10/16/05 4:34 PM ET
Tony La Russa pregame interview
Cardinals manager talks about dealing with injuries
By / MLB.com
TONY La RUSSA: David and Jim in center, Albert, Larry, Reggie in left, Mabry at third, Molina catching and Grudzielanek is hitting eighth.
Just to follow up, how is Abe Nunez? Is it just that you want to play Mabs (Mabry)?
La RUSSA: Well, it's just a good situation where we have Mabry who can play third, ready to go. As the day has gone on, Abe has felt better. You know he's having trouble walking, when he stood up this morning, and now he's been exercising and we're going to go out on the field and see how much he moves and see whether he's available later or not.
Just to clarify, is Mabry definitely starting or is there a possibility?
La RUSSA: He is in the lineup hitting sixth.
Nunez is feeling better?
La RUSSA: So he's going to work out to see if he can play later if we need him.
La RUSSA: He's hitting fifth and playing left field. He gave me a thumbs up. I said, how we doing, boys, and he went thumbs up. I didn't want to ask anymore. So he's in there.
What kind of tests did Reggie have to pass to make it into the lineup?
La RUSSA: Well, he's been getting his treatment and it's another day, 24 hours later. Like I say, when I walked in, he had been getting treatment and he gave me a thumbs up, so I didn't push it.
What do you think about all of these injuries? It seems like it's the regular season all over again for you.
La RUSSA: Well, I think that's just the game. I mean, you can't play away from injuries. If you do, you won't have a chance to win. Just some things are freak plays and you don't hurt your legs unless you're on base, so different things happen.
But we're deep enough to cover.
You talk about things being fair, what's your assessment of how Larry is swinging the bat, I know he hit the ball hard a couple of times yesterday and got the fly ball, him and Grudzielanek; can you just assess how they are at the plate right now?
La RUSSA: Well, I was encouraged yesterday with Larry. I thought he had some good patience, he laid off some pitches and the ball was in the strike zone, he put good swings on it. He bit that bullet up the middle, so, yeah, that's a good sign. Hopefully do more of the same today.
Mark, he's just in one of those classic funks. He's trying to be aggressive and the ball is out of the zone and then he tries to be patient and he can throw the ball down the middle. So you move him to eighth, and I think he's going to create some problems for them there because he's had hits off of Backe and he sits in front of the pitcher, you know, deepens our lineup. So it's a little change of scenery for him.
Overall for your lineup, the struggles so far in this series, do you attribute that more to you guys not doing things that you should be doing or more to the three guys you've faced so far on their staff?
La RUSSA: I think it's been true for 100 years, good pitching stops good hitting. If you don't have anything to hit at, you're not going to make consistent, hard contact.
Once in awhile, we could have done a little more, like taken pitches to hit or chased the ones we shouldn't, but overall it's been good pitching. I mean, that's just the story of post season. I'm watching whether it was Atlanta against this club or us against San Diego, whichever one you take, or you take what the White Sox have gone to Guerrero and Garret Anderson, if you pitch really well, it's tough, but it can change in one game. Today our offense could get cranking and that's the beauty of the game. Yesterday Lane was hitless. But that's just the name of the game and you keep playing.
We had a pain o meter going for Reggie the past couple of days, where would you say it was today?
La RUSSA: Like I said, I didn't ask. When I got the thumbs up, I said, okay, and I walked out so, I don't know.
We asked Andy about the pluses and minuses about facing your club after having seen them a few days ago and he said he can't get any read from what he did in his game because he was terrible. How do you view that?
La RUSSA: Well, when you're outstanding, terrible just means you're really good, you know what I mean. I did not know when the game was on that he had got hit in the knee. I think there's a real good chance that that had some effect on how he was able to deliver and I understand location was a problem. And he's feeling better now.
This guy is high quality. He'll be tough to deal with tomorrow. And we have Chris going. We can go out and win today and get even, it will be an interesting series again. So let's take care of today first. But we know Andy Pettitte is either really, really good or just real good.
I know you're not looking past today but there's got to be a confidence level in your room given that Carp is going to have the ball tomorrow.
La RUSSA: Well, what we can't do is look to tomorrow. So we're not I mean, I mentioned it and I'm sure our guys know he's pitching tomorrow but this is all about today. We win today, this series is even, and we're good enough to win a game, and today is the day, the game that we have to win.
Just on Carp, would you say he's back to vintage Carp in his two post season starts after that lull in September?
La RUSSA: Yeah, I think physically he feels good and I think the pressure of the post season has got his concentration back to where it was a great, great majority of the season.
One thing, it will be interesting to see if it's reported that I complimented Wally Bell on an outstanding game, because all I said yesterday was, if he gives him the inches we're in trouble, and he didn't. He had a consistent strike zone for both pitchers the whole game, and I hope that gets reported that he was outstanding.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.