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March 11, 2013

The Week in Quotes

March 4-10

by Pete Barrett, Hudson Belinsky, Jonah Birenbaum and Andrew Koo

MO WILL CALL IT QUITS AFTER 2013
"They were always saying I am going to retire for the last 10 years, and I might play another five more years. No, I won't. This is it. I made my decision before coming to spring training."
—Longtime Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who announced his intention to retire after the 2013 season on Saturday. The 38-year-old owns the all-time saves record with 608, and compiled a 2.21 ERA over an astonishing 18-year career. (Adam Berry, MLB.com)

"It's not so easy when you come to a decision like this. But I would love to say that it has been a privilege and honor to wear the pinstriped uniform that I have proudly worn for so many years in good times, great times. It has been wonderful."
—Rivera, the putative greatest closer of all time, who also owns the best post-season ERA (0.70) ever.

“I’m not sad, to tell the truth. I’m happy that I was able to do it. But I don’t want no one, no fans or no members of my family, to be sad.”
Rivera (David Waldstein, New York Times)

“Every minute I was in this uniform until the day that I retire was great. Then, the last day that I throw my last pitch, I will be more proud of that than anything.”
—Rivera

“He’s irreplaceable.”
—Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.

THE INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE
“It was fun. Stuff like that always brings people together, teams together. It is what it is. It’s a baseball brawl. Media loves it. Fans love it. That’s it.”
—Canadian pitcher Chris Leroux, whose team engaged in a massive benches-clearing brawl with Mexico during Saturday’s WBC contest. The Canadians ended up downing Mexico 10-3. (Tyler Harper, Globe and Mail)

"This is an experience that a lot of guys who have never been here will never experience again—it's something I may never experience again. I don't know what the postseason is like, but every out means something. It's fun."
—Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo on what it’s like playing for team Italy in the World Baseball Classic. He expected to be back playing Cactus League games Sunday. Instead, Rizzo is headed to the second round of the tournament. (Carrie Muskat, MLB.com)

TWITTER

—Ebullient Cleveland Indians newcomer Nick Swisher, impressed with Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, who sustained a broken ankle after a skydiving accident this week.

—Even with young flamethrower Bruce Rondon appearing to be further from the majors than the Tigers anticipated, former closer Jose Valverde still isn’t an option. (Tom Gage, @Tom_Gage, Detroit News)

—Rollins hoped that the Italian team would celebrate its victory over Team Canada so much that it would affect their play the next day, when Team Italy took on Team USA. (Danny Knobler, @DKnobler, CBSSports.com)

—Pirates catching prospect Tony Sanchez on fellow Bucs prospect Jameson Taillon’s whereabouts during the skirmish between Team Canada and Team Mexico. (Tony Sanchez, @Tony26Montana, Pittsburgh Pirates)

THE REST
“I think I broke my ankle. But it was an awesome experience.”
—Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, whose text-message diagnosis was pretty close—he ended up breaking his leg and dislocating his ankle—after a skydiving accident on Monday. The injury did nothing to diminish the executive’s enjoyment; he was jumping to raise awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization that assists wounded soldiers. (David Waldstein, New York Times)

“I wanted to sort of get out there and prove myself. Hopefully, I’ll be up there soon.”
—Mets pitching prospect Zack Wheeler, on being demoted to the minor leagues. He was limited to just one start this spring because of an oblique injury. (Andrew Keh, New York Times)

"I'll tell you, man, I love putting him in that lineup. Every opportunity I have to put him in there, I get him in there. He gives you a great at-bat. It doesn't matter who he faces. Believe me, we go around and around [on where he'll start the season]. That's something that we'll have to talk about."
—Marlins manager Mike Redmond on Christian Yelich’s big spring. Yelich is hitting .379 with three doubles, two homers and 9 RBI. (Paul Hagen, MLB.com)

“Personally, I feel great. There are 162 games, and I definitely want to be able to go 120 to 135.”
—Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz on his hopes to catch as many games as he can at his advanced age of 36. Ruiz will start the year serving a 25-game suspension. (Dennis Deitch, Times Herald)

“I ain’t worried about nothing. We know we got a good team. We’ve got to keep working and working. Spring training offensively is for the very young and guys who played Winter Ball.”
Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker on not being worried after the Reds 2-11 start to spring training. (John Fay, Cincinnati.com)

"He's handled second base very nicely. He's making all the plays [and] turning a real good double play. Hands are good. Feet are good. He's done some nice things. You can tell this guy is a baseball player. He's calm on the field. He's got good instincts. He's comfortable on the diamond and he's comfortable in a big-league environment. He's a self-assured, self-confident young guy."
Padres manager Bud Black, on youngster Jedd Gyorko’s spring progress. (Spencer Fordin, MLB.com)

"It was a big pitch for me in '06 and '07, and after my surgery I didn't really throw it a whole lot. I started messing around with it a little last year and kind of made it a priority this year. [...] Most of them had the good break and tilt we were looking for. The first two weren't that great."
Diamondbacks closer J.J. Putz, who is working on bringing back a slider this spring. (Steve Gilbert, MLB.com)

“Bo and I are talking about it constantly, and upstairs we’re hypothesizing on scenarios on who makes the club and what it means for everybody else. Our conversations will different today than they will a week from now and then they will at the end of March. If spring would end today, what we would we do? We have that conversations every couple of days.”
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, on shaping his team’s roster as spring training continues. (Brian McTaggart, MLB.com)

"If we don't win and we're healthy, they really should look at it. This team has a lot of talent. My job, and my coaches' job, is to get them to play the game right. If we can't get them to play the game right, they may have the wrong voice. There's a ton of talent here."
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, putting the responsibility on himself to harvest the bounty of talent on the team’s roster. (Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times)

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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