Oct. 26 Terry Collins workout day interview
Q. What's Cespedes's situation, your level of concern right now?
TERRY COLLINS: I have no concern. He feels great. I just saw him. He feels fine. He's going to hit again today and he's ready to go.
Q. Your team is kind of in maybe the Royals situation last year, first time in, experiencing it, winning almost all the games. They have a little more experience. Do you feel like that's a factor at all?
TERRY COLLINS: I think anytime you do something for the first time you're going to be better off if you've done it again. Certainly I think they have a little bit more of an advantage that they've been through this before. They've been through all the hoopla and jumping through all the hoops before the game starts. They're a little more used to it than we are.
I don't know how that's going to translate on the field, but certainly they're probably a lot more comfortable with what's happening now than our guys will be shorty.
Q. There was so much talk about Harvey's innings count in September. When you had your discussion leading up to choosing him for that start, how much discussion was there about the innings counts? Did you have to get some sort of okay from people above you, I guess?
TERRY COLLINS: We kind of cleared that up at the end. It goes back to after the Yankee game, we met, we took him right out after five. Pitching great. Couple days later he walked in and said, Listen, we're going to get in the Postseason and I've got to be ready, and I'm not ready. He said, My next two starts I've got to throw at least a hundred pitches to get myself back where I need to be. I said, Well, we need to address a few things, talk to a few other people.
And Sandy and I met, and Sandy said, It's his call. If he thinks he needs to do that, we'll try to get him ready, and we did. It's pretty much been Matt and me ever since. I don't think we've needed to go elsewhere. As long as I know he's ready to go.
Q. With what David Wright means to this franchise and what he's meant and gone through this year, what do you think getting to the World Series, like you, for the first time, means to him?
TERRY COLLINS: It means a lot. He's been a Met his whole career. Obviously they got close one time. The kind of person he is, I'm not surprised when it's time to resign here that he didn't say, Look, I'm a Met and I'm going to be a part of this moving forward. He saw those good arms coming along the line and wanted to be a big part of them.
So I think he's thrilled to death. Talking to him after the game the other day, he was genuinely thrilled that he was a part of it. I've told you guys, it's a true story, that guy walked in after four and a half months being out, he said, I'm just glad to be back, I hope to help out, but you're playing great and if you don't want to play me, I get it. If that doesn't tell you what kind of a professional, what kind of a team-first attitude he's got, that's why he's the captain.
But I know he's very, very excited to be there.
Q. I was just wondering if you could talk a little bit about what the process was when you hired Kevin Long, the organization hired Kevin Long, and how do you judge the impact he's had as a coach this year?
TERRY COLLINS: I did not know Kevin. I'd heard a lot of good things about him through the years, especially in New York. I knew some guys that had worked with him in the past, spoke extremely highly of him, and what a hard worker he is. When he got let go in New York, we did our due diligence and called around, there was people genuinely disappointed that he wasn't coming back.
And so when we interviewed him, we saw what he teaches and how he teaches it and how he goes about getting guys ready, and I liked it. The work ethic is off the charts. His pregame preparation is great.
Now, to get players to buy into it, that's the hard part. But when you see his passion for hitting and how he cares about it, the players just eventually buy into it. We're seeing it with Dan Murphy right now.
I'm extremely thrilled that he's been here. He's done an outstanding job, even during the tough times when we weren't scoring runs, like all coaches they take that stuff personally. And he set his mind to the fact that we've got to get better in certain areas. And this guy is tireless in that video room, tirelessly, every day. And got guys and helped some guys.
And so I think we're seeing the results of what it's like to be a Major League coach throughout the season, eventually if everybody starts to buy into what you're trying to teach, eventually it pays off, and it's paying off.
Q. Juan Uribe hasn't played in more than a month, even if he says he feels okay, is he doubtful to make the roster because he hasn't played in so long?
TERRY COLLINS: Neither has Matt Reynolds.
Q. There's a chance?
TERRY COLLINS: There's a chance of it, yep.
Q. And secondly, I think you said that your pitchers throw almost too many strikes. Against this team, particularly, is it important for them to go outside the zone a little bit more?
TERRY COLLINS: I don't know. We'll see. (Laughter).
Q. I wonder to what extent your having another bite at the apple as a manager, to what extent you're a different manager now than you were before? And could you have done this 15 years ago?
TERRY COLLINS: Sure wish I had the shot. We had good enough teams to do it, I know that.
I don't know, I think I could have done it 15 years ago. Again, this is more about the players than the managers. But, yeah, I think the fact that I changed the way I go about things helped here in our situation, especially in New York.
I try to stay in the background as much as I can. And it's hard to do, due to the title I have. But I try to stay out of the way. I have great coaches, I let them coach. My job is to pretty much make sure the players are on board with everything we're doing.
So I think I've changed a lot there. I don't take everything as personal as I once did. And I let the coaches do that now.
So it's worked here. I'm happy about it. I'm thrilled to death to be here. I can honestly tell you, baseball for 45 years, it tells you how hard it is to get here, so you better enjoy it, and I'm enjoying it.
Q. You guys were pretty confident from day one of Spring Training. You've been playing at a pretty high level for the last couple of weeks. But is it still kind of cool/surreal, when you walked onto the field yesterday?
TERRY COLLINS: Yeah, you walk around and talked to the players, which I try to do, I can't tell you from some veteran guys to the rookies, they're walking around, they say, Wow, it's a cool place, never been here. Man, we're in the World Series. And it strikes home. It's what it's all about.
I told Michael Conforto, we can probably go back, and you guys know a lot of these younger players than I do on other clubs, but not very often do you start out the year in A-ball and end up in the World Series. He's in a unique situation, and he should be very proud of how hard he worked this year, and the fact that he gets this opportunity.
I told Noah the same thing. I said, You're starting one of the biggest games in the city of New York in years and years. You should be proud of the fact that you're able to do it and we think you're ready to do it.
It was great. And the veteran guys, Addison Reed and I talked before the game, and he said, You know, there was a time in Arizona I was counting the days down. Now I don't want it to end. It just tells you the impact of playing in the World Series, what it means to people.
Q. What about yourself, you've been through a million things, walking on the field yesterday, was it cool for you?
TERRY COLLINS: It was great. It was really, really great. It's the ultimate when you're a manager or you're a player to play in this setting. It's hard to get here, so you've got to have some fun with it. Even though it's as pressure packed as it may be, you've got to try to enjoy it, and we're going to enjoy it.
Q. You guys have been so protective over the starters for the entire season. Now you got to the Postseason it's different. You are protective of Matt, too, aware of the innings. When did it change you went from being protective of him to a guy that can be a workhorse now and do whatever you need him to do?
TERRY COLLINS: I think it started in the Postseason, for sure. We still try to monitor it at the end of the season, even the games when we thought we had to build his pitch count back up to where if we were going to get into the Postseason he was ready to go. We were still very cognizant of the fact we couldn't get crazy.
When we got in the Postseason we put a limit on him, probably more than they were ready to handle. But I think the adrenaline factor was involved, that they could probably get through it.
We've been lucky due to the days off that we've had. But we worked very, very hard to make sure that these guys physically were ready to add on some extra innings at the end of the summer. And we're seeing great results because of it.
That's one reason why we gave Jake an extra day. Even though he was one guy we planned on having pitch 200 innings, it's the first time he's done it, too. We start to see some little traits of fatigue set in, we said, He might need an extra day.
We've worked hard. It's paid off, that's why we're here. And tomorrow night, Kansas City will decide how long Matt is going to pitch. I have all the confidence in the world that he's going to get deep.
Q. Now that you're here are there any limitations on Matt?
TERRY COLLINS: Innings or pitches? There will always be a little bit. We realize that he's going to come back in four days and have to pitch again. So we're aware of that, too. But he won't throw 150 if that's what you're thinking, no, that's more than he's going to throw.
Q. Matt has never lacked for confidence or boldness. Now that he's put together this season, the Postseason success, maybe more in this next round, how much more respect does he have in the clubhouse, how much better does that play, now that he has that on his resume?
TERRY COLLINS: I think it helps everybody. And again, we all salute Matt. Again, I think he was put in a real tough situation a while ago. I don't know if it was handled perhaps the right way, but I know this guy well enough to know he wants the baseball.
I think his conversations with David and some of the other veterans, he realized the only way he's going to be that person he wants to be is to be out in the middle of that field. So he took the baseball back, he said, Give me the ball.
So I salute that. I salute the fact that certainly we all realize anytime you're out on the baseball field something freaky could happen and your career could come to an end.
But it's about the competition side and being out there with your teammates, and he wants to do that. So I'm not shocked by it. And I'm thrilled that he said, Give me the baseball, because he's going to get it.
Q. So much talk about the Royals success against guys that throw hard, 95-plus. But how well equipped do you feel like your starters are based on the type of secondary stuff they have and command of it that they have?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, we have to be. Because we went into the Cubs series saying exactly the same thing. These guys are very good fastball hitters. We've got to change speeds and continue to pound the strike zone, but we can't continue running 97 mile an hour fastballs, they'll eventually going to get to them.
I thought our guys did a great job of mixing things up. I thought Travis did an outstanding job of staying with the game plan we had, maybe during some tough innings, where there were some situations pitch count-wise, where he had to get away from the fastballs, and they did, and still managed to throw some strikes and get some outs.
We've got to continue to do that, because that's pitching. I don't care how hard you throw, you've got to mix them up a bit.
Q. What do you think you'll do with the DH situation in the next couple of days?
TERRY COLLINS: Kelly is going to DH tomorrow. We'll worry about Wednesday when it comes.
Q. You guys haven't had to play from behind very often in this Postseason. If you do find yourself behind how much of a challenge is that Royals bullpen, given the arms they throw out there?
TERRY COLLINS: Huge challenge. Huge challenge. I mean, if you watch, which we did, they make the game short. They get the lead after 6 you're in trouble. So we certainly are aware of that. And so we don't plan on being behind in the 6th. So we can try to stay away from those situations if we can.
Q. Does Granderson have anything wrong with his thumb. There was a picture from the team Twitter account with a little wrap on it.
TERRY COLLINS: Cellphone cameras, can't live with them, can't live without them. (Laughter.)
He jammed his thumb in Chicago on a slide. As precaution goes, he played the next day, he was fine, he's taken batting practice, he's fine. To relieve all -- you put him in a little protective wrap that -- it's not a sling. He's going to play, he's in there.
Yeah, he had jammed his thumb. Now that it's out, let's keep -- anything else you want the rest of the League to know about us, just let us know.
Q. You talk about Matt and the Tommy John surgery. But three of your four starters have had Tommy John surgery. What has that challenge been for you watching their pitch counts and how much has that surgery changed in the last 45 years, or whenever it started?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, it's changed the game. I was fortunate to be with the Los Angeles Dodgers when Tommy John had the surgery. And I watched what he had to go through to come back for it.
So certainly it has changed the fact when pitchers' elbows go bad, there's still a bright future ahead. It's about strength, and I'm not going to get into the medical side of it, I know there's good ones and bad ones. There's no shelf life, as we saw with one of our pitchers last year, who was looking great and tore it again, and had to have another one. So there is that.
But I think you do the best you can, because there is no way to know if it's going to come. When I was the Minor League director of the Dodgers, we had a seminar with Dr. Jobe, who did the surgery, and tried to figure out the best way to keep your pitchers healthy. And after three days he stood up at the end, and he said, I know this: No matter how hard you try, if they're going to break, they're going to break.
So we have tried to manage the throwing programs, the strength training programs, the pitch counts, the innings counts, and when they're going to go, they're going to go. The point is you've got to find guys who want to compete, and I think we have those guys.
Q. How satisfied have you been all season with your pitching staff's ability to hold runners, given that they've got some guys that can steal bases over there? Or is that something that needs to be emphasized during this period before the game?
TERRY COLLINS: It's going to be emphasized today. We're going to have a meeting today to get ready, and it's going to be emphasized. They have guys that can run, but they have two guys on that bench, when they come in, they are running.
We've got to do a much better job of changing speeds to the plate, changing our moves to first base, giving them a little something to think about. But the best way to do it is keep them off the base, so that's going to be our biggest challenge.
Q. I know Juan Lagares hasn't faced pitching, was that the alternative to have Kelly Johnson as DH to use Juan in the outfield and maybe DH one of the outfielders, but they play strongly enough in the outfield that you dismissed that?
TERRY COLLINS: We looked at all the possibilities. And if Cueto was starting, we were looking at perhaps somebody else, because his numbers against lefties are pretty good. We thought tomorrow night that Kelly gave us our best opportunity and if we need to make changes, we will.
But yeah, we're pretty happy with our outfield defense. This is a big park, like ours. I think Yoenis has shown that he can play centerfield. And if we need to make moves, we'll make moves later in the game.
Q. Wondering, your bridge to Familia has been shaky this Postseason. Have you figured out a way you want to get to him this series?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, I guess I don't know, shaky. I think they've done pretty well. At the end of the season, I know we had worn Clippard out enough, but I thought the last few games that Addison's pitched very good, Jon Niese gave us a big out, Clippard has given some big outs, Bartolo has been tremendous.
I think when you talk about the bridge, again, the ideal situation is tomorrow night to have Matt hand the ball to Familia. If we can do that we're in good shape. But if not, I have all the confidence in the world that anybody who steps in there is going to get the people out we need to have out.
I think our matchups and guys when they've had some rest pitched very well in the bullpen. As we get into the Postseason, we've asked our bullpen to change some roles sometimes. But for the most part I'm not worried about what should happen, because I think we can shorten the game as good as anybody.
We just have to wait to see where we are in the seventh and eighth innings.