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August 13, 2012

The Week in Quotes

August 6-12

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

NITKOWSKI EYEING BIG-LEAGUE RETURN
“The goal for me when I came [to Binghamton] was to test the sidearm out and see what kind of reaction I would get from the hitters, and the things that I needed to see were swings and misses from lefties and ground balls from righties, and so far that's happening.”
Pitcher C.J. Nitkowski, who was recently promoted to Triple-A Buffalo, is attempting a big-league comeback with the Mets at age 39. (Andrew Simon, MLB.com)

“I've been really pleasantly surprised with how I've felt, and the reaction I've got from hitters. More swings and misses than I expected, so that's obviously a good thing.”
—Nitkowski

“I knew I needed to bring something new to the table. I'd always wanted to try sidearm, but I didn't want to be done with baseball without having tried it full-time.”
—Nitkowski

“You know, I would almost equate it to a knuckleball. You do it to extend your career and keep pitching, just [to] find another way.”
—Nitkowski on changing deliveries.

“A lot of those hitters will tell you about the kind of stuff a guy has sometimes by how they swing against him, and lefties haven't liked him too much.”
—Binghamton Mets pitching coach Glenn Abbott

MANNY* BEING MANNY*
“It was great. I've dreamed about that my whole life, about going out there and getting that curtain call and second game in the big leagues I get it. I was great.”
—Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, who smacked two home runs in just his second big-league game on Friday night. The 20-year-old, who was drafted third overall in 2010, would notch his third career big fly on Sunday afternoon. (Eduardo A. Encina, Baltimore Sun)

“It's one of those nights that you're really honored and lucky just to watch. I look at it more from a city of Baltimore standpoint. He'll put it behind him and realize there's another challenge tomorrow.”
—Orioles manager Buck Showalter on Machado’s impressive performance.

“Yeah, it's a new era. We haven't won in a long time and this ballclub has been winning without me. And hopefully now that I'm up here I can contribute to the team and help them start winning. Buck brought me up for a reason, and it was to help this team. So I'm going to do anything I can to help this team and try to make a playoff [game].”
—Machado

“It was the best feeling ever. The crowd here loves me, and for them to support me like that, after my first home run, it just felt great.”
—Machado

ROENICKE LETS OFF SOME STEAM
“Give me some options. You harp on me about this, but you don't have any options for me.”
—Brewers manager Ron Roenicke hit back at reporters who questioned him about the Brewers’ struggling bullpen. (Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

“It's a hard thing to do when you don't have two or three guys who are throwing well. When you have two or three guys, you can cover the games that you're winning. When you don't have that many guys throwing well, you can't cover all the innings every night. That's impossible. Do people feel better about us blowing a game in the seventh inning, or do they feel better losing in the ninth? Is there really a difference when you lose the game? To me, it's a loss.”
—Roenicke

“Let's talk about the eighth and ninth. Why is losing in the ninth easier than losing in the eighth? What if you have a great closer and so-so setup people? You'd rather use your setup people in the eighth and never get to the ninth to get to your best pitcher? I think losing in the eighth is just as bad as the ninth. The ninth is only important because people talk about saves and blown saves.”
—Roenicke

‘I CAUGHT YOU’
“I said, ‘I caught you,’ and he kind of froze up. I knew we only had a few minutes to get to them before they split and they tried taking off, but fortunately security got to them first.”
—Cardinals manager Mike Matheny caught a fan who pointed a laser at San Francisco pitcher Shane Loux during a Matt Holliday at-bat. The 17-year-old was arrested and booked for peace disturbance at an athletic event. (B.J. Rains, Fox Sports)

“In between innings, I saw it glance across the ground again and I looked up and I caught the kid, so I called security over and pointed him out and they went up and took care of it.”
—Matheny told umpire Marvin Hudson, “It's on my side so I'm going to keep looking.”

“It's a crazy world right now, and you start seeing lasers in big crowds, to me, I don't think the kid knew the severity of what he was really doing. There were a couple things that could have gone bad there. It wasn't like he did it the one time and was like, ‘Oh that probably wasn't a good idea,’ because the whole dugout jumped up and tried to find him, and then he kept doing it.”
—Matheny

BAY OFFICIALLY IN PLATOON
“We watch him on a daily basis hit balls in the upper deck, and it sounds like it might be easy because it's batting practice, but you've got to supply the power in batting practice because it's 60 mph as compared to 90 in a game. We know it's still in there. We've just got to somehow get him back in.”
—Mets manager Terry Collins on left fielder Jason Bay, who will officially be part of a platoon. (Adam Rosenbloom and Ethan Asofsky, MLB.com)

“If I had a better leg to stand on, I could say something. But, as of right, now, I don't. I don't want to be a distraction. I want to go out there and help out anyway I can. That is kind of the position that I'm in.”
—Bay, who was hitting .150/.239/.271 in 140 at-bats going into Sunday night’s game. (Andrew Marchand, ESPN New York)

“Certainly, there are times when it is appropriate to eat a contract. There are other times when it is not. Jason Bay is not going anywhere, nor is his contract.”
—Mets general manager Sandy Alderson

LEYLAND ENDORSES MIGGY FOR MVP, EARTH CONTINUES TO SPIN
“In my opinion, Miggy is the MVP. Although you have time to play yet—there is time left in the season—but if the voting was today, Miguel Cabrera is the MVP.”
—Tigers manager Jim Leyland on who should win AL MVP. (ESPN.com)

“I mean this respectfully. I don't mean this disrespectfully—I think what could be a little problem for Miggy ... he could run into one of these Wonderboy stories. You know—a young kid, 20 years old, everybody gets excited about that, everybody loves that. It has a nice ring to hit, it should have. So I think that's dangerous for Miggy.”
—Leyland

“Trout is one of the best young players I've ever seen. But at the same time, I think when you do it over a period of time—a little bit longer—I think that should have something to say about it.”
—Leyland

“I think the numbers that Miggy has had over his career, and he's putting up unbelievable numbers again this year, I think that should be a part of it. Although this certainly is a great story with the Trout kid, because he's unbelievable.”
—Leyland

CLEVELAND WINS A GAME, EARTH FALLS OFF AXIS
“I knew we were going to win another game. We weren't going to go like 0-73.”
—Indians outfielder Shelley Duncan, on his team’s much-needed 6-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night, which snapped the Tribe’s losing streak at 11 games. (Paul Hoynes, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“I'm sure there is relief in all of Cleveland and every Cleveland fan in the country. It's like, ‘Ahhhhhhh, we can win.’”
—Indians starter Justin Masterson

“A losing streak like that is hard to kick. It's like a virus. You just can't sweat it out. I just hope we can turn this into something positive for us.”
—Indians reliever Vinnie Pestano

FROM CLOWN QUESTIONS TO BOZO COMMENTS
“I was surprised he stayed in. Then he made a great play and ends up with the biggest hit. We all know he’s a tough guy and he can play with a lot of pain, but I’m not sure about tomorrow.”
—Athletics manager Bob Melvin on Brandon Inge, who dislocated his shoulder Saturday and simply put it back in place with a tug to remain in the game. (Susan Slusser, SFGate.com)

“They know I want to play. I'm stubborn. I'm planning on playing. Obviously, if I feel like I'm going to be a detriment to the team, I won't play. If I feel like I have something to offer, I'll play through some pain.”
Inge, who ended up sitting out Sunday’s game. (Jane Lee, MLB.com)

“He’s pretty active on Twitter, and I don’t follow Twitter. From my end, I don’t get hung up on that stuff. Kind of a Bozo comment by him. No one’s bigger than the game. There are 30 organizations. I don’t know why you’ve got to bag on any of them. That’s for him to have in his back pocket.”
—Outfielder Jonny Gomes on Angels starter C.J. Wilson’s old comments regarding his displeasure for pitching in Oakland. (Bill Plunkett, The Orange County Register)

“I think teams should have their young guys watch him, to see how he does it. He challenges you. He throws 90 percent-plus fastballs with good movement. He bores it in on your hands and then works it off the plate. His two-seamer looks like a ball and then comes back across the corner. You have to stay in an aggressive mindset with him, because you don't want him getting you in a bad count.”
—Angels slugger Mark Trumbo, with a glowing scouting report on 39-year-old Bartolo Colon. (Lyle Spencer, MLB.com)

“I have good preparation when I'm going to pitch against a team I know like the Angels. I know they're going to be aggressive, play hard all the time and never give up. They're battlers, so you have to battle against them.”
Colon, reciprocating respect to the Angels hitters.

SCOUTING THE WEST DIVISION TRADE ACQUISITIONS
“He can be better defensively; he's spent a couple days with [third-base coach Matt Williams] working. He tends to get the ball close to his body instead of out where he can see it. You lose your view of it. You want to keep your eyes on it and go get the ball. Watch [Nationals third baseman] Ryan Zimmerman, he's really good. That first step is important.”
—Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson on new third baseman Chris Johnson’s defense. (Tyler Emrick, MLB.com)

“I don't think we've really had any issue. The first two innings of the first game were a little slow, just getting on the same page, but after that it started flowing a lot better. I started getting a feel of what he liked to do. It's going to continue to get better over time.”
—Angels catcher Chris Iannetta, on developing a rapport with Zack Greinke. (Ben Estes, MLB.com)

“Get the right location on the right count, getting a good visual, let them execute a pitch, and then all those other things will start to fall in place. I think [Iannetta and Greinke] are on the same page as far as that regard, but it's a work in progress, and it will be for a while until you find some chemistry, and then you keep building on that.”
Mike Scioscia

“He's a big-time major-league catcher, he's not some rookie. He's dealing with a new staff, but he has a feel for hitters. We're very fortunate to have him. He's done a good job getting familiarized with our pitchers.”
—Rangers manager Ron Washington on new catcher Geovany Soto, who will take on regular catching duties with Mike Napoli on the DL. (Christian Corona, MLB.com)

“He has a tendency to pull hard to the side and his arm drags behind him. We're trying to get him to stay back on his right leg longer, stride the front leg out farther, and he'll stay in line with the target. It should be an easy fix.”
—Dodgers bullpen coach Ken Howell on newly-acquired reliever Brandon League. (Ken Gurnick, MLB.com)

“We talk about the evolution of Chase, and we're seeing some changes in his game. He's doing a lot of things that makes him an improving player, there was a time when people were at times critical of him, maybe he's too patient. Now you're seeing it's a combination of first-pitch swings, Saturday night was a first-pitch homer. We are seeing aggressive swings, and with that comes the pitchers can't just throw the ball in there like they did a couple years ago, where he gave pitchers a first-pitch strike.”
—Padres manager Bud Black, with a bonus quote on his highly coveted third baseman Chase Headley, who ultimately stayed in San Diego. (George Von Benko, MLB.com)

TWITTER

—Nationals skipper Davey Johnson has been in the game a long time. If he thinks hugs are the answer, then hugs must be the answer. (Amanda Comak, @acomak, Washington Times)

—Luhnow’s Astros did not disappoint! Houston, in the midst of a less-than-stellar season, hasn’t given Luhnow much to feel good about this season.

—Bay’s struggles have been well-documented in recent years. Still just 33, the outfielder isn’t ready to quit on the skills that earned him a spot on three all-star teams. (Adam Rubin, @AdamRubin, ESPN New York)

—Phillies outfielder Dominic Brown must have confused Brian McCann with someone else. (Mark Bowman, @mlbbowman, MLB.com)

—Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson recognizes the awesomeness of Andrew McCutchen, who’s batting .362/.422/.609 on the season. (Nick Piecoro, @nickpiecoro, Arizona Republic)

THE REST
“It's a stolen base, and I'm going to have it in my house so that everybody knows that I at least have one. I'm pretty proud of it and I got a pretty good jump, that's for sure.”
—Braves catcher David Ross recorded his first stolen base in his 11th season. He kept the second-base bag as a souvenir. (Mark Bowman, MLB.com)

“I think it says a lot for a manager to come out, whether the player is wrong or not, just to show that he’s got our backs and we are all in this together. Being a player, when you are caught in the moment, things are going to happen, and you’re not always going to be right. To have a guy come out and kind of take the heat off you at that point is huge.”
—Pirates shortstop Clint Barmes on manager Clint Hurdle and how players feel when their manager takes the field to argue a call with umpires. (John Grupp, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

“Pujols came from a different league. It was tough enough for me making the change, and I didn't have to change leagues. He had to learn new pitchers, new parks—backdrops, angles, grass, everything. It's all new to him. That's why it took him a while. He struggled for a while, but we knew it wouldn't stop him.”
—Angels outfielder Torii Hunter, offering a possible explanation for Albert Pujols’ slow start. (Lyle Spencer, MLB.com)

“Uh-oh. ... He caught the blinkin' ball. He caught the darn ball. Uh-oh, he's gone. That is blinkin' fertilizer.”
—Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully, lip-reading and calling an ejection of Rockies manager Jim Tracy. (Troy E. Renck, The Denver Post)

“She kind of likes that retro '50s feel that this ballpark has, that really no other ballpark has. And no other ballpark has the palm trees and the San Gabriel Mountains. These are the things she would like to build on.”
—Dodgers president Stan Kasten on Janet Marie Smith, who will oversee a renovating of Dodger Stadium this winter. (Dylan Hernandez, Los Angeles Times)

“If you look around, you always see people taking their phones out when they've got a couple of minutes. It's good for free time, especially on some of the trips we have.”
—Giants catcher Buster Posey on an addicting mobile app modeled after him: Buster Bash. The app has taken control of his teammates’ phones on road trips. (Alex Pavlovic, MercuryNews.com)

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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