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June 11, 2012

The Week in Quotes

June 4-June 10

by Hudson Belinsky, Jonah Birenbaum, Andrew Koo and Matthew Rocco

SIX MARINERS NO-HIT DODGERS
“I’m excited, I’m excited for all these guys who came into the game out of the bullpen. I guess it’s a little bit more exciting for those guys when they can be a part of it. I wasn’t very happy when I came out of the game, and it took me a couple innings to get a little excited about it, but those guys got all the tough outs. The first six is what it is. I’ve seen a lot of people do that. From seven, eight, nine, those guys got all those outs. That was special to see.”
Kevin Millwood, who pitched the first six innings before exiting with a groin strain (Josh Liebeskind, MLB.com)

“I was inside icing and watching it on TV. Like I said, the seventh and part of the eighth, I still wasn't having much fun. But to just see it continue and continue, and [Brandon League] got a couple huge outs for us. And when Tom [Wilhelmsen] came in [for the ninth], I think we were all pretty excited in here and hoping it got done.”
—Millwood

“It was really fun.  I was praying the last inning. That’s one of my dreams that I’ve always thought about, and it happened tonight. Thank God we got the game and the no-hitter. It was an amazing feeling.”
Jesus Montero, who caught the six Mariners pitchers who combined for the no-no. (Liebeskind, MLB.com)

“I was nervous on the last pitch, I wanted the no-hitter. I didn’t know what to call that pitch. I was looking at the dugout, I was looking at [pitching coach] Carl Willis to see what was going on, and he didn't tell me anything. I was like, ‘OK, let's go with this.’”
—Montero

“Yeah, we knew [about the no-hitter].  But we weren't talking about it [in the bullpen]. We didn’t want to jinx it.”
Stephen Pryor, who got the last out in the seventh inning and was credited with the win. (Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times)

“That was unbelievable. I’ve never been apart of anything like this in my life. It is crazy and exciting all at the same time.”
—Third baseman Kyle Seager, who delivered the timely RBI single. (Quinn Roberts, MLB.com)

HOUSTON, WE HAVE A FIRST PICK
“I just want to be a big-leaguer and a Hall of Famer. I want to be like Derek Jeter. He’s awesome. He’s a great ballplayer. But I like him even more as a person.”
—Shortstop Carlos Correa, who was chosen by the Astros as the first pick in the Rule 4 draft, spoke about his major-league aspirations. (ESPN)

 “It was a difficult decision, but it was the right decision. All of us felt it in our guts. I believe Carlos is going to play shortstop, but if he ends up not playing shortstop, he’s going to be a plus third baseman. He’s going to be an offensive powerhouse wherever he plays.”
—Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow

I haven’t stopped receiving text messages. It was a great day for Puerto Rico. We need to keep working with the talent on the island and bring more of them to the professional level. But it’s still there. This was a very good start.”
Ivan Rodriguez on Correa, who became the first player from Puerto Rico to be selected first in the draft.

 “I want to get to the big-league level the quickest I can. I will work hard to be a great player, an impact player. My goal has always been to get to the Hall of Fame.”
—Correa (Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle)

APPEL FALLS TO EIGHTH OVERALL
“I’m happy for this. It makes it more exciting. Mark Appel gets passed but winds up going to the Pittsburgh Pirates, which I think is great.”
—Commisioner Bud Selig on Appel, a Stanford University pitcher, falling to eighth overall as the Pirates’ first-round pick. Teams were reportedly concerned over Appel’s signability.

“I’m currently concentrating on winning a national championship and finishing my academic endeavors at Stanford. I will address the possibility of a professional career in due time.”
—Appel, in a statement released last week.

“The beautiful part of the draft, going through the process, is you tackle every player as if they’re going to be available at your pick. You do the work, you do the preparation, you do the study so that when a player becomes available, you like him—you take him. We projected, much like the rest of the industry, that he would go earlier. We feel very comfortable with this selection.”
—Pirates general manager Neal Huntington (Bill Brink, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

DISPATCHES FROM WASHINGTON
“Looking over at that dugout at Ortiz, Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia, it’s pretty unbelievable. Going around the bases [on the double] and Pedroia’s saying great job. I’m 19 years old. I still look at those guys as the guys I grew up watching. It was pretty unbelievable.”
—Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper hit a two-run home run and had three RBI in a win over the Red Sox last Friday. (Amanda Comak, The Washington Times)

“There’s no way I’m hooking him with the bases loaded. I don’t care what his pitch count was. I was going to have to fight ownership if I let him go too long, but I didn’t want to have to fight Stras if I went and took him out.”
—Nationals manager Davey Johnson

“They kind of pulled me aside and said, ‘Hey, just ask him.’ He had one of the best curveballs in the game and he knew how to throw it, and he knew how to use it to his advantage.”
—Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg asked center fielder and former pitcher Rick Ankiel for pitching advice. (Comak, The Washington Times)

“I kind of felt that way sometimes, too. Because you don’t know how receptive guys are. You don’t really want to be like, ‘Hey! Blah blah blah.’ You kind of pick your battles, maybe hint here and there and see where it goes. But it was good, and I’m happy we did it.”
—Ankiel on his conversation with Strasburg.

“When I was a rookie and people came to me and they give you advice, you hear it. Sometimes it doesn’t always sink in, and it might be a month later when you're like ‘Hey, I realize what they’re talking about.’ But it’s nice to give back. People gave to me when I came, and I think part of going through it and part of being in this game, where you get older and see things, is you pass that knowledge along and hope that it helps.”
—Ankiel

ANOTHER DANDY FROM ANDY
“It seems like he hasn’t missed a beat. And I think he’s just scratched the surface right now. We’re at the tip of the iceberg. He’s going to have a great season for us; to keep doing what he’s doing, he just needs to stay healthy.”
—Yankees catcher Russell Martin on 39-year-old teammate Andy Pettitte, who notched 10 strikeouts over 7 1/3 innings on Tuesday night to lift the Yankees to a 7-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. (Wallace Matthews, ESPN New York)

"I really believe that he went home and probably threw as much BP as he would have in the course of a season, probably even more. You're trying to throw strikes to your kids, you're not trying to knock them down, obviously, but you're trying to throw good pitches, and I think it's helped. At least I hope he's not trying to knock them down."
—Yankees manager Joe Girardi on how Pettitte has managed to transition back to the big leagues so successfully.

"I think the guys enjoy when I pitch.  I think sometimes I'm an amusement for them also, just because I'm old, I guess. I know that we have a good time and they enjoy making fun of me a little bit."
—Pettitte

FLIPPING OUT
“Sitting in front of the TV with Kenny, [assistant GM] Rick Hahn and [vice president player development] Buddy [Bell], I wasn’t tickled to death. I know Kenny, in a fun way, was a little surprised.”
—White Sox scouting director Doug Laumann on first-round draft pick Courtney Hawkins’ impromptu backflip. (Daryl Van Schouwen, Chicago Sun-Times)

“Mr. Williams said no more backflips.”
—Hawkins

#FREETREVORBAUER
“How that opportunity presents itself—be it an injury or a trade or somebody’s not performing and ends up going down and then you take advantage of it. But right now, I don’t know who I’d take out of the rotation to make room for him, and I don’t want to put him in the bullpen.”

—Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers, on the timing of super prospect Trevor Bauer’s big-league arrival. (Steve Gilbert, MLB.com)

“[Bauer] hasn’t been in the minor leagues very long, and he's been rushed like we’ve never rushed anybody before, because of the stuff that he has and his ability to pitch. He has made some improvements. For me, it’s not about improving stuff but more about the ability to manage game plans, getting us deep into games and giving us chance to win.”
—Farm director Mike Bell (Jonathan Mayo and Jesse Sanchez, MLB.com)

“The thing about this kid is he has three plus-pitches. Does he have big-league stuff? Yes, absolutely. Can he go up tomorrow and win at the big-league level? Yes, he could. Is he ready for that? I would say no, and the reason I would say that is because the one thing he is learning about is how to manage the game.”
Brett Butler, Reno Aces manager, the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A affiliate (Sanchez, MLB.com)

“I’m 21 years old and I’m still working on stuff.  That’s part of my development: being able to execute my pitches and have better command of my pitches. If I execute my pitches better, I have better game management.”
—Trevor Bauer

“I can control how hard I work and how I prepare and how I sleep and how I eat. Promotion, no promotion, cut or whatever. I don't want to think about it. I play baseball and I pitch every fifth day, and whatever team I am on, that’s what I'm going to do.”
—Bauer

TWITTER

—Jack Moore (jhmoore) of FanGraphs on Ryan Howard, who ruptured his Achilles tendon in the Phillies’ loss in Game 5 of last year’s NLDS against the Cardinals.

—ESPN’s Keith Law (@keithlaw) notes that most executives aren’t very fond of the new draft rules.

—Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) of Fox Sports offers a tough pill for Tigers, Phillies, Brewers, and Diamondbacks fans to swallow.

—Phillies manager Charlie Manuel after the club lost for the fifth consecutive time on June 6. The Phillies enter Monday’s action with a 29-33 record, eight games behind the Washington Nationals in the NL East. (Todd Zolecki, @ToddZolecki, MLB.com)

CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) offers a couple quick details on the impending bidding war for Cuban import Jorge Soler, who will sign before July 2 to avoid the new cap on international spending.

THE REST
“I knew there was nothing, but they just wanted it. So I wasn’t tripping. Instead of coming up here and enjoying a rainy off day, I was jumping into Markakis’ pool. He has like a 10-foot bank, I was jumping into the pool, cannon-balling, and eating pizza.”
—Orioles center fielder Adam Jones, who had his wrist examined after being pulled from last Sunday’s game. Obviously, he felt no ill effects the following day. (Dan Connolly, Baltimore Sun)

“I play major-league baseball, but I work for the Texas Rangers. They need me healthy. It’s not fair going out there and doing something where I could get hurt.”
—Rangers outfielder and home run leader Josh Hamilton, who declined to participate in the All-Star Home Run Derby. Though Hamilton didn’t seem to mind being the Rangers’ Slip & Slide Captain a month ago. (Jeff Wilson, Star-Telegram)

“It’s viral right now — it’s a virus and we've got to get rid of it. Some kind of infield antibiotic we need. We’re making mistakes we normally don’t make. We have to stop doing that. … I really believe it's going to go away at some point, but for right now it’s biting us pretty good.”
—Rays manager Joe Maddon after his team committed another three errors on Tuesday night, pushing their season total to 49, second-most in the AL. (Joe Smith, Tampa Bay Times)

“All streaks have to come to an end at some time, whether they're good or bad.”
—Cleveland starter Ubaldo Jimenez, who recorded his first career victory at Comerica Park on Tuesday night. Prior to Tuesday’s win, the 28-year-old was 0-4 with a 9.78 ERA for his career at Comerica. (Paul Hoynes, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but he definitely has looked good. If we can get him back to ace form, I think that’ll be definitely good for us.”
—Twins center fielder Denard Span on teammate Francisco Liriano, who has allowed just one run with 17 strikeouts over 12 innings since returning to the rotation May 30. (Joe Christensen, Minnesota Star Tribune)

“You’ll take that. Even in PlayStation.”
—Royals catcher Brayan Pena, whose team recorded its third shutout in five games with a 1-0 victory over the Twins on Tuesday night. (Bob Dutton, Kansas City Star)

“I can get big-league hitters out. There’s no question about that, and I can do it at a high level.”
—Orioles starter Jake Arrieta, after another poor outing on Friday night that saw his ERA balloon to 6.32 for the season. (Dan Connolly, Baltimore Sun)

 “I came back in and they told me I hit the sun. … This is where I started my career. To get my 200th homer here, it’s awesome. Here or Atlanta, it would have been great either way.”
—Braves second baseman Dan Uggla hit his milestone home run off the sculpture beyond the center-field wall in Marlins Park. (Juan C. Rodriguez, South Florida Sun Sentinel)

 “I wanted that to be the cool moment. I didn’t want that to be anything other than that’s the coolest thing that’s happened to me. When I saw the jersey (number) it just made me realize that everything had come full circle.”
—Former Braves pitcher John Smoltz on having his No. 29 jersey retired. (Carroll Rogers, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

“That was the most miserable couple of innings that you could ever imagine. That’s a game I should be over here sitting down and not worrying about anything. After the sixth inning, at 91, I knew I couldn’t let him go nine innings. So I’m not rooting for a hit, but it certainly didn’t break my heart when Michael Young got that hit, because this kid’s too important to us. It was difficult to watch.”
—Athletics manager Bob Melvin, on watching starter Jarrod Parker’s no-hit bid as his pitch count rose. (Jane Lee, MLBlogs Network)

“There was all forms of artificial behavior in the draft. The purpose of the draft is that it’s supposed to create parity in the game. You want teams with the greatest needs to get the best available talent. That has not been achieved in this draft. It’s created a mockery.”
—Agent Scott Boras (Bob Nightengale, USA Today)

“When I was coming up with Chicago, I almost don’t want to say it was a guarantee that it was going to happen, but I knew I was going to get to the big leagues. I knew, physically, I could get guys out. I know now, physically, I can get guys out, but things are different. Is there an opportunity? Is there a place that you would slot in? Back then, I was their high draft pick. They were going to make room. That’s not the situation here. That’s not the situation for most people who get to the big leagues. They’re not making room.”
Mark Prior, whose fall from ace starter to Triple-A safety net has been well-documented. Prior is now with the Pawtucket Red Sox, hoping to get another chance in the majors soon. (Brian MacPherson, Providence Journal)

Jonah Birenbaum is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jonah's other articles. You can contact Jonah by clicking here
Andrew Koo is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Andrew's other articles. You can contact Andrew by clicking here

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