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Pregame interview with Lou Piniella

Pregame interview with Lou Piniella

Will you talk about the decision to put Pie on the roster as you finalize that?

LOU PINIELLA: Well, he gives us versatility; he can pinch run, we can double switch with him, and he can steal a base. So we went with that agenda as opposed to the bat with power.

I'm just wondering if you think you've changed at all over the years, the manager you are now versus what you were earlier?

LOU PINIELLA: As you get older you mellow, and I've mellowed quite a bit. I'm still competitive. But yeah.

Has that helped you?

LOU PINIELLA: I think it's helped, I really do. I do the best I can every day. I come as prepared as I can be, let my players have fun and let them play.

But yeah, I have mellowed a lot. I don't go out and argue too much. I let the players play; that's it.

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Zambrano since his no hitter has had two less than Zambrano like innings. Can you explain why, and can you explain why you decided not to give him three or four innings on Sunday?

LOU PINIELLA: He didn't want to pitch on Sunday. He was going to pitch a couple innings, and he thought it was best if he could get a little flat ground work and get an extra throw day in the bullpen as opposed to pitching the two innings. I let him make that decision.

As far as why, I don't really have any idea. I do know this: That when you take a trip to Venezuela and you have a return trip the next day, and you're in the air for 15 hours, your legs can get sort of dead, and to me that's a pretty good explanation for what happened.

Unfortunately for us, we couldn't change our schedule because we already had changed it because of the hurricane, and we couldn't readjust. So he had to pitch that day. And I think his legs were pretty dead. That's an explanation. I'm not exactly sure, but that's just an explanation that I have.

Do you think the weather will affect this series here at all at home?

LOU PINIELLA: Well, the wind was blowing in pretty well. The pitchers have to throw strikes. It's going to be hard to hit the ball out of the ballpark. So I would say yes. Chances of scoring runs here are obviously much greater when there's no wind or when the wind is blowing slightly out. We're going to have to play good -- both teams are going to have to play good defense, and you're going to have to stay away from the walks. Walks can hurt you in this type of environment, a heck of a lot.

Your starting lineup and DeRosa and your right field situation?

LOU PINIELLA: We went with our good defense in the outfield. I'm hoping with Fukudome swings the bat well, I think he's certainly very capable of it. The fact that DeRosa also had that little strain in the calf, second base is a little easier for him. But the big thing here is putting the good defense on the field, and Fukudome to me is as good a right fielder as there is in the league, and at the same time he's very capable of swinging the bat. We've given him a good rest, and he should be ready to go.

Does this raise the contingency of what you call occurrences, something strange happening?

LOU PINIELLA: No, I don't really believe in that. I kid around with our media about that from time to time, but I don't you've got to go out and play on the field. If you pitch well and play good defense and get some timely hitting, you're going to be in pretty good shape, and that's for both teams. I kid around with them sometimes, but I don't really believe it.

How much did the weather affect you putting your defensive squad out there today?

LOU PINIELLA: We would have probably done the same, same thing. This is the lineup that we would have played. The only decision that I had to have that I vacillated a little bit on, Fontenot has been swinging the bat really well here towards the end of the season. But look, this is basically the alignment that's got us here for the good portion of the summer, and we're going with it.

We'll make some adjustments if we have to a game or two down the road. Hopefully we won't have to. The wind? It's hard. It's hard to hit the ball out of here with the flag blowing in the way it is. The wind knocks that ball down. And you've got to have good outfield play. It's very important. You know, you can make an error in the infield, it's one base. If you miss one in the outfield, it's two or three bases.

I like the idea of good defense and good pitching in this type of environment.

Ever since Manny Ramirez broke into the league you've had to pitch and defend against him. If you don't stop him, how do you slow him down?

LOU PINIELLA: He's really a good hitter. He studies hitting. He's very talented. Our scouts that watched the Dodgers for a month asked us, how do you want to pitch him? They said that jokingly, but he's been hitting. He drove in 28 runs in September, hit .400.

Look, we're going to have to probably stay away from this young man late in the game and make somebody else do it. I think that's probably our best approach in that manner.

Do you get a different feeling going into this year's series than you did this time last year?

LOU PINIELLA: I had the same feeling last year. I feel good about our baseball team. We've got to play on the field. I mean, last year we didn't do it. We had a very, very hard time scoring runs, and we got beat. Hopefully we won't be that way this year. We've got to score some runs and we've got to give our pitchers some runs to work with.

Look, we're going to do the best we can. I feel confident that we will, but again, it's done on the field. It's not done at the microphone.

Which ring are you wearing?

LOU PINIELLA: I'm wearing the '77 ring. I've always worn that. It's the first one. Yeah.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports
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