La Russa off-day interview

La Russa off-day interview

Does facing a guy like Woody, who you know so well, change the dynamic of the game at all?

TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I think it makes it a lot more personal. I mean, whoever you're facing, you know, professionally what's at stake. But when you face a guy who's been such a great teammate, we have experienced so much together, it makes it a lot more personal.

We know him; he knows us. You know, he got mad against their hitters. Just the Woody side of it, I mean, it's coincidence or whatever, but it's definitely a different type of game.

Can you update us on Mulder? Is there a chance he might be done for a while?

LA RUSSA: Well, he's real sore. Hoping it wouldn't be that sore. There's a question. Got to wait 24, 48, 72 hours before you see how quickly some of the soreness gets out of there. Right now we don't know when he'll throw off the mound. If we can win another game, get into the next round, when he'd be able to start. Just going to have to stay tuned.

But it's definitely sore, as we suspected.

Is Ray King available? How will you use him, given his situation?

LA RUSSA: Ray did make the trip with us. You know, I think we all learned not all of us, but most of us have learned, whenever you have a close family member that's not doing well, when it actually happens, you know, that's a very tough situation to deal with. We were not going to pitch him yesterday.

But I think he would be available tomorrow. You know, for sure we'll use him as a left hand reliever. We got a right hand starter. They'll have some of their left handers in the lineup. Wouldn't hesitate to use him.

When Matt has had some problems this year, has there been a consistent identifier that would explain how he gets into trouble or he gets off form?

LA RUSSA: Well, he was real good early, I mean, for a long time early. Then he went into a real sluggish period. I think it really was explained mostly with location. Now, when you have a location problems, is it mechanical or is it concentration? You'd have to pick the location mistake and then try to figure out which of the two.

All along, it hadn't been physical. He didn't have a good start the last one, but the two starts where he threw the ball really well... He's healthy, I'm sure he'll be concentrating, you know, we're excited to send him out there.

You and Duncan have always had great faith in him. You've referred to him in the highest some of the highest compliments you've ever given of a player that's performed for you. What is it that you see in him?

LA RUSSA: Well, he earned those compliments. I mean, you watch the guy throw on the sides, you say, "Boy." All he is then is just a guy with talent. But he's taken the ball for us a lot. He's been in a lot of critical situations. He's pitched really well a great deal of the time. He's had a couple times where he wasn't good.

Last year when he wasn't good, I mean, if I had known how cranky his arm was, he wouldn't have gotten the ball, especially pitching with three days' rest in the World Series. That's not something you do. I can remember the games in 2003 when he came back, he had a broken hand, got back quicker than we expected. All of a sudden then he hurts his ankle. Always pitched with a lot of courage, a lot of passion.

You know, it's just the thing nowadays, a pitcher can get careless with his delivery. I think we've mentioned this from time to time, Matt will get wrapped up in competing, what he's throwing, where he's throwing it. Every once in a while I think he's probably tipping his pitches. I think that's been a part of his struggles from time to time.

Tomorrow he's going to have to be careful because there's some veteran hitters on the other side.

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