Oct.12 Joe Girardi pregame interview
Q. Joe, I know struggled against right handers. How difficult of a situation was it to not put him in the line up?
JOE GIRARDI: It is difficult. He has meant a lot to the organization, the game of baseball over the years. And he has been a very productive hitter. But he struggled against right handers in the series, and Chavy has been good against right handers all year long. I made a decision to start Chavy today.
Q. When did you tell Alex, last night? Today?
JOE GIRARDI: No, same routine. Watch video today and look at stuff. And made the decision about 1:00.
Q. And just called him into the office?
JOE GIRARDI: He wasn't here yet. I got ahold of him and let him know what I was going to do.
Q. Did you look at this as just a one game thing or is it a possibility of a lot of to consider any time you face a right hander going forward?
JOE GIRARDI: I hope I really have to consider this tomorrow, I really do. My personality has always been, let's worry about today. I don't need to worry about tomorrow.
Q. Joe, you didn't say if it was an actual phone call or text. Was there a reaction? What was the reaction? And do you think his head is in the right place to take a pinch hit against maybe a lefty late in the game to help you in this game?
JOE GIRARDI: I do. I do think he's ready. His message, "let's win, and I'm ready to help whenever you need me." That was his message to me. And I believe that. So I believe he is ready to take an at bat against a lefty and help us win.
Q. If these situations continue to come up in years ahead
JOE GIRARDI: I ain't worried about years ahead. Just let me worry about today.
Q. Joe, are you going to see how Jeter does pregame?
JOE GIRARDI: Correct. I am pretty sure he will be able to play shortstop.
Q. Joba, is he
JOE GIRARDI: I have not seen Joba. But as I said in some of the earlier press things, Joba endured a lot in his career and showed a lot of toughness. If there is not a lot of swelling in there, my guess is that I'll have him today. But I have to see him first.
Q. Is there a possibility
JOE GIRARDI: I am not sure what we would do if we felt there was no chance to pitch.
Q. Joe, have you given any thought at all to sitting down to Granderson?
JOE GIRARDI: You could talk about that and then you so where are you going to go? I mean, you know, people mentioned to me, what about Gardy? He's had three at bats since April 28. And I don't think it's fair to put him in that situation because we don't know what we're going to get from Gardy. And I am a big fan of Gardy's and I saw what he did the last four seasons and how he's played for us, but he just hasn't played.
Q. Joe, for a short series, especially the past 48 hours are you surprised what it's come to the decisions you've had to make in the lineup between pinch hitting for Alex twice, and now not playing him? Is that something you never would have envisioned coming into the series?
JOE GIRARDI: No, but there is probably a lot of things I wouldn't envision this year with all of things that we went through as a club. And one thing that these guys have always been able to do is bounce back. Whether it's been through injuries or some other things, they have been able to bounce back. And that's what I look forward to watching today.
Q. Joe, pitching obviously has been good, but some of the scouts that are trailing the series have talked about how it seems like a lot of the hitters, on both sides, sort of gotten away from executing in their at bats. I mean what do you think that might be?
JOE GIRARDI: I think it's the time of the year that players probably want to do well more than any time that they ever play. Whether it's high school game, any championship game they have been involved, that's not the Big Leagues, and I think sometimes maybe too much thought goes into it instead of just letting their natural ability take over. And I think sometimes maybe guys try too hard this time of year.
The other things that you're going to see this time of year, is you really don't get to the playoffs if you don't have good pitching. Very seldom do you ever see a club just slug their way in and win all games 10 8. They usually have pretty good pitching, and you are running into that now. But I think it's the anticipation of wanting to do so well right now that it affects players.
Q. Joe, today is the game that you say you don't want to be in that situation, the same with the players, too. Do you see for the game any nervous or panic in the club? And how do you apply it to this game today? Alex, he's pinch hitting?
JOE GIRARDI: Right, I look at recent history, too. I don't look at what guys have done five years ago, six years ago, pitchers change, people change.
As far as panic, I like what Jeet said one day: "Panic, there is nobody panicking in that room." What does panic look like? I told you one day I would be really concerned if we all of a sudden took the field and every player ran out of the stadium, now that's panic. I have to believe when the game starts at 5:07, I will have nine players on the field raring to go. Those guys aren't panicking. They are going to be loud in there, they're going to laugh when they stretch, they are going to have fun during BP, and are going to enjoy the competition. If the guys run out of the stadium, I will be worried.
Q. You said you only have to worry about today.
JOE GIRARDI: Right.
Q. But Alex Rodriguez is a big part of the future of the organization with a big investment, and you only have to worry about today. Is this a decision you have to run up the pole and say, what are we dealing with here? What does the future look like if we do this?
JOE GIRARDI: The one thing that this club has always given me the ability to do is make my lineup. Now do I have conversations with people in the organization about things that I'm going to do? Absolutely. I do. And I always do, because I am not a guy that's not going to take information. I'm going to take people's opinions and information and dissect it and think about what I'm going to do. But as I said, we have to worry about today. You know, if there are concerns about relationships, you have off seasons, you have springs, you have seasons to go through things.
The best relationships, the strongest relationships are always relationships that go through some struggles. Relationships just aren't perfect. I mean, you put a husband and wife together where the relationship was just perfect without any struggles, and you're probably not living on this planet. (Laughter).
So relationships go through that. So I mean, if things have to be, you know, built back up, we can do that. I have had to do that before. So I don't worry about that. I have got to worry about today and we, as an organization and as a group in that room, have to worry about today.
Q. Joe, with Granderson's struggles, did you give any consideration of moving Ichiro to center and Ibañez in left? And if you did, why did you ultimately decide not to go that route?
JOE GIRARDI: Grandy had some pretty good at bats off him this year. He really has. And I thought if you think of doing that, okay, who is going to DH? You can possibly DH Jeet again or Nixie at short. And sometimes you get hamstrung when the every day shortstop is DHing; if you want to put him back out there, you can lose your DH. I decided to go with Grandy. If Grandy stays in his zone, he will be fine. That's the big thing he has to concentrate on.
Q. Joe, two things: You had hesitated before today to put the lefties back to back at 2 and 3 in the order, and you did it today. Why? And also, I assume Phil isn't available to you today. Is everyone else including Pettitte and Kuroda available today?
JOE GIRARDI: Pettitte is available, I don't know about Kuroda. As far as the lefties, at some point when you have five lefties in your lineup, you're going to run together. I mean, there's no way around it. So two guys are going to run together. The two guys over the years that have probably seen the most left handed pitching are the two that are together.
Q. Is what Alex is going through right now just a slump or part of it health and the hand isn't really fully healed?
JOE GIRARDI: No, I don't think it is health.
We saw him swing the bat really good in September for a while, so I don't think it is health. I think he is just going through a difficult time.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Joe.