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April 7, 2014

The Week in Quotes

March 31 - April 6

by Nick Bacarella, Morris Greenberg, Chris Mosch and Nick Wheatley-Schaller


REPLAY CONTROVERSY ALREADY UNDERWAY

“My understanding of that play is if the ball drops straight down as a general rule, they assume the player never got the ball to his throwing hand—he never had control of it. I don’t think that was the case here. The ball popped up first, which means it would have had to be in his hand to pop up.”
—Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, after his challenge of a botched transfer during a double play was overruled. Ausmus argued that shortstop Andrew Romine should be given credit for the out at second base before dropping the ball, but the umpires upheld their initial decision. (George Sippie, Detroit Free Press)

“I’m not sure. This is a work in progress. Maybe at some point I’ll ask why this wasn’t overturned, but to be honest, I’m not sure I understand it. If it’s a force play, if he’s not trying to turn a double play there and he just catches the ball like that, he’s clearly out. I guess I don’t know what the rule is. My understanding doesn’t fit with what happened on the field.”
—Ausmus. (George Sippie, Detroit Free Press)

“This is going to be the toughest replay of all of them because it’s such a judgment. The way it was explained to us, if the catcher is in front of home plate toward third base, straddling the base, that is considered blocking home plate if you don’t have the ball. And I believe that’s how it was… I believe this is going to be the toughest overall for them to get right all the time. To me it’s a vague interpretation of what blocking home plate is, and I think it needs to be in writing. The way it was explained to us, if you are straddling the base in front, towards third base, that is considered blocking home plate.”
—Yankees manager Joe Girardi, after his protest of a call involving a play at the plate were overruled. Girardi argued that as Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli slid home, Blue Jays catcher Josh Thole was illegally blocking the plate before receiving the ball. The umpires concluded that Thole’s play was legitimate. After further review, however, Girardi realized that Cervelli’s foot beat Thole’s tag, and that he should have challenged the end result of the play. (Chad Jennings, The LoHud Yankees Blog)

“That’s what we’ve been taught to do for years. But I think that’s what they’re trying to get away from.”
—Girardi, on how teaching catchers to unlearn their habits of blocking the plate will take more time. (Chad Jennings, The LoHud Yankees Blog)

“I like it. I think it's good. Obviously, it was important to us [Friday night, when it overturned an inning-ending out at first base and put Yangervis Solarte in position to hit a two-run double]. I'm a fan of it.”
—Girardi, expressing his overall approval of the overhauled replay system. (Erik Boland, Newsday)

“We’re seeing through the rest of the league and we’re seeing how crazy stuff is going already. I think we spent most of spring trying to think we’re prepared for it. We’re seeing things happen already this season that nobody anticipated. I don’t think that’s going to change.”
St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, on the challenges seen around the league so far this season (Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

“I'm confident in these umpires' abilities. You're going to find out just how good they all are. We're all just trying to find out how to use [expanded replay] properly and efficiently to advance the game.”
Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, on the expanded use of replay (Tom Singer, MLB.com)

RED SOX RING IN NEW SEASON WITH VICTORY PARTY

“I like how the trophy kind of pops off there. Diamonds are always nice. I think the two coolest things for me are the ‘Boston Strong’ (symbol) and ‘Ross.’ That’s pretty neat. I don’t think you could get a bad one.”
—Catcher David Ross, describing hıs newly minted World Series ring. The ring features 126 diamonds. (Scott Lauber, Boston Herald)

“I thought they were giving me somebody else’s ring. I was like, ‘Hey, you’re giving me two.’ They were like, ‘No, that’s the MVP one.’ I was like, ‘Whoa, whoa.’ It was very kind coming from them, and I thanked them very much.”
—Designated hitter David Ortiz. (Scott Lauber, Boston Herald)

“They’re all downers when you lose. We obviously wanted to win—home opener in front of our fans. There at the end, they executed and had some good at-bats before we could get to them.”
—Second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who maintains that losing the home opener doesn’t taint the ceremony. (Scott Lauber, Boston Herald)

“The people who witnessed it. It will be a part of them for the rest of their lives.”
—Outfielder Jonny Gomes, who agrees with Pedroia. (Scott Lauber, Boston Herald)

ZIMMERMAN DEALING WITH SHOULDER INFLAMMATION

“We look at it and say, 'It's a little bit of overload.’ So we have to curtail that just a touch to make sure he feels good. What does that involve? Maybe it doesn't involve as many throws. Maybe it's cutting down the amount of grounders he takes in pregame. I know that he likes to go down, especially when it's cold, to the cage and throw. Maybe it's an adjustment to that, too. I talked with him today, we're going to look at it again on Tuesday. We can't curtail it right now because we have to make sure he's good to go and that he feels good”
Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams, on the shoulder injury suffered by third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (Dan Kolko, MASN Sports)

“It's just more sore than it usually it is. For the last how many years, I've played when it felt good and I played when it felt bad. Yesterday, it felt worse than normal. I just thought it was the right thing to tell Matt (Williams) and see what we got... It feels okay when I swing. Through spring and last year and things like that, it felt good sometimes, it felt bad sometimes. But it never really felt like this, so I said something.”
—Zimmerman, on how his shoulder feels and how the injury affects him (Courtney Lofgren, MASN Sports)

TWITTER

THE REST

“You’ve got a guy like Jose Reyes who is one of the most talented guys in baseball—crazy explosive, very, very fast—but when you are doing these explosive movements it puts an enormous amount of strain on the human body. Although we may think of him as being fragile, the fact that he can do it at all is incredible, and the fact that he can play so much without getting injured is incredible.”
—Toronto exercise physiologist Greg Wells, after Jose Reyes had to leave Toronto’s fırst game of the season wıth tightness in his left hamstring. (Kerry Gillespie, Toronto Star)

“As a hitter, you’re looking at one side of the plate against an elite pitcher. If you try to cover everything it just doesn’t work. When you’re facing a guy who can cut the ball, run the ball and work hard and soft to both sides, hitting becomes extremely difficult. That’s where Adam is right now. He’s that pitcher. As good as he’s been, that makes him even better.”
—St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday, on teammate Adam Wainwright (Joe Strauss, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

“We’re going to be fine, man. We haven’t been able to put anything together offensively, but we have what it takes to play better and win ballgames. We don’t need to worry about it.”
—Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran, addressing the team’s slow start out of the gate. (Mark Feinsand, New York Daily News)

“I feel terrible, plain and simple. I am pretty lost right now, actually. I am trying to see where my swing is at, watch some video where my hands are. I am trying everything right now. We will see where I am at tomorrow. Give Pops a call. See what he says also. Swing doesn't feel good. That is all I can say. Trying to go in every day and try to do some drills that work and feel good in the cage, feel good on BP. I haven't had my BPs where I hit the ball to left or right and things like that. It has been pretty (expletive) actually.”
—Washington Nationals Bryce Harper, on how he has felt at the plate so far this year (Bryon Kerr, MASN Sports)

“We are better than we’ve shown. We know what kind of five-man staff we have and we are going to build off each other and go. We are just trying to get in the win column and go from there.”
—Orioles pitcher Bud Norris, who lasted only five innings in his season debut against the Tigers.Orioles pitchers have yet to post a quality start in the 2014 season. (Dan Connolly, Baltimore Sun)

“He’s the ultimate perfectionist. He wants to do everything. He wants to hit. He wants to steal bases. He told me the reason he was moving out there at second base [in the third inning] was because he wanted to steal. I said, ‘Come on man, that’s not your job.’ But that’s the beauty of Jose. He’s always thinking. I sometimes sit there and start laughing. You try to have a game face on, but sometimes when I sit there I just start laughing. He’s such a competitor. It’s just a different vibe when he’s out there. I think [Saturday] we all felt that.”
—Marlins manager Mike Redmond, on starting pitcher Jose Fernandez. The sophomore right-hander allowed just one run and boasted a 17-to-2 K:BB ratio through his first two starts. (Manny Navarro, Miami Herald)

“I think it's one of the best things to ever happen in my career.”
—Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar, who signed a two-year contract extension this week. (Joe Smith, Tampa Bay Times)

“When the ligament is ruptured, it’s a no-brainer. He needs surgery. When the ligament is compromised, now it’s a gray area. This was more of an acute injury and that’s where the ligament’s been compromised. Probably felt it more on one pitch than anything else, but it wasn’t like a clear rupture of the ligament where it’s a no-brainer to have Tommy John. The ligament was compromised. The course of action was a conservative, aggressive rehab treatment. But his symptoms just didn’t get better. He and we felt that it was best to go ahead and have the surgery now.”
—Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington, on prospect Jameson Taillon needing Tommy John surgery (Bill Brink, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

“In '84, the whole place came alive and I saw the first fans on the rooftops. It started with two guys in maybe late July on the rooftop. Then, we went away for a road trip, came back and it was maybe eight or 10 guys on the rooftop and a couple folding chairs. Just to see that transformation, to see it be a tough ticket here for the rest of my career and a packed house [was cool]. This is real, true baseball here. There was a lot of conversation about that from opposing players that liked coming here just for the atmosphere.”
Philadelphia Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg, reminiscing about watching fans start to view Cubs games from the rooftops surrounding Wrigley Field during his time playing for Chicago (Tony Andracki, CSN Chicago)

“It was probably the best he’s been. I know September was great for him and it’s right back to where he was there, honestly I think he might even be better tonight.”
—Mariners catcher Mike Zunino, on James Paxton’s excellent first start, striking out 9 and only allowing two hits and two walks. (Ryan Divish, The Seattle Times)

“Regardless of whether we had come back and signed an official contract, in my heart I would always be a Houston Astro. It’s just great to get a chance to formally or publicly acknowledge that and put a period at the end of the sentence.”
Lance Berkman, who signed a one-day contract last week to retire as an Astro with Roy Oswalt. (Alyson Footer, MLB.com)

“You see guys, sometimes they get hit early and they don’t make it out of the first inning. First big league batter he faces hits a home run, and it doesn’t faze him at all? That’s a great sign.”
—Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, on teammate Masahiro Tanaka’s first MLB start. Tanaka allowed three runs during the first two innings against Toronto, but settled in and faced just one above the minimum over his final five innings of work. (Mark Feinsand, New York Daily News)

“I’m not going to be doing anybody any favors if I hang my head. These guys need me. These guys have been playing their butts off. We should be 3-0. Obviously I’ll take the blame. But if I sit there and sulk and pout, it’s not gonna do anybody any good.”
—Oakland A’s closer Jim Johnson, on his strategy for overcoming his bad start with the A’s. (Joe Stiglich, CSNBayArea.com)

“I’m feeling like I'm fighting right now. This is my home. I need to pitch well in my home, in Denver. It's important.”
—Rockies pitcher Juan Nicasio, who displayed a new pitch mix in his first start of the season. (Nick Groke, The Denver Post)

“He was pretty on-point. Most of the night, he did a good job attacking hitters and getting ahead. When he's pounding the zone like he did, it gives you a lot of different options.”
—Giants catcher Buster Posey, on Tim Hudson’s first outing of the season. (Alex Pavlovic, San Jose Mercury News)

“This year, we have veteran players. If they play well, we’re likely to keep them as opposed to move them. There’s always going to be that temptation, especially if you have an area where you think — if come mid-July we’re clearly not contending, and there’s a club that needs a guy that we have and they’re willing to give up enough to get him, we’re never going to shut that conversation down. But at the same time, I do think we value the relationship with the fans and we’ll make a—we’ll balance all the factors, including the fact that we do want to show significant progress.”
—Astros GM Jeff Luhnow, describing how this year could be different for the Astros at the trade deadline. (Evan Drellich, Houston Chronicle)

Nick Bacarella is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Nick's other articles. You can contact Nick by clicking here
Morris Greenberg is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Morris's other articles. You can contact Morris by clicking here
Chris Mosch is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Chris's other articles. You can contact Chris by clicking here
Nick Wheatley-Schaller is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Nick's other articles. You can contact Nick by clicking here

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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Interleague Report: We... (04/07)
<< Previous Column
The Week in Quotes: Ma... (03/31)
Next Column >>
The Week in Quotes: Ap... (04/14)
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Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (04/07)

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