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March 15, 2010

The Week in Quotes

March 8-14

by Alex Carnevale

A FLEETING GLIMPSE OF PROSPECT FATIGUE

"Seeing him in just one at-bat, it's kind of tough to say. I saw him throw balls offspeed, didn't really think too much about it. I didn't think he was that impressive. He didn't throw any strikes to me with his off-speed stuff. I wouldn't put him up against a Verlander, nothing like that at this stage of the game."
Cardinals center fielder Colby Rasmus, after Stephen Strasburg's second start of the spring for the Nationals.

"I had a lot of adrenaline going. I really wasn't able to execute pitches the way I wanted to. I'll keep going with I've been working on and I will be a lot more relaxed. ... I got my feet wet. I know what it feels like to go out there. I know what it's like to face guys I watched on TV growing up. I have that feeling now, so I just want to build on it."
—Strasburg, after his spring training spin against the Tigers.

"I can honestly say I don't think it's earned. I haven't really done anything at the pro level. There are guys here who have done a lot that don't get as much attention and maybe never will. It's kind of a shame. But it's out of my control."
—Strasburg on the hype that follows him.

"Oftentimes, when you get that kind of attention, a lot of people kind of want to put their hands on you, and I think it's the responsibility of the pitching coach to let him know the pitfalls that are out there. I've read some stuff that he has said, and it sounds like to me like he has his head on pretty good. I think he's probably aware of the potential dangers that are out there."
—Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan, on Strasburg. (Tim Walters, MLB.com)

LIKE HANNIBAL LECTER DETAILING THE PSYCHOLOGICAL BACKGROUND OF HIS PREY

"The main thing is we're trying to let him be himself. I've talked to him about some things, family, Cuban baseball, religion. But we got him to pitch. We've got to keep him on the rotation and see how he does. See how he is."
Reds manager Dusty Baker, on Cuban lefty Aroldis Chapman.

"We don't really know what we have. Everyone is getting ahead of themselves."
—Baker

"I don't think the issue is control anymore. I think growing up in Cuba under a tough situation, going thorough and planning a defection, that takes a lot of guts and a lot of heart, leaving his family behind, not knowing what the future is going to bring. I think for him, this is a piece of cake, to be honest with you."
—Dayton Dragons pitching coach Tony Fossas, on Chapman.

"It's hard to plan an unknown entity. You don't know what's going to arise. He's still got to get a driver's license, a Social Security card. He's got to get a lot of things. Pitching is probably a sanctuary from the other stuff."
—Baker (Mark Sheldon, MLB.com)

DIVERSITY, YOU ARE A TROUBLING MEME

"People see dark faces out there, and the perception is that they're African-American. They're not us. They're impostors. Even people I know come up and say: 'Hey, what color is Vladimir Guerrero? Is he a black player?' I say, 'Come on, he's Dominican. He's not black.'"
Angels outfielder Torii Hunter, on the race issue in baseball.

"As African-American players, we have a theory that baseball can go get an imitator and pass them off as us. It's like they had to get some kind of dark faces, so they go to the Dominican or Venezuela because you can get them cheaper. It's like, 'Why should I get this kid from the South Side of Chicago and have Scott Boras represent him and pay him $5 million when you can get a Dominican guy for a bag of chips?' ... I'm telling you, it's sad."
—Hunter

"What troubles me most was the word 'impostors' appearing in reference to Latin-American players not being black players. It was the wrong word choice, and it definitely doesn't accurately reflect how I feel and who I am. What I meant was they're not black players; they're Latin-American players. There is a difference culturally."
—Hunter, retracting the statements he made to USA Today.

"But on the field, we're all brothers, no matter where we come from, and that's something I've always taken pride in: treating everybody the same, whether he's a superstar or a young kid breaking into the game. Where he was born and raised makes no difference."
—Hunter

"We come to this country with potato chips. When we leave this country, we leave with a lot of money, we earn it. That's something we feel proud of."
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, reacting to Torii's comments. (Bruce Levine, ESPN.com)

YOU WILL LEARN TO LOVE THE PROCESS

"I've had some talks with Mr. Moorad. I know where they're at. I know there's a goal. A three-year plan, four-year plan, five-year plan. Whatever it is."
Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, on failed contract negotiations.

"It was definitely out of the blue. Mainly, I was telling my wife, ‘It’s kinda nice to hear an ex-teammate think that highly of you to think you can help their team.’ But I can’t control any of that. That’s not a subject I’m gonna talk about because it’s not something in which I’m involved."
—Gonzalez, on Jake Peavy's request that the White Sox trade for him.

"I know, there are no bobblehead dolls for me or Heath. I really don't care. From a personal perspective, people always bring it up to me. I don't know ... they want to promote the younger guys, I guess. I get that."
—Gonzalez (Scott Miller, CBSSportsline.com)

SELECTIVE MISTY WATER-COLORED MEMORIES

"Everywhere I go I get so many [Red Sox fans] come to me and tell me 'Thank you. We miss you. We still love you.' And it's so genuine and the feeling is mutual. Hopefully from my actions throughout my career in that uniform and hopefully my actions today again tell them what it means to me."
—Retired former Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, re-signing with his first club before saying goodbye to the game.

"Nomar was such a central figure in everything good that has happened to the Red Sox. It’s appropriate. This is a little bit of a fairy-tale end. In life there is some adversity and conflict, but in the end people can come together and recognize what they meant to one another."
—Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein

"I always enjoyed playing against Boston because of Nomar. I used to enjoy being mentioned with him."
Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter

"We've been fortunate over the years to maintain a relationship after the trade. I think both of us understood at the time that it wasn't about Nomar and it wasn't about me. It was just baseball trades that happen. They're about what's going on with the team at the time and certain things that had to happen. But, it didn't change what Nomar meant to the Red Sox."
—Epstein (Associated Press)

DR. MINAYA, I PRESUME?

"I had a conversation with our doctors, had a conversation with the representative, and we’re all in agreement that he has elevated thyroid levels."
Mets general manager Omar Minaya, on shortstop Jose Reyes' struggles with his health.

"I have to be concerned about it and find out what's going on. This is important. We're not talking about my leg. We're talking about my health, so I have to be concerned about it. It can be dangerous for me."
—Jose Reyes

"It would suck if it was eight weeks. It would be tough. You can get by with a week or two. But eight weeks? You're looking into May. That's not good for us."
—Mets right fielder Jeff Francoeur, on the time Reyes will miss recovering from the hyperactive thyroid.

"For some reason, I just feel like everything is going to be all right."
—Mets manager Jerry Manuel

THE REST

"I think both personally and from a family standpoint we’re all enjoying our lives over here in the US, and if at all possible I would like to play over here as long as I can. I guess in the very least I hope that I can play for at least another 10 years here in the US. Yeah, 10 years is a long time and it’s tough to imagine what it’s going to be like that far out, but at the same time when I’m 40, or older than 40, I want to still be able to pitch."
—Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka, on how long he expects to stay in the game. (Rob Bradford, WEEI.com)

"I was telling Joey Votto the other day about my opportunity to work with the Nationals. When I saw the Nationals uniform with 11 and 'Larkin' on the back, I told them I couldn't put the uniform on. I couldn't do it. I sat in my locker and just looked at it like, 'Something is not right about this.'"
—Former Nationals special assistant Barry Larkin, who spent his entire playing career with the Reds (Mark Sheldon, MLB.com)

"He said, ‘I’ve been busting my [butt] out here everyday, and they give me two innings?’ If he signs somewhere, it will be with someone he knows. He’s going to have to trust them; let’s put it like that. I don’t know what they’re thinking. It’s not like the other guys are really tearing it up."
Eddie Guardado's agent Kevin Kohler on his client getting cut by the Nationals. (Washington Post

"I'm just working on trying to be present in the field and at the plate and in life. I'm also trying to get into my body and out of my head. I've always thought a lot playing baseball and I've always kind of gotten away with it. I think that's not the path I want to be on while I'm playing."
—Red Sox prospect Lars Anderson (Jonathan Mayo, MLB.com)

"I didn't have any other choice. That's why I'm here."
Rays first baseman Hank Blalock, asked why he signed with Tampa Bay. (Joe Smith, St. Petersburg Times)

---

Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.

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