June 3, 2013
The Week in Quotes
May 27-June 2
MLB PAYS TRIBUTE TO DR. LEWIS YOCUM
“He saved a lot of guys' careers, he fixed a lot of guys and did a lot for the game of baseball. Obviously, he saved my career, and I wouldn't be here without him.”
—Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann (Bill Ladson and Tom Schad, MLB.com)
“I wanted the guy who has done the most and had the most success. I wanted to hopefully prolong my career, which he did with that surgery.”
—Cardinals pitcher Jake Westbrook, on why he chose Yocum to work on his injured elbow in 2008. (Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
"Dr. Yocum has been my partner for 35 years. It's almost like losing a brother or a member of your family."
—Dr. Frank Jobe, who performed the first Tommy John surgery in 1974. (Tim Brown, Yahoo! Sports)
SUPERSTAR, MEDIOCRE BACK-UP CATCHER HAVE SUPERSTAR GAMES
“It's tough to have a night like that and not be able to celebrate and have fun with it, because we lost. I've been swinging the bat better, and tonight everything came together in one game. Hopefully, we can keep swinging the bats like we have the last few days.”
—Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, on going deep three times against Baltimore on the same night as Navarro. (Bill Ladson, MLB.com)
“Big players step up when the team needs him. I think he understands what's going on with our team. I think he feels inside he needs to carry some of the weight. That's what superstars do. He is definitely that. He has turned it up a notch.”
—Shortstop Ian Desmond, on Zimmerman.
“I hit two one time in Little League. That was about it. It's a great feeling and so surreal right now. I can't speak right now.”
—Cubs catcher Dioner Navarro, on hitting three homers in a May 29 game against the White Sox. (Carrie Muskat, MLB.com)
“He did his best little [Lionel] Messi impression today with the hat trick.”
—Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo.
“Obviously, I don't play a lot. I use one bat for everything—I use the same bat for batting practice and for the game.”
DODGERS BITE THE BULLET AS INJURIES PILE UP
“Probably about two years ago I would have stayed in the game. But Dre [Andre Ethier] kinda walked over to me and told me to be safe, reminded me of that. I’d rather maybe miss a couple days or whatever, than miss a month like I did last year.”
—Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, after leaving Wednesday’s game with a strained hamstring. (Steve Dilbeck, Los Angeles Times)
"If it was going to be three or four, I think we would have bit that bullet. But it didn't sound like it was real confident that it would be three or four, though. It didn't sound like a major one, either. So we kind of get a bullet but don't take it in an artery.”
—Manager Don Mattingly, on the decision to place Kemp on the 15-day disabled list after the medical staff determined that the outfielder would miss more than a few games. (Austin Laymance, MLB.com)
"Any time something like that happens to your arm or you start losing feeling and stuff … you think about it for sure. I don't really want to think like that right now. I want to think about figuring out a way to deal with this."
—Starting pitcher Josh Beckett, on whether he’ll ever pitch again. The three-time All-Star has felt numbness in his pitching hand over the past month. (Dylan Hernandez, Los Angeles Times)
ATHLETICS TAKE THREE OF FOUR IN BAY BRIDGE BATTLE
"I didn't watch much of the playoffs, but I heard they won the World Series. Having the defending world champion in our building, crosstown rivals, guys get fired up for that. It was a packed house, an awesome environment and a big win for us. ... Today was kind of the formula for us in a win."
—Athletics reliever Sean Doolittle, on welcoming the Giants into a sold-out Oakland Coliseum on Memorial Day. (Susan Slusser, SFGate)
"He is a little bit of an enigma. His stuff is there. He has really good innings. He's just in a rut where at the critical part of a game, he makes a mistake."
—Giants manager Bruce Bochy, on starting pitcher Tim Lincecum after Wednesday’s loss to Oakland. Lincecum failed to make it out of the fifth inning and has lost five of his last six decisions. (Chris Haft and Andrew Owens, MLB.com)
"That's probably the most fun I've had maybe in a long time, besides maybe the playoffs."
—Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson, after winning the first three games of the Bay Bridge Series. (Jane Lee, MLB.com)
"He's got a little better hair than me right now. I'm trying to catch up. Maybe I can catch up by the end of the season."
—Giants starting pitcher Barry Zito, on A.J. Griffin’s blond locks. The two squared off against each other during Thursday’s series finale. (Susan Slusser, SFGate)
"Amazing, really. He was quite the Houdini today. I don't know how he did it. Sheer determination. It's a credit to Z for keeping his poise and making his pitches when he had to."
—Giants manager Bruce Bochy, on Zito’s performance on Thursday. The southpaw earned the Giants’ lone win of the series, scattering three hits and giving up one run over six innings of work. (Chris Haft, MLB.com)
"At the beginning of the series, if you say three out of four you might say, 'OK, we may take that, but when you've won three in a row, you certainly want to go for the last one."
—Athletic manager Bob Melvin, after Thursday’s loss. (Jeff Kirshman, MLB.com)
—Mark Mulder was one of many players who Dr. Lewis Yocum performed surgery on. (Mark Mulder, @markmulder20, ESPN)
"He gave us just what we needed with a couple guys down in the 'pen. If we continue to get shutouts, I know we'll fight our way back. Thirty or 40 days in a row, we're going to be all right."
—Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, on Hyun-Jin Ryu’s two-hit shutout against the Angels on Tuesday night. (Ken Gurnick, MLB.com)
"I'd be lying if I said yes. But the thing that we knew going into spring training was the depth that we had, and it's a testament to the front office for putting together a great group of players and young talent with guys that could come in and fill in and do great. It's been pretty awesome that we've been able to play through a number of key players being hurt."
—Diamondbacks outfielder Cody Ross, on whether he would have thought the team would be in first place given the injuries they’ve suffered this year. (Steve Gilbert, MLB.com)
“These guys are maturing. They’re understanding themselves a little bit better. Early on in the season, you come out in the spring and you’re kind of feeling your way through it. Now, we’re starting to hit our stride. We had been playing good baseball but at the same time the (wins) were not adding up. Now, we’re playing a whole lot better to the standpoint now we’re getting that big hit.”
—Astros manager Bo Porter, on his team’s progress this season. (Brian T. Smith, Houston Chronicle)
“I did a little soul-searching the other day when I went home and prayed a little bit. It was one of those things where I was kind of forcing things a little bit and where I stepped back and I prayed and God told me, ‘Let me do this for you and don’t do it yourself.’ So it was just one of those things where God works in amazing ways, and hopefully you’ll see more of that out of me.”
—Astros starting pitcher Lucas Harrell, after winning his fourth game of the season against Colorado on Thursday. (Brian T. Smith, Houston Chronicle)
"That's one of my main goals as a pitcher, is to be able to go deep into games. Being able to minimize your walks, minimize your damage throughout each inning and really utilizing your pitches effectively. I think if you stay aggressive, you're going to get the other team in swing mode and you're going to get quicker outs."
—Royals starter James Shields, who ranks among the league leaders in innings pitched. (Christian Corona, MLB.com)
"It looked a lot bigger when I was watching from the stands. This was probably my favorite one just because of how historic it was, and I've always been into history. It's just neat, has a good feel for it."
—Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollock, on playing at Wrigley Field for the first time on Friday. (Steve Gilbert, MLB.com)
“It has a little bit of fade, and I'm OK with that. It's more about the speed, killing the speed off of it. I've always had a hard time doing that. That's why I started throwing the curveball, just to give guys another look at something softer instead of hard, hard, hard.”
—Blue Jays starter Josh Johnson, who is developing a revamped changeup. (Gregor Chisholm, MLB.com)
"The reason I'm pitching better is because I have a curveball. I have three pitches to throw at a left-handed hitter. That's the single reason why I'm pitching better. It's just been huge for me, because most of the time, they stack left-handers against me. My slider has just never matched up well against lefties. I started with it last year, and it's gotten better every single time."
—Tigers starter Max Scherzer, who has shown a dramatic improvement against lefties this year. Scherzer attributes his success to his curveball. (Jason Beck, MLB.com)
"[Andrus] told me he'd distract him and you go try and grab his helmet, but Beltre was on that. I went for it, and he turned his head the other way. He knew right away, I guess. I tried, but I missed. I wish I would've came off with it."
—Rangers manager Ron Washington, on an attempted prank that the skipper and shortstop Elvis Andrus played on third baseman Adrian Beltre between innings during Friday’s game. Beltre has been known to not be the biggest fan of people touching his head. (Master Tesfatsion, MLB.com)
"This is very rare, for a dad to interview his son, who also plays in the majors. To be able to do it is just unbelievable. Him following my footsteps into pro ball, we would talk about it when he was a little kid. The dream is here."
—Former MLB player and current Comcast Sports analyst, Eric Young, on the opportunity to interview his son, Rockies outfielder Eric Young Jr., on camera after Tuesday’s game in Houston. (Chris Abshire, MLB.com)
Andrew Koo is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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Chris Mosch is an author of Baseball Prospectus.
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