Any time you go up against Beckett, he's such a good starting pitcher, that you know it's going to be a dog fight, and you know that runs are pretty precious.
As far as building it up, that's one of the things that I think I do well is just keeping even keel and just go about my business and stay to my game plan and work towards my strengths.
First question is how much will those September games be of benefit to you going into the environment here tomorrow?
It should help me a lot. You know, build up my confidence a little bit, knowing that I can come in here and do well against the Sox here and Tropicana Field. So I know in my mind that it can be done. I think it was pretty essential for my confidence.
Since you're such a man of many words, can you describe Joe Maddon for us from your perspective?
From my perspective? (Smiling) Well, he's one of the most intelligent managers I've ever had.
I was a little worried last year about him being so positive. It was a rough year, and he stuck with it and kept our heads up, even though it was a real rough season.
He stayed the same this year. Positivity kind of ran through the clubhouse, and he's a very infectious person. Like he wants you to do well, and he gives you confidence. You can tell when he goes out and talks to J. P. Howell that it helps him out a lot, too.
How inspiring has what Rocco has gone through been for you personally and been for the team in general?
It's amazing. You know, something, an issue like that, it's completely out of his control. I've had talks with him and Ruggiano in spring training when he was thinking about stepping away from the game, and that was a pretty tough time for him. You know, he did everything he could to see as many doctors as he could and try to figure this situation out.
When I saw him come out and play in Safeco, it was awesome. It was like watching a son go out and play, everything he's been through and dealt with. It's just amazing. It speaks a lot about his character to just get through it and persevere and get back to playing.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports.