and honest with them. I think honest conversations with the young people like that, they can definitely handle that and deal with that. And then you build this kind of a program for them to work from. And you stay on it. When you are working with young players like that, you have to have a lot of honest, open conversations. You can't run away or brush under the rug, sweep under the rug any kind of whatever's not going right. You have to call their attention. The accountability component.

So when you have a coaching staff that stays on top that, which our guys do, and our players know a specific plan they know exactly what we're working on for them and with them and they become part of that process. So for me it's a daily situation that has to be monitored and you never run away from a difficult conversation. Don't ever run away from a tough conversation because that's probably the most important conversation you're going to have with that player.

When you're asking that question specifically with our guys and with me, I think it's more about mental mistakes, trying to really help eradicate the mental mistakes. Teaching the mental component of our game, the mental part of our game is much more difficult than teaching the physical part. The physical -- teaching physical anything parts of any sport is relatively simple. Teaching the mental part of the game is really tough. That's the redundant part of your day and that's what's going to wear you out. And that's the part of the day that's probably going to win or lose the game.

So, for me and for us, set up your program early, stay on top of it, have the tough conversations and understand the mental part of the game is the part you want to get a 23, 24 year old to understand more quickly and then you're going to have success.

Q. Is it easier to sort of resist the temptation or not resist the temptation, but if guys make mistakes to just let them play through it?

JOE MADDON: Well, they're going to make mistakes. If it's a physical mistake, you can take them out and work on their feet. That's pretty simple. Work on your feet, your arm's dropping down, you're wrapping it. Those are different kind of physical mistakes that you can work on that are relatively easy.

The mental mistake is how a guy thinks on his feet in the moment. Give you an example, earlier this season we're playing in Pittsburgh and Javy on a routine ground ball to third we had a double play in front of us, but he tried to make it into a triple play and we got nothing out of it. So I called him and we talked about and I said I just want you to do the routine play routinely, and then if anything spectacular is popping up, just rely on your innate ability to do that, but let's play the routine play properly and routinely.

It happened the other day. Same situation, two guys on ground ball to third. I can see he thought about trying to go for a triple play, he dumped it to second, dumped it to first, we got the double play, two outs we get out of the inning on the next pitch. So that's the mental mistake, he tried in Pittsburgh earlier in the season. That's the conversation. And it clicked. It clicked for him in that moment. So those are the more difficult -- that's the more difficult part of the game to teach is how somebody's thinking.