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August 30, 2010

The Week in Quotes

August 23-29

by Alex Carnevale

NEXT TIME YOU HEAR CLICKING, REPORT TO THE TRAINER

"The weird thing about it, that last game, that was when everything started to click. That was when I had that feeling. That was a packed house with some rowdy fans, and I didn't feel like they were there. I was just so locked in, and everything was working. Sure enough, something happened. But that's something to build on. Tomorrow, I'm just going to write down on a piece of paper everything that I'm thinking right now and look at it a year from now."
—Nationals rookie right-hander Stephen Strasburg, on injuring his elbow and requiring Tommy John surgery.

"I want to be the best at everything. Right now, I'm going to be the best at rehabbing and getting back out here."
Strasburg

"I'm not a doctor, and I haven't read the MRI yet, but I'm pretty sure he's gonna come back fine. And for me, if you can throw the next day, then you probably could have continued out there on the baseball field. So are they a little bit overcautious at this point? Maybe. But he's a $15 million investment. I absolutely can't blame them for taking him out. But here's the thing. If this was happening to this kid in college and you knew that, then you also knew that he can pitch through this stuff. So a little bit is, OK, let's see this kid pitch through it."
—Nationals broadcaster Rob Dibble before Strasburg's diagnosis.

"It was surprising. Stephen felt good. He felt like he could continue to throw after it happened That's not unusual among elite athletes who have strength and flexibility beyond the norm. Obviously, it's really disappointing as far as what his current plan was. We sat down, had to map out a new focus for the next 12 months. We'll consult with some doctors and develop a plan to get this resolved. We've got high probability for a successful return."
Scott Boras, Strasburg's agent.

"The plan that Mike Rizzo and Stephen and I sat down and devised was exactly what the Nationals did. There's no issue as to anything about the plan. This is just an unfortunate even that occurs with pitchers. It happened with one pitch. There's no notice to any of this. As far as Stephen's treatment and the conservatism applied by all of us, it was done in the greatest of caution."
Boras. (Adam Kilgore, Washington Post)

YOUR ENJOYMENT OF THE GAME IS DISTRACTING FROM THE ATTENTION ON THE UMPIRES

"I was talking BS to Felix. We had a little bet. He told me he was going to strike me out three times and I told him I was going to take him deep. He struck me out and I went to my position and he was talking smack to me. I was facing him and in Spanish I told him that in my next at-bat I was going to take him deep over the Monster. I heard the umpire talking to me and I turned around and said I was talking to [Hernandez] and he threw me out."
—Red Sox third baseman Adrian Beltre on getting ejected by umpire Dan Bellino after a friendly in-game conversation with Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez.

"I went to the umpire and said, 'He's talking to Felix.' He said, 'It doesn't matter.' I said, 'What do you mean, it doesn't matter?'"
—Red Sox shortstop Marco Scutaro.

"Why do they have a rookie behind the plate, making decisions like that when we're trying to win a freakin' pennant race."--Beltre.

"He's protecting the young umpire. I guess they have their sort of code or whatever, like we do. I guess I figure if a guy's old enough to throw you out, he's old enough to get yelled at. I just wanted an explanation. I couldn't get around (crew chief Angel Hernandez) to get an explanation. I was having a hard time getting that accomplished, so I started cursing. That was real helpful."
—Red Sox manager Terry Francona. (Peter Abraham, Boston Globe)

THEY BURN THE MONEY AND INHALE THE FUMES OF COURSE

"The implication that anyone in the ownership group is lining their pockets is inappropriate. It's not happening."
—Pirates owner Bob Nutting on the leak of financial documents to The Associated Press and Deadspin.com that showed his team made large profits.

"I really believe what we're going through is worth it. If I didn't, there'd be no reason to put up with the agony of the on-field performance and the public lashing."
Nutting.

"It's not a direction we're pursuing. It would be the wrong thing for the organization. I believe the organization is moving forward in a positive direction. The last thing we need is a three-quarters executed plan that we back away from and move in a new direction. It would be a disaster."
Nutting, on whether he would sell the team.

"That's up to them, but I read already where they said they would. People can talk about money, but they've spent a lot of money on scouting, a lot of money on player development. The frustration levels, I understand it from the fans' standpoint. But it takes time to show. I'm satisfied that they are making good progress right now."—Commissioner Bud Selig, on whether Pirates will spend more of their profits.

"I would rather it was not done. It was not done properly. It's sad, in a way, that people violate confidences. I know that I would not do that and I know that baseball would never do that. You give somebody your word about something, that's the way it's supposed to be. That said, the Players' Association has our numbers, everybody around us has our numbers. There were no surprises in the game or the Players' Association."
Selig on the leaking of the documents. (Rob Biertempfl, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

WE BELIEVE THE CULPRIT MAY BE A CERTAIN FREDI GONZALEZ

"As a franchise, we and I are very disappointed that this information got leaked. It was a breach of the fiduciary obligation and fiduciary duty by the leaking party. Once we can figure out where exactly it came from, and [Major League Baseball] is investigating that, it is incumbent upon any entity to follow up upon that and make sure that the criminal that did it is properly punished."
—Marlins president David Samson.

"Now, Mr. Samson on the record says that at the time, city officials in Miami knew everything about their finances--and yet on the record before the city commission they refused to disclose their records."
—Miami mayor Tomás Regalado on the Marlins' stadium deal with the city of Miami.

"The team needed money. Jeffrey lent the team money and the team has to pay him back."
Samson, on the $16 million owner Jeffrey Loria received from the team over the last two years. (Charles Rabin and Adam H. Beasley, Miami Herald)

JOHN HENRY SWATS MOSQUITOS BIGGER THAN YOU, JOHNNY

"I would've loved to have gone back and played with Big Papi and Varitek, but that time has come and passed."
—Tigers outfielder Johnny Damon on deciding to stay with Detroit after the Red Sox claimed him off waivers.

"For me, hearing about it yesterday and just kind of looking at the aspect, considering the buzz that Johnny created for many years here, one of the original 'Idiots' of the World Series champions here, I thought it would be a great idea. But sometimes the ideas of others are not the same as the person who actually has to be in the situation."
—Red Sox outfielder Mike Cameron.

"I didn't want to leave a place where I'm very happy to go to a place where I know it's going to be an absolute shit show. That's the bottom line. It was going to be such a huge story, obviously it was going to be, for media outlets and everything. It wasn't going to be about a team. It wasn't going to be about the Red Sox. It was going to be about me every single day, talking about it. Yeah, I felt like I could've possibly helped them. But you know what? This is where I wanted to be. And the reason why you're able to negotiate certain things in the contract, you should be able to use it, and that's exactly what I did."
Damon. (Jason Beck, MLB.com)

HOW HAS THEO NOT SIGNED THIS GUY TO A FIVE-YEAR EXTENSION?

"I don’t really know how in the world I caught it. That’s kind of amazing to me. If I tried to make that play in a situation with two outs and the game on the line, I probably would never be able to get to it. For some reason, that thing stuck in my glove. I had every intention of letting it drop. Just instinct, you know. Put the glove out right at the last second as I saw the ball coming down, and it ended up in there. It’s kind of beyond me."
—Red Sox outfielder J.D. Drew, on catching a sacrifice fly that allowed the tying run to score in a game against the Rays.

"How in the world I got over the mound, into the chairs, into the wall and all that stuff, it was one of those absolutely great plays in a situation where you need to let the ball drop."
Drew.

"I understand that everybody has discrepancies, but you know when the strike zone's in question, sometimes you go up there and you chase pitches that you normally wouldn’t or you find yourself taking a pitch that you know is a ball. Usually you are awarded first base and instead you're battling and you ground out or whatever. So that affects your at-bat total, your on-base percentage, it affects a lot of things. It affects the way you approach the at-bats in the future."
Drew on what he feels is an inconsistent strike zone. (Amalie Benjamin, Boston Globe)

THE REST

"It's a lie. Write that. Write that it's a lie. I did not say that and nobody close to me would say that. Either say who the source is or shut up because I am saying it is not true."
—Rangers starter Cliff Lee, on the idea that he hates playing in Texas. (Dallas Morning News)

"I’ve read studies where you can pull a lineup out of a hat and, over the course of an extended look, you’re not going to get any more offense than if you hand-set your lineup. Some people might disagree with me, but I don’t put a lot of stock into it."
—Royals manager Ned Yost. (Bob Dutton, Kansas City Star)

"It's almost like hitting in the middle of a high school prom with a strobe light on. It's not that you don't see the ball. It's that the spin is really hard to pick up. That makes it tough when you have to assume everything is a fastball and hope you can figure it out quick enough."
—Brewers third baseman Casey McGehee on the shadows at Miller Park. (ESPN.com)

"I was told by several people that the throw appeared to be intentional. When I got hit in the side of the head, several people jumped up and screamed at Mr. Morgan. When he appeared to laugh it off, several more people in the section started a [profane] chant at which point he turned around. At the end of the game, when he made the third-out catch, he motioned up into the stands where the heckler was as if he was going to toss the ball. At that point, no less than a dozen people came over and expressed their view that it was intentional and that I was taking it way too calmly."
anonymous fan hit by a baseball thrown by Nationals outfielder Nyjer Morgan into the crowd at Citizens Bank Ballpark. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

"We do know that it’s an issue. The offense is unreal at Chase Field. We have a launching pad now. We have a team that’s hopefully going to be built around young pitching. We should look at ways to reduce offense, especially from an opponents’ standpoint."
—Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall, on his plans to alter Chase Field. (Nick Piecoro, Arizona Republic)

"He's amazing right now. It's almost like they need a higher league for him, the way he's swinging the bat, and then doing what he does out there on the field. He's really good, very good."
—A's second baseman Mark Ellis on Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton. (T.R. Sullivan, MLB.com)

---

Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.

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