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10/05/05 7:12 PM ET

La Russa's workout day transcript

QUESTION: Is this the kind of game that you got Mark Mulder for? Is that why you went out and got him in the off season?

TONY LA RUSSA: Well, one of them because you don't get here unless he steps up during the season and pitches a lot of games like the one he's going to be confronted with tomorrow, but you know, you don't win many games in a year, you don't get to October. To win you need to pitch, so -- first -- the first responsibility goes to Mark.

QUESTION: Tony, talk about the differences between a five-game series and a seven-game series in terms of preparation and how you have to prepare for different types of series and how momentum changes.

TONY LA RUSSA: I mean, I think realistically that the two less games, winning three versus winning four, losing three versus losing four, there's something there, you know. If you're in a good position, you want to end it quickly. If you're not, you want to string it out as long as you can, but technically there isn't a whole lot of difference. I mean, the way you play seven is, you know, one game at a time stuff. You're going to play home and road. You know, one of the factors when you win the division is you get the day off, you know. That is not like you play during the season so there's a little adjustment for that, but it's just very intense and very much each inning and each at bat, each pitch. You multiply that times three wins and five losses, hopefully.

QUESTION: Tony as a manager you've seen just about everything in this game, I'm sure. How surprised are you that Peavy tried to pitch during the game yesterday?

TONY LA RUSSA: You know, I had a real positive experience meeting him at the All-Star game, but I also talked to Bruce over the years. That's exactly what you would expect from him. I mean, he's not just a great young pitcher, he's just a great pitcher or he wouldn't have had a year like he had this year. I read what he said where he had, you know, a good bullpen. It looked like he was throwing the ball good. It's possible when he stubbed his toe and tripped he might have tweaked it. I don't know what he said, but it's possible his control might have not been the same. He'll take this experience away the whole rest of his life. If he hadn't tripped, he probably would have been a very typical game for him.

QUESTION: Tony, what's the strongest impression Mulder made on you when he pitched this year?

TONY LA RUSSA: A bunch of them. He's got the ability to get outs and get deep in the game. He wasn't too -- in fact, he wasn't at all affected or different if it was a home game, a road game. You know, who we were playing, you know, we saw him in a tough matchup against winning clubs and so forth, but he's got a good assortment. He's a good athlete. There's a whole bunch of things that are part of the package.

QUESTION: What do you make of the day-night difference in Mulder's season?

TONY LA RUSSA: I just -- every year you can play around with stats. That's why they're fun to look at. I mean, his day record was good in Oakland. I think it's just one of those things that happens. Sometimes you put together maybe you win more on the road, at home, day or night. He'll be ready to pitch tomorrow. If it's kind of between day and night, we're in good shape.

QUESTION: What do you make of his last few starts. Is that kind of the malaise that Carpenter went through?

TONY LA RUSSA: I think about every one of our starters had a couple games where they looked different than they did the first five plus months. The concentration wasn't quite as -- the comment that I made, I wasn't being -- trying to make a joke. I don't think they're selfish enough. When they weren't out there for themselves, they're getting ready for this time, so I expect them to pitch well.

QUESTION: Tony, Jake Peavy just told us in hindsight that maybe he hurt the team by trying to pitch. That was his words. As a manager, how much do you expect your players to disclose how truly hurt they are and is that a little bit of a dilemma for a manager for a guy like him that wants to play so badly?

TONY LA RUSSA: That's really a tough call, you know. It's one of those deals, I mean, the question I'd ask is the one I asked before. When he caught his spike and stumbled, did that make it worse for him because if he hadn't, he was pitching really well. You know, we did a good job of fighting him with two strikes and a ball down the first baseline and a blooper to left, but I think the club looks to their big pitchers and big players to go to the post. I think if he had backed out of there, I think the club would have lost an edge. Now, one of the things they have going for them, if he couldn't have gone and that's why, you know, we're not sitting and thinking anything special good has happened for us is they -- you know, they've got a young talented arm like Eaton. The next two guys that pitch, Astacio and Woody, you know, those guys are very good veteran pitchers, pitch makers, so they've got Lawrence. They've got a lot of starters left to give us all kind of problems, but overall, I mean, if he was eally not himself, he probably should say something. If he got a shot at it, I think the club expects him to go out there.

QUESTION: Tony, heading into the spring or into the season, were you concerned at all about your outfielders age, just the collective wear and tear they've taken over the year and how they have kind of withstood it all year?

TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I think you worry if there aren't options that you can spot in and out. We felt really good. We ad So Taguchi, we had John Mabry. Later on we had a guy like John Rodriguez, Hector Luna, so we felt all we had to do was talk to those guys on a series-to-series basis and we could keep them fresh. What happened is they got hurt, and then it was academic, but no. I mean, when guys are -- even though they've got some age, they're all fiercely competitive. You just kind of watch them physically, you're going to get a lot.

QUESTION: Tony, what are your impressions of Bruce Bochy over the years and how he's dealt with good teams and teams that weren't as good and just his general managerial style?

TONY LA RUSSA: Well, my opinion is one that's shared by I guarantee everybody in the National League and the American League that's ever run across him, that nobody does a better job, and I say that because, you know, he's had a whole bunch of different situations, a bunch of pluses, a bunch of adversities. I don't think it's any accident. I know he's had a great, great closer in Trevor Hoffman, but he's been able to maneuver the bullpen to where he gets those last outs. Their save record is incredible over the years. I think he's got a special feel for handling the bullpen. He's always been really creative in manufacturing runs. I've talked to a lot of guys about him. I think personality is a big thing with managers, you know. Players trust you, you know. You don't wear them out, and it's one of the reasons that longevity is there. Players like playing for him, and it's not because he lets them do anything they want to. I think he's very good.

QUESTION: Tony, how would you define good chemistry and as you look back over your career, have you had teams that were very successful who maybe didn't have as good a chemistry as some others?

TONY LA RUSSA: I think there's only one club all the years I managed that ended up winning that the chemistry developed late. The rest of them got it going early, and it was a huge asset. I've also been on ball clubs that didn't finish first that chemistry was really good, and it helped us win the games we should win, so once in a while you'll hear a fan or an expert say it's one of those buzz things, but these guys spend more time together than they do with their families for seven and a half, eight months. If you don't think that enjoying your company or respecting the guys you're with are important, I mean, I disagree with you, so we pay a lot of attention to chemistry, and there's little things you can do to make sure it doesn't get away from you.

QUESTION: Tony, if you could talk a little bit about JiM Edmonds. You've seen him. You've had him for several years and seen the kind of things he can do at the plate and in the field. Yesterday with the home run that really didn't look like it was a home run, how do you quantify what he does after all these years and his value to the team in a situation like that?

TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I mean, Jim Edmonds is a great player, and the way I think a lot of people define great is especially in times where, you know, the focus is on, the pressure is there or whatever, Jim will rise to the occasion, but he also -- had some outstanding regular season years for us, so he grinds it out with the best of them. It's just that he gets banged up, and you know, I think he runs a lot on emotion. Once in a while, you know, his tank gets a little light, and he feels like he can play and help a game defensively. Look at Scott Rolen. Scott Rolen will not feel good at the plate because he feels he can win a game defensively. People see the at bats and say Jim is not quite himself where he's either physically or mentally fried, but he's a great player. He's had a great career in St. Louis, and his teammates enjoy him which I know maybe in California when he came out when he was younger, I'm not sure, you know, how that all came together, but he's been a great teammate here.

QUESTION: Tony, playing off the Pujols play at first base yesterday, do you see any room for instant replay or anything like that in baseball?

TONY LA RUSSA: That's a good question. I mean, I think you can make an argument and who's to say if somebody really thought about how you would carefully use it, maybe there's something there, but generally I think no, it's not necessary. The umpires get most of the calls right. One thing that we were taught and we do it, I think, really well. We don't play the umpires. We play the other side, and if they get a bunch of calls right -- if they get a call that you disagree with, whether they're right or you're wrong, you turn the page. I thought yesterday was a key miss, but what did Chris do? He went out and pitched and our defense played, so maybe there's something that you get in the post season because of mistakes, if there's something in the last three innings that decides a game, I don't know, maybe somebody would call something like that, but overall, you know, they get the great, great majority of them right. If it goes wrong, it's like a bad hopper, the wind is blowing in.

QUESTION: Tony, are you ready to talk about a game 4 start or are you going to wait and see how things unfold here?

TONY LA RUSSA: No. If I talk about game 4 right now and I walk in that clubhouse, I'd be assaulted by the guys. It would be hypocritical, and that's not how we're approaching this thing. It's not time to talk about 4.

QUESTION: On the decision with Reggie Sanders swinging on 3-0 yesterday, where does that decision come from and was it influenced at all by Peavy maybe not looking like Peavy?

TONY LA RUSSA: You know, what managers do is they make choices, they make calls, they make decisions. That's how you contribute. In the range of decisions, that isn't even close to a tough call. I mean, that was so easy. You've got a run producer, bases loaded, against almost everybody, but especially against a guy like Peavy. You give him strike 1, if he throws the ball down the middle, that may be the last good pitch you see. The next one might be something nasty, and now you're fighting. With the guys we have on this club, we give a 3-0 sign to hit a lot, but what happens is some guys -- I mean, it happened yesterday. A couple times a guy took it because individuals -- some guys get spooked by 3-0. Reggie is one of the guys that knows how to handle it. It wasn't even a tough call.

QUESTION: In the wake of what happened to Peavy, do you think Major League Baseball should do anything about the scrums they have on the field. Eckstein almost got hurt earlier this season when he got a grand slam and got mobbed. Should you say no more of that stuff?

TONY LA RUSSA: I think if you ask Peavy would he rather be healthy right now or watching the game on TV or pitching a division championship -- you take the risk. It's just a freak thing that happens. That's all it is. It's just a freak thing. Didn't Donovan Osborn cut his hand reaching into the champagne thing? I think it's just -- it's a shame for anybody, but like I said, he's special, and I would rather have to deal with him again if we had to face him than him being out of the series.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.