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Pregame interview with Eric Wedge

Pregame interview with Eric Wedge

Peralta, Hafner, Sizemore, playoff rookies for you have done well. Did you tell them anything? Did you tell them anything about the postseason or how are they adjusting? Just your overall reaction?

ERIC WEDGE: I think they've done a good job, I agree. I think they've handled things very well. The only message we've really conveyed is just keep going. Keep doing what you've been doing. Keep taking it day by day, and just play your game. When it comes to our preparation and what we're working to do, it's all about us. It's about what each individual needs to do to help us win today. And it's about each area of our club. Then the 25 collectively. So I think that when you talk about how we play and what we need to do, it's just to keep going. And they've done a good job with that.

Is that easier said than done?
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ERIC WEDGE: It is easier said than done, especially when you're talking about a bunch of young men that are in the playoffs for the first time. That's I feel like they've handled things well. If you can come here and handle this atmosphere here, and to be able to do that with most of these guys, it is their first road playoff game last night, to be able to do that in this environment here, I think that that says a lot about the strength and the confidence that our guys play with.

I know you answered this a little bit yesterday, but how seriously did you consider pitching Sabathia on short rest and what were the pros and cons, kind of?

ERIC WEDGE: Well, we didn't consider it. We said coming in Paul Byrd was our fourth starter, and he is. And we knew if we started on Thursday, we were going to need four starters, and that's the way it's played out. Paul won 15 games for us. He has playoff experience. We wouldn't be here without him. And we feel strong about him.

I think common sense has to come into play at some point in time just in regard with C.C. I mean, he threw 114 pitches in five innings. Arguably worked as hard as he's worked all year. And he's pushing 250 innings for the year. So the workload's there and it's been great. It's handling great. And one thing we'll never do, I don't give a damn what the situation is, we're not going to put our players in harm's way. We're not going to put them in a position for something like that to happen.

The only way we would have even considered it for some reason, he had a very short outing, and didn't throw very many pitches the first game. Paul Byrd's our guy.

You pair up Shoppach with Byrd, did you consider, because it affects other spots in the lineup, did you consider going away from that?

ERIC WEDGE: No, we've never considered that. Because there's nothing more important than your starting pitcher. And they've been together all year. It's a relationship that we put them together early on, and they had some success. Like any other relationship, I mean, you stick with it if it works. And that's what we've done.

So they've been together all year, and they're together tonight.

Could you speak to how that changes your defense with Martinez?

ERIC WEDGE: Well, Victor's a good first baseman. Very good first baseman. Very comfortable. Enjoys being out there. Part of our thought process earlier this year was, one, get Shoppach behind the plate a little more often, and two, get Victor out from behind the plate and still keep him in the lineup, and we've been able to do that at first base quite a bit.

So the flip side is that Garko's not in there. But he'll be available for us, you know, if and when we need him.

What does it say about today's perhaps sports environment or just the job of being a manager that somebody with Joe Torre's accomplishments may be managing for his job in this series?

ERIC WEDGE: I think it comes with the territory, but I don't agree with it.
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You know how I feel about Joe Torre. I've got nothing but the greatest respect for the man, both on and off the field. He's a legend in the game and he's done, obviously, a terrific job here in New York and accomplished great things. But that comes with the environment that he's in.

But I think everybody knows how I feel about Joe Torre, and I think 99% of the people feel the same way.

I realize, Eric, you don't make the rules, but is there something unfair about the Yankees having a tired bullpen, and now being able to add a fresh arm to it tonight?

ERIC WEDGE: Well, that's the rule, you know, and they're taking advantage of it. But I'm sure we would probably do the same thing if we were in that situation. So that's just the way it plays out. I don't have any ill will towards that. It's part of it.

Last night on that play where Martinez fields it and goes to third, is that a play you guys work on? Or was that his decision on that play?

ERIC WEDGE: No, that was his decision. I just think he got a little bit greedy right there. He probably should have taken the out at first base. But he was trying to make a play. It was going to take some athleticism on his part and Casey's part, and it was going to be a bang bang play. If you're looking at risk reward right there, probably best way to go is to take the out at first base there.

I know you mentioned why you couldn't go with Sabathia, but is there something you like about Paul in this atmosphere?

ERIC WEDGE: Well, I do: I like his toughness. I like the experience that he has. You know, he's been in this atmosphere before. He's been in this situation before. He's a great competitor. I've just got so much respect for the game, and so much respect for our players. I look forward to seeing how it plays out.

With your rotation set up the way that it is, what is your availability or possibility of using Carmona then, tonight possibly or backing up C.C. in Game 5?

ERIC WEDGE: You know, if we get to Game 5, he'll definitely be available for us, talking about Fausto. Obviously, C.C. will start that game. But in regard tonight, I don't see him as being a possibility.

Talk about your bullpen for a second. What was the philosophy of how you ended up, it evolved during the year, obviously, but just the success you've had. Is it the pitchers, great managing, what?

ERIC WEDGE: Not the latter (laughing).

Well, it starts with Joe Borowski. He's the guy, he's the anchor, as I feel like a closer needs to be. But we've had some young players that have really stepped up. Betancourt's had a great year. I think he's had as good a year as any set up guy can have, and that's from day one. So you look at Borowski and Betancourt, and then the young kids. Perez has done a great job for us. Jensen Lewis has come up and done a great job for us. Those have been the primary go to guys. It has evolved.

We've used the Mastneys and the Foulkes throughout the course of the year. But it's really been Borowski and Perez, and Betancourt, and you know, Jensen Lewis has really come on here at the end to serve in a more prominent role in our bullpen.

It's a credit to those young people in our system, the development system. But it's also a credit to the veteran players how they've been able to accept them and work them into being a vital part of this ballclub.

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

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