Girardi meets the media before ALDS Game 1
A transcript of Joe Girardi’s pregame media session at Yankee Stadium this afternoon, courtesy of ASAPSports.com:
Q. Joe, what do you guys know about Fister? The last time you guys played them, he wasn’t even on the team. He was with Seattle.
JOE GIRARDI: We saw him with Seattle. We have faced him. He pitched a very good game against us here when we were here. We saw him last year. So our guys are aware of what he’s got.
Q. Joe, does the success that Coke has had in Detroit surprise you at all given what he did here for you guys?
JOE GIRARDI: No, not one bit. We liked him. We knew that we were going to have to give up a good player to get a Curtis Granderson. But I liked what he did. I liked what he did out of the bullpen for us. He was a guy that I thought bounced back the next day real well when he threw one day. He wasn’t a guy where you saw the stuff dropped off. He was a rookie basically in 2009. He came up and did a nice job for us.
Q. Joe, what does a guy like A.J. have to do to adjust to his role now?
JOE GIRARDI: The biggest thing is how long it takes him to get ready. You don’t have a scheduled 25 minutes or 30 minutes. A lot of that falls on me to give him an idea, this is when I’m going to use you. You need to get up and you have to make sure to get ready. That’s the biggest adjustment. That’s why we wanted him to come out of the bullpen the one time in Tampa.
Q. I’m wondering for a guy like Swisher, who has talked about how in the postseason he tends to get excited and needs to relax. With the games taking on an even greater urgency because it’s the postseason, how do you get somebody like him to relax?
JOE GIRARDI: We’ve talked about it. And I think going through it a couple of times I think has helped him. My hope we see a different Swish. I thought his at-bats when we got to Tampa really quieted down. Him and Kevin Long worked on that, to try to take some of the movement out in the swing. And you hope it just starts today, that he doesn’t get too hyped up. That’s one of the biggest things that you have to guard against in this postseason, because you think about all the teams, they were so evenly matched. A lot of times it’s the teams that don’t try to do too much that end up winning the whole thing.
Q. Somewhat along those lines, I think Mark Teixeira said yesterday he’s feeling so much better right now than he was last year at this point. Do you see that difference in him at the plate and in the field?
JOE GIRARDI: I do. Physically last year he was a mess. Just a real mess. That was why I chose some days — when I gave him a day off, I gave him a complete day off. You can go back to some of the games like the game in Toronto, I was giving him the whole day off. Physically I just felt that he needed it. I didn’t bring him in the games when I gave him a day off.
Sometimes that’s hard, but sometimes as the manager we’re looking at the bigger prize. The prize is the end of October. I do think he feels a lot better. Last year he had the broken toe, the bad hand. He ended up ripping his hamstring up. He had the bad knee as well in a sense. So I think those three things really took its toll on him.
Q. Joe, being a major league manager, it’s such a small fraternity, are you surprised about some of the reports coming out of Boston, it might be the end of Francona? In the big picture is it a reminder what the job can be about at times?
JOE GIRARDI: These jobs are precious, there’s no doubt about it. There’s expectations. A lot of times they’re extremely high expectations when you’re in certain towns. We understand that when we take the job. High expectations are better than no expectations. You do enjoy it and you enjoy your time when you’re there. Tito has done a great job there. I’m not sure what’s going to happen, but I know he’s done a great job.
Q. Joe, talk about Phil Hughes for a minute. Do you envision using him in a long-man role or as a bridge to your seventh, eighth and ninth inning guys?
JOE GIRARDI: I think I can do either just because he is built up, but he is used to pitching short. In ’09 he did it for us. I wouldn’t hesitate to do that.
Q. Joe, could you talk about your decision a couple of days ago to flip-flop Teixeira and Cano. And your estimation of Cano and how important he is in this series to you.
JOE GIRARDI: All our guys are important. You can’t put too much pressure on one guy. As a player, that’s what we talk about, just do what you’re supposed to do, what you can do. They’re going to pitch around you, they’re going to pitch around you. Don’t go out of your zone, don’t try to do too much.
But we decided to do it because of the year that Robbie has had. The question was, we’ll put in the two left-handers together. I’m not really worried about that with our two left-handers right now. Granderson hit more home runs off left-handed pitching than anyone. Robbie’s numbers are the same left-handed or right-handed. I don’t really worry about that. With the year he’s had, we decided to move him up.
Q. Joe, obviously Nova’s numbers show he deserves it, but how much did his perceived confidence and demeanor play into you in deciding he would be your No. 2 guy behind CC in the playoffs?
JOE GIRARDI: It all plays into it. The year he’s had. His ability to pitch when he got in trouble this year, he did a much better job than he did last year managing innings. That’s important especially in these types of games. You can’t let one thing go wrong and then lose everything. You’re going to go through some adversity. If you play long enough in the playoffs, you’re going to go through some adversity. I think the way he handled it played an important role.
Q. In two trips to this round, you haven’t lost in your two times. But in a five-game series do you ever feel comfortable until it’s wrapped up?
JOE GIRARDI: I’m not so sure you ever feel comfortable in any series until it’s wrapped up, whether it’s five or seven. Obviously there’s more of a sense of urgency when there’s five just because it’s shorter and when you lose a game, it means more, in a sense. But I don’t think you ever feel comfortable until you win a series.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.