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June 2, 2014

The Week in Quotes

May 26-June 1

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


RED SOX, RAYS SCUFFLE (AGAIN)

“Heads up. … Be ready for something.”
—From a report written by MLB to the umpiring crew of last weekend’s Rays-Red Sox series. (Joe Smith, Tampa Bay Times)

“I have no more respect for him. First at-bat of the season against him he threw at me? I mean, it’s a war. It’s on. Next time he hits me he better bring the gloves. I have no respect for him no more.”
—Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, who was hit in the back by a David Price fastball in the first inning of Friday’s game. (Scott Lauber, Boston Herald)

“David's [Price] a heck of a pitcher. He comes in with two hit batters and eight walks on the year. He's got the lowest walk rate in the American League. And when he throws a ball and hits David Ortiz in the back, there is intent to that. And they can dispute that all they want, there is intent to that pitch. As emphatic as [umpire] Dan Bellino's warning was, it sure seemed like Dan Bellino felt like there was intent as well. I disagreed with it. He took the ball out of our hand and then after Mike Carp got hit with a ball up around his neck, and they didn't make a move then, the umpires allowed this game to escalate even further.”
—Red Sox manager John Farrell. (Joe Smith, Tampa Bay Times)

“We felt the pitch was certainly inside, but not intentional. We weren’t going to throw him out of the game to please Boston because things were getting out of control on their end.”
—Crew chief Jeff Kellogg, after Price hit Red Sox first baseman Mike Carp in the fourth inning. (Scott Lauber, Boston Herald)

“I've got to establish my fastball in. I've got six lefties in that lineup. It's my favorite side of the plate to go to.”
—Price. (Joe Smith, Tampa Bay Times)

“He hit David, he hit Carpie, almost hit Bogie, whatever, it’s baseball. It got taken care of, and hopefully we can move on now.”
—Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski. (Scott Lauber, Boston Herald)

“Ball was just slick and it slipped out of my hand. I don’t know. I’ve never been ejected before, so I didn’t know. Like I said, it just slipped on me.”
—Red Sox pitcher Brandon Workman, who was ejected for throwing behind Rays third baseman Evan Longoria. (Scott Lauber, Boston Herald)

“I wish he would have hit me. So it could have been done and over right there. I just don't want to get hit in the head, just make sure it's down below the neck. Hopefully we're beyond it.”
—Longoria. (Joe Smith, Tampa Bay Times)

“I respect everybody in this league, and I get a certain respect from everybody. If you're mad because I take you deep twice, I'm gonna let you know. I got almost 500 homers in this league, that's part of the game son.”
—Ortiz. (Joe Smith, Tampa Bay Times)

“It was the most interesting game I've ever been a part of.”
—Rays outfielder Wil Myers. (Joe Smith, Tampa Bay Times)

ENCARNACION TIES AL RECORD FOR HOMERS IN MAY

“My timing is unbelievable,” Encarnacion analyzed to colleague Brendan Kennedy this week in a moment of self-admiring candour. “I’ve never felt like the way I feel right now. I’ve been seeing the ball good, my timing is great, so I hope I continue to do this.”
—Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion, whose 16 home runs in May tied Albert Belle and Harmon Killebrew for the AL’s most in the month. (Richard Griffin, Toronto Star)

“I didn’t know what I would see, but I expected greatness. The walk-to-strikeout ratio that he had last year, all of that. When he got off to a slow start, I was a little surprised, but they said he’s always been a slow starter and when he gets hot you’re going to be blown away. Well, I’m beyond blown away. He’s a very, very special talent.”
—Batting coach Kevin Seitzer, on Encarnacion’s recovery from a slow start to the season. (Richard Griffin, Toronto Star)

“I always keep my head up. I know at the beginning of the season, the first month, I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to do. But I knew it would come. I know the work I did in the off-season and the confidence I have right now, and I knew my timing was going to come back.”
—Encarnacion. (Richard Griffin, Toronto Star)

“He’s really, really impressed me so much because he’s a tremendous student of hitting and what pitchers are trying to do. He really does his homework and he’s a prepared man when he gets in that batter’s box every night.”
—Seitzer. (Richard Griffin, Toronto Star)

OSCAR TAVERAS GOES DEEP IN MAJOR LEAGUE DEBUT

“Everybody knew it’s gone. That’s a good swing right there. I’m so happy right there. Everything is happy.”
—Cardinals right fielder Oscar Taveras, on homering in his second major-league at-bat (Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

“They want him to run wild out here and have fun and just be reckless in how he shows off his talent. He’s an infectious-style player. When he’s going he can be contagious as far as his smile, the life he has, and the obvious fact that he can flat hit. This is a good place for him. He doesn’t need to come in and be the answer.”
—Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, on Taveras.

THE ASTROS…ARE PLAYING WELL

“I haven’t heard this place this loud in a long time.”
—Astros outfielder Robbie Grossman, contributing to the Astros seventh win in a row by having the game-tying hit in the seventh inning (the streak ended on Saturday). (Evan Drellich, Houston Chronicle)

“More confidence. We got off to a rocky start, especially myself. From being back, confidence I would say is the key. … Yeah, it is in the back of my mind (that I’m pitching for my stay in the rotation), but you know, that’s the name of the game. It’s a business, there’s only 25 spots, you just got to keep competing and keep striving to be better.”
—Astros pitcher Brett Oberholtzer, on what is different between the Astros at the beginning of the season and now. (Drellich)

“He’s the best player ever.”
—Astros infielder Jose Altuve on phenom George Springer, who hit seven home runs in seven days recently. (Evan Drellich, Houston Chronicle)

THE REST

“He's like a super hero. He's built like a Greek warrior. He has had a couple of big home runs to give us a lead, win some ballgames. He's just like that folk hero. It's pretty cool. I've seen a lot of guys with power, but he's on a notch above anybody.”
—Marlins first baseman Garrett Jones, on outfielder Giancarlo Stanton (Craig Davis, Sun Sentinel)

"There's not much more we can do. We had the meeting where Bryan got us in the dugout the one time. We had a meeting here. We're all professionals. We all understand the game. We were going through the motions. That's not baseball. That's not fun when that kind of stuff happens. You want to win. You want to cheer. But there wasn't that extra gusto -- like a playoff game or something. It was great meeting; a lot guys stepped up said some things. You take a lot away from that. You find out who the leaders are, how passionate guys are about the game. We are. But we hit a lull. We've got to make the game fun again."
—Reds third baseman Todd Frazier, on a recent team meeting held by the Reds players (John Fay, Cincinnati Enquirer)

“He threw really, really well. And that’s bad news for the Cardinals.”
—Royals pitcher Bruce Chen, on Yordano Ventura’s bullpen session on Sunday. Ventura is scheduled to start on Thursday against St. Louis after leaving last Monday’s start with an elbow injury. (Andy McCullough, Kansas City Star)

“Yes, they're certainly a very, very viable candidate. When you think back, Camden Yards really started this whole ballpark expansion, and I believe that's one of the primary reasons for baseball attendance being at the historic high that it is today.”
—MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, who is including Baltimore among the candidates for the 2016 All-Star Game. (Eduardo A. Encina, Baltimore Sun)

“We have a (payroll) number that we work with and I always have the ability to have that conversation. We came into the season with the number that we expected to be at and as the year goes along, depending on how we’re playing and what’s available, I would expect we would re-evaluate it at the beginning of July, but I have every confidence that if we have a need come the trade deadline that we’ll have the resources to do that. I don’t have any doubts about that.”
—Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos, addressing concerns that the team will not be able to add any expensive players at the trade deadline. Rumors have circulated indicating that the team is already at Rogers Communications’ maximum payroll. (Richard Griffin, Toronto Star)

“If there is a time when he can pinch-run, man, does that change the game. He goes first to third, third to home, it’s so hard to defend.”
—Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer, on the importance of speedy outfielder Rajai Davis to the team’s success. Davis has stolen 16 bases so far this season. (Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press)

“It's fun to write Corey's name in every fifth day. He just continues to get better.”
—Indians manager Terry Francona, on Corey Kluber’s breakout season. Kluber holds a 3.04 ERA with 95 strikeouts in 80 innings. (Dennis Manoloff, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“Some of the pitches we were swinging at; some of the outs we were making… Sometimes, like all fans, you get impatient and want it now. There’s a lot to deal with, but growing up is learning how to deal with it all, then still being productive.”
—Royals manager Ned Yost, on the sources of the team’s struggles. The Royals are 24-28. (Vahe Gregorian, Kansas City Star)

“I said my piece and definitely understand why I got ejected. The first pitch was a good pitch—changeup—and then the next two I didn’t agree with at all. Kyle pitched a good game today. He’s impressive out there. Obviously, in that one at-bat, my emotions got to me a little bit and I expressed them.”
—Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, on being ejected for arguing balls and strikes (Patrick Mooney, CSN Chicago)

“He goes right at hitters. He’s got a kind of funky deliver— he hides the ball well and hitters don’t see the ball well on him. He’s got just enough on his fastball to keep guys off his slider, and he’s done a real good job for us… Now, we’ve kind of adjusted that role to where he’s going to be a two-inning guy now. They want him to pitch a little bit more. He’s kind of jumped on the radar, so they want him to get some innings under his belt. He’s going to be two-innings per outing for now unless we do take the lead in the eighth inning or the top of the ninth, but from now on, it’s going to be more of a two-inning save than a traditional one-inning save.”
—Delmarva Shorebirds (Baltimore’s Low-A affiliate) manager Ryan Minor, on closer Jimmy Yacabonis, who hasn’t allowed a run through 20 innings this season. (Jon Meoli, Baltimore Sun)

“I think he could, with the addition of that change-up and the way he's throwing his slider, this could be as well as he's thrown the ball since I've been here. I don't necessarily mean for results. But the fact that he had three pitches he's throwing for strikes. That changeup, even though 89, 90, there's a 10-mph difference. There are times when guys get on a 100-mph fastball when it's not well located, especially when nine of 10 or 18 of 20 are fastballs.”
—Reds manager Bryan Price, on closer Aroldis Chapman’s recent success (John Fay, Cincinnati Enquirer)

“He's one of those guys who just walks in and always looks like he's in a bad mood, but he's not. You know what? You need a guy like that. Everybody gets along with him. He's funny. He's just one of those guys, a dirty, grouchy dude, kind of a gruff player and person in general, and that's a good guy to have on your team. After every game he's covered in mud or dirt or clay or whatever. I like guys like that.”
—Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, on first baseman Mark Reynolds, to whom the Brewers have given the nickname “Grumpy” (Todd Roziak, Journal Sentinel)

“It's communication with those guys and talking with them and saying, 'Hey, I am looking to give you a day off here, so keep me updated as to how you feel.' And to a man, everyone has said 'I'm fine. I want to be out there. We need to get going. We need to play better. I can help us.’ So you watch with that in mind, but also believe in your guys, believe in the players and believe what they are telling you, (how) they feel. That's never easy. But that is part of the job. Part of the job is trying manage all of that, whether it's the bullpen, whether it's our regulars, getting them days.”
—Nationals manager Matt Williams, on identifying players who need days of rest (Byron Kerr, MASN Sports)

“It feels like we’ve played extra innings every day.”
—Yankees second baseman Brian Roberts. The Yankees have played in three extra-innings games since May 21st, winning all three. (Mark Feinsand, New York Daily News)

“It’s both mentally and physically draining. I think everybody was (tired), I didn’t start, so I kinda got that break, if you will, but I am just glad I was able to contribute today.”
—Mets first baseman Lucas Duda, on getting the game-winning two run home run on Sunday against the Phillies, the third straight extra inning contest between the two clubs. (Kristie Ackert, New York Daily News)

“The first thing is to save the ear, and the hope is that reattachment surgery was a success. We’re not at that point.”
—Agent Scott Boras on client Alexander Guerrero, who had part of his ear bitten off by Miguel Olivo recently. (Jon Heyman, CBSSports.com)

“The big thing for me is fastball command. I’m not going to blow guys away. If I can place the ball where I want and move it in and out, change speeds, that's my bread and butter. To be able to do that and just repeat it over and over and over and work down in the zone and not give them pitches they can drive and keep the ball in the park, I've really been focusing on that.”
—Diamondbacks pitcher Josh Collmenter, who delivered his first complete game shutout of his career this past week. (Dave Dulberg, ArizonaSports.com)

“There are very few guys on this ballclub (who) are actually looking to hit home runs. You look at some of the guys like Moss and Donaldson who have literally shaped their swing to try to become flyball hitters. ... (Hitting home runs) is definitely an art that not everyone can grasp.”
—Athletics catcher Derek Norris, on the team hitting five home runs in a game this past week. The A’s lead the league in fly-ball rate this year, and are third in home runs. (Steve Kroner, San Francisco 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 Closer to Me: Week 10 (06/02)
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The Week in Quotes: Ma... (05/27)
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The Week in Quotes: Ju... (06/09)
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This is Not Your Fathe... (06/02)

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