Joe Torre, Gio Gonzalez interview March 11

Q. Gio, what's it like to be in your hometown in this kind of situation, playing for your country?

GIO GONZALEZ: Well, to think about it, a small town kid from Hialea, Florida, pitching for Miami and representing Team USA, that says it all. It's a kid's dream. I grew up watching this man right here leading the Yankees to the World Series, and now to be a part of it and actually be playing for him, don't pinch me, I don't want to wake up.

Q. Gio, what was it like this weekend being with your team watching what was going on in Phoenix and how tight the whole pool was out there?

GIO GONZALEZ: I kept telling Cat, I'm going to Miami, I'm going to Miami. I don't care what you tell me, I know that Team USA is going to pull this and they're going to go get this win and get me down to Miami to play. In fact, I was so confident that they were going to go out there and win yesterday that after my bullpen I took a trip down to Miami and I was ready to go.

Q. So you watched the game from

GIO GONZALEZ: I watched every single one of them.

Q. Yesterday you watched from here?

GIO GONZALEZ: Yeah, I was in Flanagan's in Hialea watching this game, and I was just going nuts just having some chicken wings and some water. Other than that, I was ready to go. I was ready to watch these guys compete and play at the top of their performance. When Hosmer came up with the big hit clearing the bases, that was it. That's a big deal for me.

Q. When you read the mood of your team do you think that getting past that first round might allow guys to relax a little bit and maybe play a little bit looser this round?

JOE TORRE: Well, I thought we played loose. The first night, maybe not, but once Canada beat México, all of a sudden our destiny was in our hands. I sensed a real lift with this ballclub, feeling, yeah, just have to win two games in a row. I know it's two out of three, but still, it's an opportunity where we can go out and play. So I thought we may have been pressing because I know I was nervous the first game, and I think it was really based on watching everybody else play, and we haven't played a game yet, and I think it was a lot of anxiety that first game.

Q.I know when you're managing the Yankees, the whole goal is to win as long as everybody is healthy. In this case it may be difficult to quantify it, but how much of it here when you manage are you considering your desire to have guys participate, the need to adhere to the team's wishes and maybe also the calendar, because I'm thinking, I know you guys are very impressed by a Cishek, but some people would have thought if this was Game 7 of the World Series, you go right to your closer there, or also for the there was a point where I think you brought in a right hander to face some lefties, so I'm wondering how much of those outside considerations

JOE TORRE:I mean, that's a good question. A huge part of it. I made a commitment, actually when I was asked to do this and I knew just from being a manager what the feeling was when players left me. And then some of the stories that came back after '06 and '09. So the one thing I wanted to do was have the managers and the general managers be on board, and the only way I could do that is to tell them I'd take care of their players. But yes, they were again, we have to keep in mind, it's Spring Training. Even though it is a postseason format, it's still Spring Training physically for these guys. So we've been very strict with ourselves basically on how we use the guys. Yeah, Kimbrel was never a consideration for the eighth inning just based on the fact that we were going to have him start an inning, and we just had a few guys that we'd bring in during an inning, and Cishek and Gregerson is another one and Jeremy was another one, Affeldt, and we have to follow protocol. And again, it's not that tough to do because it's sort of in your mind that that's what you're going to do, so it's yeah, you're trying to win, but you're confident you can do it because you basically pick a bullpen because that's going to be the main part of any teams going forward is how well their bullpen performs. But we're very comfortable with not only the starters but the bullpen, 10 deep, and of course the big lift for us was what Detwiler gave us on Saturday where he really let us have everybody yesterday.

Q.Have you had a chance to talk with Ross after his start? I know you just got here and joined the team, but have you had a chance to catch up with him or anybody else about what it's like to be here now that you're in the fold?

GIO GONZALEZ: Yeah, the first thing Ross did to me was a big ol' hug, big pat on the back. I was quick to tell him, oh, your two seamer is looking really good, everybody looks really good, you look like you're in control, and you could see it, he looked like he was right on point, and this is, what, his third start for it's supposed to be in Spring Training, but the way he went out there and performed, I think he set the tone and he kind of looked really good.

Q.Joe, would you assess the bracket as you're coming into it? And then secondarily, since you don't know who you're playing and when you're playing Game 2, how have you set a pitcher accordingly? Are you going to wait to see?

JOE TORRE:Well, again, just sort of piggy backing on what John asked, we're still making sure everybody gets what work they need, because when we pick the starters, and that's why Gio remained here, because that time that he joined us we had already set up our rotation, so there was no reason for him to come to Arizona because we weren't going to use him. So when we picked our starters, Greg Maddux talked to every pitching coach and coordinated with them on what day they were going to be asked to pitch during the regular season, and that's where we slotted him. So we're not going to change anything as far as where these guys are slotted at this point in time.

Q.So then you continued to go back to Dickie, and

JOE TORRE:That's our plan right now, and hopefully it doesn't change. We'll do that if somebody says this doesn't feel right or that doesn't feel right.

Q.So Dickie, Vogelsong and Holland if you play a game here

JOE TORRE:Well, we have a choice. We have Detwiler. Since he's a starter, we can do something there, too, but we haven't decided yet.

Q.And then would you assess the bracket with the two Latin teams joining it that you haven't played yet?

JOE TORRE:Well, I got a call from Posada this morning, he told me he was going to pull for Puerto Rico, which is understandable, and then he asked me for tickets. (Laughter). I mean, I love this young man and I'm getting him tickets. At this point in time you're getting the cream of the teams that have gotten through the first round, which is I guess equivalent to the Division Series, which is a nail biter during our regular season, and now we're knocking some of the teams off, and we're paying attention to what we're doing now because we come through this bracket, obviously we'll be going to where our goal has been all along is to get to San Francisco.

Q.And you already know that Japan and the Netherlands are there.

JOE TORRE:Well, I watched the last couple innings of that Netherlands Cuba game this morning, yeah.

Q.Gio, piggy backing on what Joe said, how much of what your guys wanted to do, Davey getting that extra start in for you, making sure you had your three starts and then going tomorrow you can go 80 pitches. How much of that was prescribed to fall into the plan for what Joe needed for this team?

GIO GONZALEZ: I mean, they had the game plan already ever since I went to Houston. I mean, Kissimmee, Florida, threw my game there. But it was under control. They've minimized my pitch count. They let me do my thing so I can be ready to come out here for the second round. I'm pretty sure Joe and Greg Maddux were talking to them before that and letting me know what's in hand for the next start. But I was more sure looking forward to this start. I've been dying to come home and pitch in front of the home crowd, so it was a good thing that they had three great starters before, Dickie, Vogelsong and Derek Holland, they all did a great job, especially the bullpen, they came in and shut it down. But again, the offense looked alive. You've got to give them credit, and the only reason we're here is because of the way they were playing. They played as a team.


GIO GONZALEZ: Puerto Rico, that's going extremely hard. But we are very confident. You will see that we'll play the game, our game. We have the confidence that we need pitching here in front of our community of Latins. I'm waiting to pitch here at home, so I feel well pitching here.

Q.So what do you think you have to do as the Classic keeps evolving so you get more fans?

GIO GONZALEZ: Well, winning. Venezuela wins, those three Latin teams, and Cuba, as well, this keeps going with the Latins, but I'm playing with the USA, so I hope that we win. I'm a Cuban American, but I was born here.

Q.Speaking of tickets, being from down here, what's that been like for you? How many do you expect to be here? How complicated has it become?

GIO GONZALEZ: I was just telling Joe that. I was like, six tickets, that's it. Everyone else, go buy your own tickets. These things are expensive. And now hearing them talk about Posada and the tickets, I was like, oh, I don't feel that bad now. Just one or two tickets would be good. Other than that, the last time I've been here was over 600 tickets. I think all of Hialea came, so I learned my lesson, no more tickets. That's it. If you guys want to watch, it's either on TV or come and support over here, give us a little love.

Q.When the Nats played here 600 tickets?

GIO GONZALEZ: Over 600 tickets, yes.

Q.Did you pay for them?

GIO GONZALEZ: No, I didn't. There was a ticket stub where you go on line and you look for the tickets and you buy them online. If I would have had to pay for that, I think I would be broke right now. It would be a pretty big dent in my pocket.

Q.Just wondering, what has this experience been like for you being back in the dugout again? Anything about it surprise you so far? And are you ready to come back to managing full time now?

JOE TORRE:I don't think so, no. You know, when I took this opportunity and I just felt we're talking about a three week period, first day I was nervous as a cat. I mean, I was just jumpy as all get out, and I said, no wonder I'm not doing this anymore. But once the first day passed and the last couple of days have been enjoyable, but no, I don't think I want to do this full time. But the experience has been wonderful because, you know, during my managing career, the best part about being a manager are the players, and now to take players from here, there, everywhere and watching them as Gio was talking about, he was watching it on TV how well they blended, that is so satisfying to me. That is the greatest thing. And when I mentioned in my first meeting, I said, guys, I look out here, but someone is going to have to hit seventh, eighth and ninth, and none of these guys are really used to that. It doesn't matter. I went up to Stanton the other day, I said Zobrist is playing tomorrow, and he said okay. Everybody is respectful of each other, and to me that's the most satisfying for me, and it's made this experience really terrific for me because that's the best part of it for me.

Q.Being in New York you're pretty familiar with David Wright, but just wondering what you've learned here from Wright with everything.

JOE TORRE:Well, you know, David Wright I was asked this question last night actually by a relative of mine. I said, he's everything you hoped he would be. He just looks like that guy that you'd like to talk to or hang out with or have him on your team, and just to see the maturity and the presence he has in the clubhouse, in the lineup, he's a very responsible player. You know, he likes not that he craves the spotlight, but he doesn't shy away from it. But what a special individual he is character wise. Again, that's I know we have a lot of talented players in all sports, but when you can sit there and just admire somebody for more than just his ability, that's saying something, and I'm pleased to say that about David. FastScripts by ASAP Sports