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June 18, 2012

The Week in Quotes

June 11-17

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

A-ROD TIES GEHRIG WITH SLAM
“It means a lot. It’s very special. This game is very, very difficult, and if you’re not going to enjoy these great moments, then it’s not any fun. Lou Gehrig was not only one of the all-time greats, but he was one of ours, a Yankee.”
—Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who hit his 23rd career grand slam on Tuesday night, tying Lou Gehrig for first on the all-time list. (David Waldstein, New York Times)

“I’ve been a huge admirer of Lou Gehrig and his history and what he stands for, the way he respected the game and the way he respected the pinstripes. There’s a stoic-ness about him and a professionalism that I really enjoyed. Look, we set the bar really high around here, not only for me, but for all my teammates, and we’re all following Lou Gehrig.”
—Rodriguez

“It’s hard to fathom what he's been able to do in his career. To be mentioned with Lou Gehrig, that's special.”
—Yankees manager Joe Girardi, on Rodriguez. (Wallace Matthews, ESPN New York)

ROBERTS RETURNS
“I’d say there were months at a time where I thought this would never occur.”
—Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts, who went 3-4 with an RBI on Tuesday night in his first game since sustaining a concussion on May 16, 2011. (Peter Schmuck, Baltimore Sun)

“After I wiped it off I did [get choked up]. All the fans were cheering around me and I got a little emotional again. Talk about feeling like part of the team. I hadn’t felt like that in a long time.”
—Roberts, who was overcome with emotion after a ceremonious post-game pie-in-the-face.

“A lot of guys with the challenges that Brian's faced might have packed it in. That would have been a way some people might have taken. But he loves to play. He loves the game of baseball and loves the Orioles. I wouldn't deny him the ability to do anything.”
—Orioles manager Buck Showalter, on Roberts’ comeback.

R.A. AND THE KNUCKLEBALL
“I don’t think I would be credible if I said I didn’t think about pitching in the All-Star Game or a chance to be the best pitcher in the big leagues. Of course it creeps into my mind from time to time and it’s a motivator. I do want to be the best, but I don’t allow it to affect what I do or how I prepare.”
—Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey, who broke Jerry Koosman’s franchise record for consecutive scoreless innings, held the Rays to one hit on Wednesday. (Mike Puma, New York Post)

“We’re two plays from a perfect game. I’ve seen a lot of things, but I have not seen a perfecto. But today I saw as close to that as I’ve seen in my 42 years. It was just truly amazing.”
—Mets manager Terry Collins

“I tried to make the play and I didn’t make it. I don’t think I could have gotten him with the glove and I tried to bare-hand. It hit the lip and skipped on me and I didn’t make the play. If they want to go back and give me an error, they can do that.”
—Mets third baseman David Wright couldn’t make a barehanded play on a ground ball off the bat of B.J. Upton.

“It was nice that the Mets wanted to do it. It was never my idea in the first place. In truth, I’m fairly relieved that it ended up the way that it did. I didn’t want an asterisk by it. It would be bigger than the no-hitter itself.”
—Dickey on MLB’s decision to deny the Mets’ appeal on the ruling of Upton’s first-inning single. (Dave Hutchinson, The Star-Ledger)

“(The knuckleball) is like a roller-coaster, you just don't know what it’s going to do.”
—Rays infielder Carlos Pena (Joey Knight, Tampa Bay Times)

THOSE ARE FIGHTIN’ WORDS
“Dusty will deny it. It has everything to do with him. You can go ask him. He’ll deny it like he has no idea. They’ve been trying to do this [stuff] for years. I’d always come up with men on base. To say it didn’t come from Dusty, Mat Latos was with the San Diego Padres the last four years. He has no idea what’s going on. Again, you can ask him and he’ll say he doesn’t know [anything] about it like he always does.”
—Indians pitcher Derek Lowe vaguely explained some bad blood between him and Reds manager Dusty Baker. Lowe’s “expletive-filled postgame rant”—as MLB.com beat writer Jordan Bastian described it—was spurred by a fastball from Latos that came a little too far inside. (Bastian, MLB.com)

“This goes back to my last year with the Dodgers. He made up some [bogus] story. A lot of people got involved. People almost got fired over it. You can go ask him right now and he’ll say he has no idea what you’re talking about. But just watch the game. Mat Latos has nothing to do with anything that has gone on. How would he know? Why in the [world] would you throw a 96 mph fastball, first pitch, inside to a pitcher? Ask him.”
—Lowe

“They’ve been trying to do this [stuff] for years, but I always came up with men on base. It’s the first time it came up with no one on base. That’s why I was pointing at him, because I knew why it happened. He shook his finger like he had nothing to do with it. I guess Mat Latos just figured he’d hit me to lead off the fifth inning on his own.”
—Lowe

“I don’t care. A lot of people don't respect me. He doesn’t respect himself—because where it was, or whatever he did or said, there's probably a good chance that he was drinking at the ballpark at that time, three or four years ago. So he doesn't remember what he said or what he did, OK?’ ”
—Baker was asked whether it bothered him that a player does not respect him. (Dennis Manoloff, Cleveland Plain-Dealer)

“I’m not saying anything about it. I don’t care what he said. … I promise you: I’m not saying a word about it. You can stand here and watch golf if you want.”
—Lowe, after reporters sought his response to Baker’s suggestion that he had been “drinking at the ballpark.”

“You go ask him what he did or said, because he made it public. Understand what I’m saying? Since he’s such a big man to run his mouth, tell him to run his mouth about himself.”
—Baker

“When he said I shook my finger at him to tell him I had nothing to do with it. … (Former NBA standout Dikembe) Mutombo didn't shake his finger to say, ‘I didn't have anything to do with it.’ That means, ‘Don’t mess with me or my team.’ That’s what that means. So he better learn the sign language. … I’m not denying anything. I didn’t order anybody to hit him, but I told (Latos) to buzz him and make him feel uncomfortable. And that’s what happened. Understand what I’m saying?”
—Baker

HOW MANY OUTS ARE THERE?
“The issue was the call. The pitcher comes up looking for the call to be made and the home plate umpire came up with his arm. At that point, you take away the play from any of the bases. The play is not to first base if we get a quick ruling on what it is (the play could have been to second or third), and if (Eric Hosmer) was called out, then we need to go in the direction that he went. It certainly put us in a bad spot. Did I think they’d change it? I didn't know. But I had to go out and at least talk about it. It was a screwy play and it cost us one (run). It was one of those situations where I thought we were getting the short end of it. They just want to get the call right. I can appreciate that, not necessarily at our expense.”
—Cardinals manager Mike Matheny gave his thoughts on the triple play that wasn’t. Home plate umpire Kerwin Danley initially called an out on a ball hit to pitcher Joe Kelly, and the Cardinals thought they secured two additional outs. But the ball appeared to bounce into Kelly’s glove. The umpires conferred and determined only one out was recorded. (Rick Hummel, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

“Mike was totally classy with it. He never said that we changed it to a bad call. He never said that we got it wrong. He said, ‘I want two outs.’ I guess to make the pain less than what it was. I said, ‘We’re going to get the right call here. But I’m not going to give you two outs.’ Mike even said, ‘I want you guys to get back together and figure out a way to give me two outs. That’s all I want.’ I couldn’t laugh, but he did say that.”
—Umpiring crew chief Dana DeMuth

MUST BE SOMETHING IN THE WATER...
“We’ll get a better read on his condition after further tests are done (Tuesday), but I think at this point it’s safe to say it’s probably substantial in terms of what he’s dealing with right now.”
—Blue Jays manager John Farrell on Brandon Morrow, who was pulled from Monday’s start against the Nationals after facing just one batter due to a pain in his side. The right-hander is 7-4 with a 3.01 ERA in 13 starts this year. (Richard Griffin, Toronto Star)

“It was getting sorer in the game but nothing I couldn’t pitch with. Then the pop happened.”
—Blue Jays starter Kyle Drabek, who was pulled from his start against on Wednesday night due to elbow pain. Many have speculated that Tommy John surgery might be necessary to repair the apparent damage, making it Drabek’s second such operation. (Mark Zwolinski, Toronto Star)

“The nature of the injury is elbow discomfort, and we’ll have a better read on it (Saturday). Anything else right now is just speculation.”
—Farrell, on Drew Hutchison, who was pulled from Friday’s start after throwing just nine pitches, making him the third Toronto starter to fall victim to a spontaneous injury this week. (Mark Zwolinski, Toronto Star)

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen two pitchers (Drabek and Hutchison) go down like that. It’s tough to see something like that, especially when he’s so young. Hopefully it’s not that bad.”
—Blue Jays reliever Carlos Villanueva, on Hutchison and his team’s truly astounding misfortune of late.

“We performed an exorcism on the mound last night.”
—Farrell, who has apparently retained his sense of humor despite losing his third starter to injury within the past week on Friday night. (Brendan Kennedy, Toronto Star)

MUST BE SOMETHING IN THE WATER... LITERALLY
“I drank some warm water before I came into the game and it didn’t sit well.”
—Indians closer Chris Perez, who promptly vomited after closing the door for a 4-1 Indians win over the St. Louis Cardinals last Sunday. (Paul Hoynes, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“That’s all right as long as he gets the save.”
—Indians manager Manny Acta. (Paul Hoynes, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

PERFECT CAIN
“This is incredible right now. It’s starting to settle in right now a little bit. Being able to celebrate with the guys in the clubhouse and enjoy it was something I’ll never, ever forget. It was unbelievable from the beginning. The guys did a great job of making it relaxing because they were able to get on the board early and keep scoring runs. There’s nothing better than that.”
Matt Cain, speaking in the post-game news conference after pitching the franchise’s first perfect game. (Alex Pavlovic, Mercury News)

“It felt like the World Series. But it even felt a little bit louder.”
—Cain (Zachary Levine, Houston Chronicle)

“Matt didn’t know it. I had somebody ready. But once it got to the eighth we had no problems. I was going to let Matt go 130 pitches, maybe more.”
—Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who had warmed up Shane Loux in the bullpen, unbeknown to Cain. (Pavlovic, Mercury News)

“I've been facing Matt since 2004, and he's one of the best pitchers I faced in the minor leagues, and in the majors as well. I don't have a hit against him yet; I'm 0-fer against him. He's tough to beat; he's a horse. He's a good competitor, and he's fun to watch and play behind him.”
—Giants outfielder Angel Pagan, on his previous experiences as an opponent of Cain’s. (Jay Lee, MLB.com)

“It's a wonder he hasn’t lost all the marbles in his head, all those times he got nothing because we didn't score for him. It's a testament to the kind of person he is that he never once complained or even mentioned it. He's as grounded as anyone we have, in just about every way.”
—General manager Brian Sabean, on the lack of run support from the Giants’ offense in Cain’s starts. (Monte Pool, Mercury News)

“He asked me what I want—a watch, car, house. I just told him I’m always there for you. What happens between those lines happens for a reason.”
—Outfielder Gregor Blanco, who made the signature catch that saved Cain’s perfect game. (Pavlovic, Mercury News)

TALKING PARK EFFECTS
“[Coors] is different, that's all I can say. It's no excuse; everybody has to throw here too. It's very different than what I've experienced. The effect it has on some of my pitches has been more than I've expected. It's part of the equation, not something I'd use as a crutch.”
—Struggling Rockies starter Jeremy Guthrie on the unforgiving elevated air effects of Coors Field. (Trey Scott, MLB.com)

“You've got the roof open on a night like tonight and the ball's not going to go anywhere. You've got to get it down the lines if it's going to happen.”
—Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak, whose long fly balls have fallen short of home runs in spacious Safeco Field. (Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times)

TWITTER

—One scout seems to think the five-time defending NL East champions might need to think about making a few moves. The Phillies stand dead last in the division, nine games behind the division-leading Nationals. (Jon Morosi, @jonmorosi, FoxSports.com)

—The Cubs pick up perhaps their best win of 2012 when they won the bidding for Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler. Soler’s deal is worth at least $30 million over nine years. (Joel Sherman, @Joelsherman1, New York Post)

—Rays’ Manager Joe Maddon on his decision to use Hideki Matsui on June 12. Matsui went 1-for-3 with a walk and is now 7-for-28 with a .323 average in games played on his birthday. (Joe Maddon, @RaysJoeMaddon)

—The White Sox may be the biggest surprise of 2012, as they boast a 35-30 record and a 1.5-game lead over the second place Indians in the AL Central. (Daryl Van Schouwen, @CST_soxvan, Chicago Sun Times)

—Peter Abraham isn’t alone in thinking that the Red Sox are playing with fire by using Adrian Gonzalez in right field.

THE REST
“I’m not answering that. That’s a clown question, bro.”
Bryce Harper, 19, when asked if he might enjoy a beer after his 3-4 night against the Blue Jays, considering he can imbibe legally in the Great White North. (Erin Valois, National Post)

“I don’t think any of you guys thought he’d be sitting on 19 home runs right now, when we’re still in June. He gets big hits. He’s a smart player. He just loves the game. He loves to talk about the game. He’s talking shop all the time with these guys and that makes everybody better.”
—Cardinals manager Mike Matheny on outfielder Carlos Beltran’s season so far. Beltran later became the first switch hitter to steal 300 bases and hit 300 home runs. (Bernie Miklasz, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

“I guess today maybe I was a little more conscious of making sure I stayed through the ball and behind it with proper rotation. It didn’t feel any different than most days of catch. In all honesty, it could be just me maybe trying to do a little too much out there on the mound with what I have instead of just throwing it to the glove. I’m maybe just nibbling a little too much. … I don’t know if my shoulder just opened up more or something a few weeks ago and it’s allowing me to throw a little bit harder. Maybe that’s part of it, too. Maybe I'm trying to overdo it a little too much and that's where the extra velocity's coming from, and the movement and lack of control. Maybe if I just stay fluid, trust my stuff and go right after guys the way I have in the past I'll get back to normal me.”
—Brewers pitcher John Axford on his struggles and recent increase in velocity. (Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

“When you beat a guy who can throw 105 miles an hour, that's pretty good.”
—Tigers manager Jim Leyland, on his team’s come-from-behind victory over the Reds last Sunday, keyed by a pivotal eighth-inning rally off hard-throwing reliever Aroldis Chapman. (Tom Gage, Detroit News)

“I mean, yeah, it was exciting. I wasn’t like any more getting ready for the game or anything, but probably it started earlier, where when I woke up I was probably a little more excited than usual.”
—Brewers starter Zack Greinke, who allowed just one run on six hits and struck out eight in his return to Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday night. The Royals eked out a 2-1 victory. (Bob Dutton, Kansas City Star)

“I want to apologize, by the way, not to Tigers fans, mind you, but for saying at the end there that Tigers fans suck. Because a.) I draw very well in Detroit. b.) I have respect for the Tigers. But c.) They’re irritating me today. I don't like using the word ‘suck,’ but they made me angry. There are too many of them. I’m not used to that at Wrigley.”
—Actor Jeff Garlin, who shouted “Tigers fans suck” to close out an inflammatory rendition of ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ during Thursday’s seventh-inning stretch at Wrigley Field. (James Jahnke, Detroit Free Press)

“You know, I used to dwell on stuff like that. We all have our own plans, our own timetables. I had to be patient. I think it's made me a better player, a hungrier player because of it, playing for as long as I did in the minor leagues, maturing as a player, maturing as a person.”
A.J. Ellis, whose long minor-league career was finally rewarded this season with the regular catching job for the league-leading Dodgers. (Dylan Hernandez, Los Angeles Times)

“I was playing better.  I got my timing, I got my rhythm. But there wasn’t a place for me to play. What can I do? I don’t own the team. [...] Of course I hope I find a place to play, that’s why I got ready in the offseason. This is a fun game. I want to keep playing, why not?”
Manny Ramirez, who requested a release from the Athletics this week, still in search of a major-league return. (Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle)

“If we felt differently, we would do it. We think the best thing is to let him fight through this. [...] The kid is fighting. He’s doing all he can to come out of this. Every start he makes, you’re hoping that’s the start. He’s taking it hard, but at the same time he hasn’t lost any fight in him.
—Giants manager Bruce Bochy, on Tim Lincecum’s season-long struggles. Lincecum has recorded only two quality starts this season. (Alex Pavlovic, Mercury News)

“I just swing hard in case I accidentally hit something.”
—Giants starter Madison Bumgarner, who hit a no-doubt home run which snapped a streak of 16 games without a Giant home run at AT&T Park. (Alex Pavlovic, Mercury News)

“From the time I started with the Mariners as an intern to the last time I saw him at the Hall of Fame induction [for Gillick last year], the level of kindness was just spectacular. In our old building, everything was very cramped. And Roger wasn't always in the office, but when he was, they carved his space into our ticket office.”
—Mariners baseball information director Tim Hevly, on ex-scouting director Roger Jongewaard’s death.  Jongewaard influenced the drafting of not only Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez, but Tino Martinez, Jason Varitek, Adam Jones, and many others over his professional baseball career of over 40 years. (Greg Johns, MLB.com)

“It’s not a bad car, but if you look close at the windows, it’s filled up. I hope nobody breaks in.”
—Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli, who has kept his possessions in his car since being demoted to Triple-A just before Opening Day. (Jon Heyman, CBS Sports)

“A lot of players, they don't have any job. I feel blessed to have a job. Unfortunately, it's at Triple-A. I think I can play in the big leagues. I'm doing everything I can to show people who don't believe I can play there that they are wrong.”
—Cervelli on trying to make it back to the majors. His demotion came as a shock, as he’s a fan-favorite in New York and a more-than-capable backup catcher.

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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