September 9, 2014
The Week in Quotes
September 2-8, 2014
RON WASHINGTON RESIGNS AS RANGERS MANAGER
“I understand why he needs to do what he’s doing, and I respect that. When you work with someone for eight years and develop a pretty close bond, there’s a lot of emotions. But you care about him as a person first and respect that he needs to address some things.”
“I’m crushed, to be honest with you. This was my first manager. After finding out he’s no longer with us, I wanted to let him know what he’s done for me. The guy is like a father to me. Honestly, it felt like I just lost my dad.”
“It’s tough. It was a pretty quick meeting. Looking at everyone’s face, everybody was pretty stunned at what was going on. He was pretty emotional, but really didn’t go into detail about anything. Hopefully it’s nothing serious.”
DANIEL HUDSON MAKES LONG-AWAITED RETURN
“I probably kind of took it for granted the first time. You hear of the success rate of T.J. and everything and you kind of figure, 'Oh, it's just a year. I'll be back. I don't really have to tweak too much.' … I kind of took it as, 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it.' I don't want to say I was stubborn, but at the same time, why would I change drastically like that if I'm having success with it? … Then it broke again. So we really tried to figure out why.”
"It really helped with the deception and the life on my fastball, but it was so bad on my arm, my shoulder and my elbow after a while," he said. "My front foot is down and my arm is not even barely getting going forward.”
“There was a lot of emotion. I didn't even feel like I could look him in the eyes because I probably would have cried. I know all that he's been through and how hard he fought to come back and be here and do what he did today.”
JETER HONORED IN BRONX
“In my opinion, I’ve had the greatest job in the world; I’ve had the chance to be the shortstop for the New York Yankees—and there’s only one of those. I always felt as though my job was to try to provide joy and entertainment for you guys. But it can’t compare to what you’ve brought me, so for that, thank you very much… I think my hand was shaking a little bit,” Jeter said. “I wanted to take this opportunity to thank them. The fans are the ones that made this fun. It’s been an extremely fun 20 seasons. When you’re out there playing, you’re out there trying to do your best. You’re playing as hard as you can and you’re doing it for the fans.”
“I never saw Babe Ruth play, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle. But I saw Derek play for 19 years in the big leagues and some years in the Minor Leagues. All I saw was determination and desire to be the best. Definitely, for me, he is no. 1.”
“You want him to finish strong. I told him, ‘September has always been a good month for you, so go out there and do what you do and help the team get to where they need to be.’ Toward the end, it's going to be tougher for him. That last homestand here is going to be tough, saying goodbye, and probably those three games in Boston, you know that's it. It's going to be tough. It would be easier if he gets to the playoffs, because obviously he'd have something to look forward to.”
“One of the things that every professional strives for is perfection. We work hard each and every day to try to improve our craft fundamentally. If you do it the right way, you do it with the type of conviction that Derek has done, you tend to respond under pressure… Pressure situations usually determine who has put forth the effort. It’s very obvious that he put forth the effort in the right way, because he’s always responded the right way under pressure. Great athletes, they thrive in pressure because they prepare themselves for pressure.”
“I've loved what I've done, I love what I do, but more importantly I love doing it for you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you very much. ... And we've got a game to play.”a
“He didn't play a lot of center field this year for the Diamondbacks but he has looked good out there. Even before Gomey was hurt, I was trying to get him in the lineup. It was just tough to do. Now we get a chance to see him a little bit more, and I like him the more I see him. We saw him some in center in 2011 for just a few games, and I liked what I saw. Because they didn't have him a lot in center, I don't know what they thought about him. We'll get to see here. Hopefully, he'll be a guy who can be a true center fielder. He's swinging better here than he did for them. He sure has been (a key pickup). I was worried at the beginning of getting him enough playing time to keep him happy, but he's done a great job.”
“As tough as it can be to watch sometimes, this is exactly what Javy needs. He’s going to end up going into the offseason reflecting back on this, and over time, it’ll sink in: Despite what pitchers do to him, he controls the at-bat. He can’t get away from his strengths. He can do as much damage as anyone in the game when he is patient and gets a pitch to drive and doesn’t try to do too much and uses the whole field. And those things, you can’t just tell somebody. . . . Players need to figure it out over time.”
"To be in the situation he was last year and be able to turn things around, I think it starts with upper management getting the right type of guys in here. Everyone talks about changing the culture. For a while here it's been about playing for your numbers from day one because the team in the past hasn't had as good of a chance to win or go to the playoffs. This is a super young team already with a few veterans mixed in. For him to do the job he's done with this group, and who knows? We're not done yet."
"I certainly would hope and expect him to get more than some acknowledgment. I expect him to win it. He makes plays every series that you would think managers and coaches would take note of when they go to vote. When you see the amount of area he covers, the accuracy of his arm, when he lays out for a ball he catches it. What you don't see is he lays out for a ball and then it hits off his glove. Very efficient at completing the play."
“No—it is what it is. What are you going to do? Just do the job you’ve always done. I’ve learned, whenever it’s time for you to get fired or let go, they’ll find some reason. Hell, I got fired after we won a game. Next morning.”
"He's the best pitcher in baseball, hands down. He goes out there every single night. He locates his pitches—he has his fastball, his curveball, his changeup, slider. He's very, very good. He's definitely the best pitcher in baseball, I think. I felt pretty good in my first AB. I thought I had a great at-bat. He challenged me with some heaters. The second AB, he made me look pretty dumb with a curveball—probably the best curveball I've ever seen in my life. To go up that next AB, I was just trying to look for something in the zone, trying to really make swing at something good and make something happen. To hit a homer against a Cy Young guy, of course, that's pretty awesome," Harper said. "But I think in my career I'm like 1-for-9 with six strikeouts (against Kershaw). He's winning the battle right now. You just got to tip your cap to a guy like that. To be able to hit a homer against him is pretty fun."
"It's like a batter's slump. Just because you feel it in the cage, it doesn't mean it's going to work in the game. There are options where we can pitch him in some situations, when he's working on all of his mechanical things. He will have a softer landing, so he can get some confidence. So we'll see how it goes."
“My teammates were saying I was putting the team on my back. I would say it shocked most of the guys in the dugout and the (people) in the stadium. You could hear a pin drop and I would say it kind of shocked a lot of people.”
“It was painful, but I have a good feeling about it. I don’t think this is going to end my season.”
"I found him to be more spread out and not using much of his greatest leverage, which is his legs. When you spread them out, you take them out of the swing. There's no need to do that. So basically what I did was I used other people similar to his body type [such as Strawberry and Winfield] to show him how comparable it was. Guy is all legs. Just like Winfield and just like Strawberry. If you look at those guys, they couldn't be spread out. It's how he generates his timing and power. That's usually a remedy for guys who aren't seeing the ball really well."
"We're not letting him choose his own spots. We're trying to choose the spots for him where we're anticipating breaking balls, we're anticipating other things that go along with what we think the count will dictate as far as what the pitcher's going to do. I'd like to get his lead a little bigger, but I think his starts are pretty good. I think you can teach a lot of it for base stealers. You can teach the lead and you can teach the start. Can you teach the courage? I don't know. Some guys just don't like to get thrown out. You can't worry about being picked off. But I think Juan's the kind of guy, because of his work ethic and the way he goes about things, he's going to learn it."
"I thought it was great. I kept my hips back a little bit, which seemed to help. It was a position I had gotten out of. I set them back in a good spot, and I think it helped out to have everything moving in the right direction. I thought it was a good step being able to come out of the bullpen. I warmed up quickly. It was a success."
“It's been weighing heavy on me. It takes four hours of [therapy] work to do two hours on the field. A lot of people deal with that. At some point you decide, is it worth getting ready for another season? I feel best the day I pitch. In between days are very draining.”
“We all know they would all like to play but this turf has 'heavy-legged' a few people. It's another one of those things about playing here, especially this time of the year… I know the history of what that does to a guy's legs, especially when you've been playing a lot. They've worked very hard to get us where we are. And I want to keep them that way. It's best for them and best for the club. One of the benefits of having a full roster this time of the year.”
“It was tough for him, for everybody, because we know what he can do. We all knew he was going to struggle, but when he takes that long, people start worrying—is he going to be able to hit? It took him a while, but right now I think he’s in a comfortable place and his at-bats are better. And what better than base hits to make you feel good and comfortable? Better late than never.”
Nick Bacarella is an author of Baseball Prospectus.