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Cox workout day quotes
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10/09/2004 12:56 AM ET
Cox workout day quotes
Braves skipper discusses the Astros' home success
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Q: What concerns you most about coming into a situation here where the Astros haven't lost for a month?

A: Well, we're aware of that winning streak they have. They play well here. For me, if you're asking that question, it's still another game of baseball. So if we pitch good and play good defense, get a few hits, we'll be fine.

Q: Any changes in your lineup for tomorrow?

A: No, no. We'll go with the same lineup. Thomson is fine. He had a side session the other day and did very well with it, so we have confidence in him that he will be 100 percent.

Q: Any decisions on a Game 4 starter?

A: Yeah. Right now, we've told Russ Ortiz that he'll be pitching Game 4 on Sunday.

Q: Talk a little bit about (Rafael) Furcal and the lift that he gave you last night. A: Well, it couldn't come at a better time. Both teams were scuffling for runs all night long. We had left so many guys on the game before, and last night we were well into the same thing, and finally we had somebody come through.

Couldn't happen to a better kid under the circumstances, the situation he's been going through. It really was a big lift for us; I think a really big, big lift for Rafy.

Q How much do you put into this, in that the Astros have played so well at home?

A: Well, again, I'll say it's another ballgame. It's a baseball game.

It used to be -- I think Minnesota's got a definite advantage in their own ballpark because the ball is hard to see in that particular dome, and they play extremely well there.

The old Cardinal ballpark years ago when Whitey Herzog was the manager was a huge ballpark, Astroturf. They had all the guys that could run like heck and a couple power hitters. It was an advantage.

I don't know if it's such a big advantage in this ballpark. If we go out and hook a couple down that leftfield line...

There are cheap home runs for us, too.

Q: Game 4 starter?

A: Ortiz will be the Game 4 starter.

Q: Is he starting because of an injury to Wright or from a timing standpoint?

A: Well, Wright's been banged up twice -- once on the ankle and once on the shin. He's never pitched on three days' rest in his entire life. You have to understand, he's had some arm surgery through the years and probably doesn't bounce back as well as some of the guys. Just, right now, I think it's a smart thing to do.

Russ is a 15-game winner. He won 21 last year. He's pitched twice against these guys and got beat, 2-1, 3-2. He pitched two really good ballgames. We're going to give it to Russ.

Q: Thomson is all set for tomorrow?

A: Thomson is set for tomorrow.

Q: Could you talk about Smoltz?

A: Oh, he was... I don't think they got a hit off him, did they? He walked a couple.

He was fired up. He was ready to go. He kept the pitch count down, actually, for three innings of work. He should be fine tomorrow. His aim was to pitch two innings every ballgame when we set out on this, when we had clinched and we were playing in Chicago. His aim was to pitch two innings every ballgame, not to say that he can; I don't know.

Q: You would like to use him that way also?

A: Yes, anybody would, I think. John Smoltz for two innings would be terrific. I don't know if he can go to two innings tomorrow. He might be limited to one. It all depends on when he plays catch during batting practice, see how he feels, stuff like that.

Q: Can you talk about facing Roger Clemens pitching on three days' rest?

A: Is that what they're going to do? I didn't know.

He's done that numerous times in his career. He's a horse, and he's accustomed to it. No reason not to.

Q: Were you surprised to see (Brad) Lidge in the seventh inning yesterday?

A: No, not really. I mean, this is for all the marbles. He's the main guy. You saw with us, you saw with them, you saw with Minnesota -- I would be surprised if you wouldn't see it with the Yankees.

He threw good. He threw the ball really well.

Q: What about Alfonseca down the stretch?

A: I'm not sure of the stat. Somebody told me the other day -- I know he hasn't been giving up anything. I think he's only given up one run in like 23 appearances, is that right?

So he's been hot and he's been good for a long time. Couldn't happen at a better time, you get a pitcher hot like that.

Q: Have you talked to Phil Garner about the bullpen phone incident yesterday?

A: Yes, we did, we talked today. If there's one guy in this profession of managing that I would believe, it would be Phil Garner. I knew at the time, it wasn't a big deal. In fact, I was trying to get the phone repaired. Our guy, I got him immediately, he was sitting down in our radar room. He said it was working.

Apparently, what had happened, phones get slammed once in a while, especially in bullpens and dugouts. It was probably off the hook. It happened to me before. In the old ballpark, Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, the phone was always breaking down. You can't really see the bullpen down there. I'd have to go to the umpire and tell him, "Look, it's not working. We may have to have some extra time here because we can't communicate down there," so...

No, it was legit.

Q: How's Chipper (Jones's) hand, and what can you do to get him and Drew going?

A: Chipper was out here early today hitting extra in the cages. I think his hand, it's not 100 percent, it hurts. But he can swing.

We would love to get J.D. Drew and (Jones) going. They have a good track history behind them. Both of them were .300 hitters. Chipper, for years; this year, not. But J.D. hit .300 this year. When you've done that, you expect them to hit, and they will hit.

Q: Can you talk about (Adam) LaRoche and Charles Thomas?

A: Yes, we're going to get as many left handers in there tomorrow as we can. I think Chucky is having a pretty good series. He had a big stolen base last night. Everybody knows what kind of defensive player he is. He's running some other base hits, too.

LaRoche had three. That ball bounced right back to Beltran, I think. I think (Wilson) Betemit stopped at second base, too, because he wasn't sure if he was going to catch it. But that could have been a game-winner right there.

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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