10/15/05 7:11 PM ET
Jose Contreras pregame interview
Game 5 starter discusses his relationships on the team
By / MLB.com
JOSE CONTRERAS: I'm going to attack them the same way I have in the past and the same way I did last time. I think that's the key against every Major League team, throw strikes and attack them.
I don't think my game plan is going to change, anything at all.
What has Coop (Don Cooper) meant for you particularly and for the pitching staff in general?
CONTRERAS: My success is a lot due to Cooper and the patience he's had with me since last year and through the first half and now, and our pitchers get along with Coop. Coop understands us, lets us do what we think is best, and we feed off each other very well. He's been a great part of our success.
What impact does El Duque (Hernandez) have on you, on your pitching and on your life off the field, and why does he have an impact on you?
CONTRERAS: It's been an honor to be his teammate and be his friend. Everyone knows the success El Duque has had in Cuba and in Major League Baseball. Not only for me, El Duque helps out the whole team. He brings so much knowledge to the table that I think every pitcher has got a little something from him, and just having him as a teammate, such a great competitor, it's been an honor.
Can you recall having as good of a run as you've had now dating back to your days in Cuba?
CONTRERAS: This is hands down the best part of my career right now. I've gotten the most wins since I've been here. You can't compare Major League Baseball to baseball at the big league level. This is the best run I've had, and I hope there's more to come of it.
As unusual as this is, this is a question for both of the two of you: Ozzie said that friendship that you guys have developed is very special. I want to know from you, what is the friendship like? And from Jose, how did it develop this way, in whatever order you like?
CONTRERAS: Even though I respect him as a manager and as my friend, we fed off each other when we first met. I knew him from before, but I never had gotten really to get to know him. But he's a funny guy and he's easy to get along with. I think that's why we've had the success we've had, it's a friendship on and off the field.
GUILLEN, JR: On my part, just being around him the whole time, getting to talk to him during the game and just being around him, he's such a knowledgeable guy, and we love baseball, so our friendship is based on that.
CONTRERAS: Our friendship, we feed off each other really well. He's not just a regular translator. He doesn't follow me all the time wherever I goes. It's more of a friendship thing. It's more we do it for fun. It's because people take this sport a little bit too serious sometimes, and when you have friends around you and you feel relaxed that you have success, and I hope that he's around for a long time. Wherever he goes, we're still going to be friends, regardless.
Instead of sending the pitching coach, Ozzie comes to the mound for visits probably more than any manager in baseball. What are those meetings like and what do you sense when you see Ozzie coming out of the dugout?
CONTRERAS: He usually comes out there and tells us, "Stay relaxed, think about the batter, usually not the runners on base." He tells us "Don't pitch to this guy this way." Basically comes out there to make us feel relaxed and think about the situation, not get overexcited.
Ozzie had called you probably the funniest player on the team. How does your personality, how is it different on the field as opposed to off the field.
CONTRERAS: I admit I'm a funny guy, but I don't think about that when I'm on the mound. I think about getting people out. I can't be thinking about jokes.
I try to keep myself relaxed, and a lot of people say that I'm funny. I just make a lot of jokes.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.