While Tony La Russa handled our questions, he also signed a case worth of books at the same time. Who was the author of Three Nights again?
On whether John Smoltz going back from starting to relieving is unprecedented.
I don't know that anyone in baseball history has done it – going back and winning 20 games like he is probably going to.
On what a player would need to do to prepare for that shift.
Whatever you do with your stamina, conditioning and arm strength to get ready. That is why he was such a good closer – because he had starter's stuff. He has three great pitches – actually more than three because he uses them different ways. He is a great starter when he has all those weapons.
On whether Smoltz has Hall of Fame credentials.
As a fan, an opinion, I definitely think so.
On what makes Bobby Cox a good manager.
The paper (P-D) had a story about that recently. Players like to play for him because he has confidence in his players. What strikes me after watching him is that he was used to be considered really good with veterans. Everybody is good with guys in the prime of their career – when they are stars. Nobody screws them up. Now, they say he is good with kids. So, that tells me that he is going to be able to pull it off. There is not an easy way to describe him.
On similarities between the two teams – stability, GM, manager, etc.
They are kind of separated from us with all those championships. They've got the complete system there. They develop well, there is a style of play that is successful and they push it. They don't allow you to … you either need to conform to it or play someplace else. And, they do it in a positive and confidence-building way. It is a classic. If you try to pay attention to how to win, you check them out.
On whether any of the young Braves players have particularly impressed.
Any of them not? They have a bunch of good-looking young players.
Walton: During the last Braves series, there was disagreement over complaints about the umpiring. Do you expect carryover into this series?
There wasn't any disagreement. (pause) Who had a disagreement?
Walton: The Braves dugout seemed to disagree with a number of the calls by the umpires (and you disagreed with them).
On Rolen's progress.
He is taking some ground balls, doing some things. But, he is still restricted. He's still not swinging. When he does start swinging, then…
On the results of Molina's x-ray/exam.
I haven't heard.
On whether the Braves series is different from Cubs or any others.
The first answer, the best answer is that is whoever we are playing. We
On whether reserves will get more playing time.
They are getting a lot of starts. Four of them are in there every day – sometimes five if somebody gets a rest day and sometimes six if two rest. This is not one of those times when you have to manufacture playing time.
On whether he is going to rest anyone Saturday.
No. I rested Mark (Grudzielanek) yesterday and it is cooler. Gotta win the game.
On Gall not starting.
Yesterday, Gall didn't start because he wasn't able to. He will play off the bench. If Gall is not in the lineup, it is not a day we are resting him, unless he is hurt. He is there to pinch hit.
On whether he wants to get Seabol more time.
He has been. He has been pinch-hitting. He has gotten the call quite a
bit in his current thing (time up from
On whether the young players are more likely to get to stay up in September when rosters expand.
My guess is that all the guys up here are going to expect to be here in September. Because they have been here, they have more reason to expect it. But, we're not going to want to jam up this roster, so we will see. The fact that everyone has come up and done something (to contribute) really helps them.