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August 6, 2012

The Week in Quotes

July 30-August 5

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

REDS ON A ROLL
“It's like a playoff atmosphere in here almost every day.”
—Reds manager Dusty Baker on his team's recent string of success. On Saturday, the Reds won their 22nd game out of their last 25, the franchise's best streak since the 1890s. (Mark Clements, MLB.com)

“My daughter was very concerned. She thought I was depressed about losing my hair. But my only emotion was curiosity. I was wondering how my head would look bald. if you have a certain shape about your head that's conducive to being bald, it lessens the concern. At the end of the day it's not that bad. It's not as bad as I thought it would be.”
—Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman made good on a promise to shave his head if Cincinnati won 10 consecutive games. (Rory Glenn, Cincinnati Enquirer)

REYES KEEPING STREAK ALIVE
“When we put him batting third. I told him, 'Don't change your game. You're not an RBI guy. You're not a power guy. Just play the way you play. Don't change anything for us. If you need to bunt, you bunt. If you have to move a guy over, move him over.’ ”
—Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen on Jose Reyes’ 23-game hitting streak, despite having moved the shortstop down to third in the lineup. (Joe Frisaro, MLB.com)

“That's what he's doing now, he's swinging the bat well. That's part of his game, bunting. I hope he continues to do that. That's a huge weapon for him, and for us. We're going to need him on base.”
—Guillen

“That’s how baseball is sometimes. Baseball is crazy. It’s shocking because we went to spring training with high expectations. That team we had on Opening Day was a pretty good team. As a player ... you need to continue to play, continue to go on the field, don’t worry about what happened, how many guys the team is trading.”
—Reyes on extending his streak to 22 games with bunts in both games of a doubleheader on Friday. (Clark Spencer, The Miami Herald)

WHEN DRESS CODES ARE BROKEN
“That's funny. At the time you get mad, but what can I do? I'm not going to fight with anybody in here. We're a family in here. Sometimes they do it to be happy, have fun.”
—Mets rookie Jordany Valdespin arrived at AT&T Park on Wednesday in a plain white T-shirt, violating the club's self-imposed dress code. His teammates sought to teach the young player a lesson by cutting tassels into the sleeves. Although he was visibly angry after finding his shirt, Valdespin wore the altered shirt around the clubhouse before Thursday's game. (Anthony DiComo, MLB.com)

“He thought it was OK to wear a white T-shirt to the ballpark. This is the big leagues. So the guys said, 'No, we dress nicer than that.' They made the message.”
—Mets manager Terry Collins

“I would never do that. You know why? Because you've got to respect everybody. The example here is this guy, David Wright. He's the captain of the team. He respects everybody.”
—Valdespin on what he would do if roles were reversed.

BRAND NEW LOWE
“I'm not going to be making knee-jerk reactions right after the game. We have to analyze things. It's been rough for a while now. We have to look at our options.”
—Indians manager Manny Acta on how he would respond to another disappointing outing from starter Derek Lowe. The seasoned right-hander was ultimately designated for assignment after going 2-8 with an 8.28 ERA over his past 13 starts. (Paul Hoynes, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“It's been live BP (batting practice) for the last two months. No excuses. I can't say I got a bad break here or there. That would be a lie.”
—Lowe, offering a frank appraisal of his recent performance.

“It's been awful. It's mistake after mistake after mistake. It's been tale of two months. The first two months to where I am now.”
—Lowe

HUNTER THE GIANT
“We laid most of our groundwork before the break, and things picked up conversationally with teams we might match up with thereafter. [...] Right now, we need all the help we can get in a lot of areas because of the losing streak. I don’t know if we’re as bad as we’ve played. It’s kind of reminiscent of before the break when we hit a lull. But we came out of the break refreshed and came out to a pretty good start. It seemed like after you watched the first Dodger game—I don’t know if it was the day off or loss (that preceded it)—but we looked like a different team.”
Giants general manager Brian Sabean, with his thoughts on bringing Hunter Pence to San Francisco. (Henry Schulman, SFGate.com)

“Let me think about how to describe this. It’s like being born again or something. It’s a new life. Your whole world changes in an instant, and it’s exciting to be on a team in first place. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s a close race, so you couldn’t ask for much more as a ballplayer, and hopefully I can help.”
Hunter Pence (Carl Stewart, MercuryNews.com)

“When you’re a visiting player? Yeah. Chicago and here are the two wildest, craziest. There’s good hecklers here in San Fran. I’ve had a couple interesting ones here. There was some lady and she called me Bird Legs all the time. She’d go, `Hey, BIRRRRD Legs, you can’t hit the ball out of the infield, loser. Don’t you know you can’t show your shortcomings? Pull your pants down!’ Pretty funny, right?”
Pence on his experiences being a visitor player at AT&T Park.

“I felt like I was on a short leash. I felt like I was series-to-series, if you didn’t get a hit you were back on the bench. We didn’t see eye to eye. But overall, San Francisco treated me great. I have a lot of great memories.”
Nate Schierholtz, one of the three players going to Philadelphia in the trade. (Jim Salisbury, CSNPhilly.com)

MIKE OLT GETS THE CALL-UP
“We’ve been looking to strengthen the bench and put our best club out there. Listening to our people, we feel that Mike can help in a role on this team. [...] We wanted to give Mike a chance. We felt he’s earned it. He’s a good athlete and a baseball player. He’s going to figure some of those things out. There’s going to be a learning curve, but we wouldn’t have brought him up if we didn’t think he was ready.”
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels on promoting top prospect Mike Olt from Double-A. (Gerry Fraley, dallasnews.com)

“He's never going to be a slap hitter. That's not his game, but like a lot of guys with power, strikeouts are going to be part of his game. He's going to continue to make adjustments and learn. Understanding that, we felt he was someone who could help the club.”
Daniels (Jeff Wilson, Star-Telegram)

“He is ... legit. He's just going to be perfect for our team. He's always out there playing hard-core and trying to get after it. Why wouldn't you want a guy like that? It's pretty sweet.”
Reliever Robbie Ross, who played with Olt in High-A. (Drew Davison, Star-Telegram)

“To have [general manager Jon Daniels] and all of our guys trust me does mean a lot, and that's going to help me settle in here. I want to make sure I live up to the expectations and I don't want to let anyone down, so I'm going to continue to work hard and try to do my best.”
Olt

TWITTER

—Athletics manager Bob Melvin, stating his confidence in his pitching staff despite the major additions of their division rivals. (Jane Lee, @JaneMLB, MLB.com)

—Torii Hunter and Dan Haren, with some humor when thunder struck in Chicago, interrupting the Angels’ batting practice. (Mike DiGiovanna, @MikeDiGiovanna, Los Angeles Times)

—The Dodgers’ GM pulled the trigger on a trade for Shane Victorino the next day, and acquired Joe Blanton a few days later. (Ramona Shelburne, @ramonashelburne, ESPN Los Angeles)

—Huntington and the Pirates are going for it this year. When Pittsburgh last had a winning season (in 1992), current BP interns were still in diapers. (Shi Davidi, @ShiDavidi, SportsNet)

—Reds star Joey Votto, who was thought to be making an early return from injury, has a rather unscientific approach to keeping his hands strong. (John Fay, @johnfayman, Cincinnati Enquirer)

—Werth is hanging onto the 0.1 percent chance that his former club has to make the postseason. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. (Matt Gelb, @magelb, Philadelphia Inquirer)

THE REST
“It's possible the more often we get him out there, the better we're going to do. But we've got to take into account what effect that would have not just this year on R.A. and on the rest of the pitching staff, but also what effect that would have on R.A. going into next year. So that's very much just in the discussion stage at this point.”
—Mets general manager Sandy Alderson on the team’s plans to possibly extend knuckleballer R.A. Dickey’s workload. (Anthony DiComo, MLB.com)

“He's one of the best catch-throw defensive catchers in the game. We feel that his upside with the bat is going to be good. He's hot right now. He hit very well in July, so we think we're getting a hot hitter that can handle the staff and a guy who's in the Gold Glove conversation each and every year he's been a major leaguer.”
—Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo on acquiring catcher Kurt Suzuki from Oakland. (Adam Berry, MLB.com)

“Like I never missed a step. It was good. Those minor-league fields, they're kind of spongy, so it was good to get back on a hard surface. I felt like I was ready. I didn't really see what the point was to continue to play games in the minor leagues. I wasn't getting a whole lot out of those. If we were going to wait for me to get into 100 percent game shape ... if I wanted to wait up to 20 [days], I could have, but I felt good at the plate and felt like I could help the team. I felt ready.”
—Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth on returning from the disabled list. (Adam Berry, MLB.com)

“You get tired of hearing about it and you want to have closure. Now ... at least you know where you're going to be. It's not easy to go out and play with that in the back of your mind. But it seemed like it [trade rumors] got a lot of legs. You try not to pay attention to it but it's unavoidable. It was everywhere ... it wasn't a whole lot of fun.”
—Padres third baseman and top trade target Chase Headley, on his relief of the trade deadline passing. (Corey Brock, MLB.com)

“I am glad to be staying here. I don't know if there's a better place elsewhere. This place is good for me. But I don't want to deal with this next year. I want us to be in a situation where we are bringing guys back, not letting them go.”
—Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt, on staying with the last-place team for the rest of the season. (Troy E. Renck, The Denver Post)

“I'm having more fun than I did as a younger player. I appreciate it more now because I know I'm not going to play forever. When I was a rookie and in the first couple years, I didn't appreciate it so much because I was trying so hard to stay in the big leagues.”
—Dodgers Jerry Hairston Jr., on the major-league job security with embracing the super utility role. (Andrew Owens, Los Angeles Times)

“It was a great game on both sides. They got to our closer. We got to theirs. A lot of fun all around. But at the same time—broke my heart.”
—Angels outfielder Torii Hunter, on a thrilling West division battle where the Rangers came back from a six-run deficit to win in extra innings, 11-10. (Bill Plunkett, The Orange County Register)

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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