BRYAN PRICE PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT 10/10/12

An interview with:

BRYAN PRICE

Q.    So Cueto, when you see him go down in the first game and now you have to remove him from a roster, just as a coach who has been with him all season, how hard is it to be part of that is decision?
BRYAN PRICE:  Well, it’s difficult, but in this situation certainly with the history we have this year starting in Spring Training with Madson and Masset and Bray going down and then the Joey situation after the all star break, we have been resilient.
Certainly disappointed for him personally because he’s had some milestone moments this year, had a chance for 20 wins, and we took him out because we were concerned about making sure he was ready for the postseason in a game he was pitching well and didn’t give him a chance to get 20 in Pittsburgh.
He’s been competing well in the CY Young deal, so there is a lot on the line.  So for him personally it’s, yeah, definitely a tough situation for Johnny, however, an oblique strain is a quandary, so a certainty on when he’s going to be ready to go, we can’t put a finger on that.
Then the obvious thing for me is we have to do the best thing for the club, which is what we have done all year, we have always based our decisions that are best for the entire group and I think Johnny understands that.

Q.  Following that up, different angle, how do you prepare Mike Leake for this, and when did you start saying look at Wednesday?  How do you coax him through the last couple of days?
BRYAN PRICE:  The first thing, I think it starts when we knew we weren’t going to have him on the roster on the first round of the playoffs is to make sure he kept a mental mindset that anything could happen.  He could find himself in any series, including the first one.
What happened with Johnny in the first game in San Francisco obviously set the things in motion to where we had to start to consider what we were going to do once Latos entered that game and it affected and changed our rotation.  So it was from that point in time that we had to prepare him for today’s start, and we’ve done that.
He’s just a competitive kid.  I don’t think that he ever shut himself off to thinking that he was going to pitch at some point in time during the postseason.  He’s faced the Giants many times in his career.  There are a few new faces in the lineup, but guys that he’s faced with Pence and Marco Scutaro, faced them in the past.
And I think he will attack it as he has    I hate to say any other game, but he will pound the strike zone with his mix of pitches and give us a chance to win the game.

Q.  Obviously you know your staff very well, but when you see what Arroyo and Latos did in San Francisco, and Bailey did last night all under the context of losing Cueto, do you learn more about your staff in those situations and the resilience?
BRYAN PRICE:  Yeah, we don’t have a long and storied postseason over the course of the last 17 years.  Certainly we all know about the Big Red Machine and the great teams 20 plus years ago.  So we don’t have a lot to gauge things on in regards to what these types of opportunities have presented themselves in the past.  So it definitely does underscore how they have handled this circumstance and these situations.
Certainly as a coach and a guy that gets to be around these guys every day there is a huge amount of pride that goes with being associated with guys that work so hard, perform so well and stick to the team first philosophy that Dusty builds here.
So just for me personally, it’s just a great feeling to be associated with a group of guys that handle themselves like great professionals and compete so well.

Q.  On Johnny in particular, was it a fluke thing that he got injured there?  In terms of keeping your pitchers so healthy all year, it’s not the first time you’ve pulled that off, you did it before in Seattle.  Is there something you do or emphasize that has kept them so healthy, at least up to this point?
BRYAN PRICE:  First thing, with Johnny, you know, is that there was nothing before his bullpen prior to Game 1 that would suggest he had any problems with his obliques.  We did know during the time that he was throwing he said he had tightness in there.  He stopped throwing for a moment, stretched out a bit, finished his bullpen and said the last handful of pitches felt fine and we went down.
We did all the things we have talked about in regards to getting him in touch with Paul Lessard, our head trainer, and they did some exercises to see if they could recreate that soreness and they couldn’t, but obviously it was something that he could only do what he was pitching and we got him out of the ballgame.
In regards to the pitching staff, there is nothing in particular that I’m doing.  A lot of it is good fortunate and good luck, and it helps to have guys that are in unison and understanding the importance of the preparation, taking care of their bodies, working with the strength and conditioning coach, Matt Krause and being able to avoid all the things that can create problems and in the national league you have to concern yourself with guys handling the bat, running the bases.
There are a lot of ways to get knocked out of the ballgame or spend time on the DL that don’t have anything to do with throwing the baseball, so we have been pretty lucky.

Q.  Speak of preparing for the season, these guys getting ready, Homer Bailey put on 25 pounds.  How do you think that has helped him during this year?
BRYAN PRICE:  Well, you know, I think he did some really good things.  For a guy that had spent the last two    the previous two years in 2010 and 2011 spent some time on the disabled list with recurring shoulder problems it was definitely stressed that he, not so much add the weight, but the strength to the shoulder and the off season needed to be spent on focusing on total body strength and in particular increased shoulder strength.
The entire body obviously is involved in throwing the baseball and I think Homer made a good choice to add the weight.  He’s a guy that is a sinewy, narrowed bodied guy, and the added weight was a good thing.  However, the most important thing was the fact that he took on an increased work load for his shoulder.  So when he showed up for Spring Training he was strong, and we have had no set backs since, knock on wood.

Q.  I heard that you promised your staff if any starter threw a no hitter you would grow a mustache, and it looked like you had the makings of one but now it’s gone.  What’s the end of that story?
BRYAN PRICE:  It’s funny because as soon as Homer threw that no hitter in Pittsburgh he reminded me of the mustache deal.  I don’t remember it.  I’m sure I said something in Spring Training that, if any of you incompetents can potentially somehow throw a no hitter, I would grow a mustache, or something like that.  Obviously all in jest.
So after he was mobbed by his teammates that’s the first thing he said to me on the field in Pittsburgh.  And I thought, okay I’m sure I said something like that.  So I think I honored it.  Almost two week’s worth of mustache, looking at yourself for a ridiculous mustache, for me, didn’t look too sharp.  So I honored it, on going on national television with a mustache in a game that Homer pitched and then once he got done with it, I couldn’t get it off fast enough (Laughing).

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