March 10, 2008
The Week in Quotes
"In December, when he saw Andrews, a reconstruction was going to cost him all of 2008, essentially. So again, go back to trying to manage the problem. Albert made a decision which I think personally was a wise decision."
"I think now our options are really likely down to two. If his elbow condition can't be successfully managed and gives him significant problems again, then I think the horse is out of the barn and he should probably consider having the whole thing done."
"If he were to develop recurring elbow problems this year, and they were to be unmanageable and he said 'I can't continue to play like this,' my recommendation would be to probably have the whole thing reconstructed. I believe, and I don't want to speak for Andrews, but based on the conversations Dr. Andrews and I have had, I believe that would be Andrews' recommendation as well."
"This is not a curable problem without a reconstruction. What we hope is that it's a manageable problem. We've been managing this problem since 2003, when he first tore it. So we've been managing it fairly successfully for five seasons now. But there comes a time when it's not manageable anymore. And if it's not manageable anymore, the best answer for Albert probably, long-term, is to consider having the reconstruction done."
THERE'S MORE THAN ONE WAY TO NOT GET ON BASE
"If they're throwing strikes, we'll hit them. If they're not, we'll walk. But we don't have a lot of home-run threats. When you look at Detroit's lineup, they'll have a lot more walks, because they're a lot more dangerous."
"I'm just trying to cut down the walks. I'm willing to give up a few hits because I know my defense will do the job and come up with some ground balls."
ASKING FOR IT
"I think it's uncalled for. It's spring training. You're going to get people hurt, and that's what we got--we got Cervelli hurt."
"I loved the hardball right there. We're playing it hard, we're playing it right. It was a bang-bang play at the plate. I couldn't tell exactly where the catcher was in regard to the plate, but he was trying to score a run right there and that's part of the game."
"What happens if our man slides in with the plate blocked and breaks his leg? Their guy blocked the plate, and our guy bowled him over. What's that got to do with spring training? That's the way you play the game."
"Right is right and wrong is wrong. I'm talking about a guy that's like a son to me, but I can't believe he went after (this issue) the way he did, because that's not Joe Girardi. And being a catcher on top of it. Joe Girardi's a tough guy."
YOUNG, JEWISH, WITH GREAT BAT SPEED. IT JUST DOESN'T GET ANY BETTER
"Whether it was at a grocery store or a restaurant or a bar or a club, there were quite a few instances and just whenever you're recognized in a big city like that and it's not during the baseball season or anything, it's pretty cool. That's when I recognized where I was at and what was going on."
"I've always been a team-first guy, and I obviously recognized that defense wasn't one of our strong points last year. So whenever you have an opportunity to bring in somebody like Mike Cameron that instantly addresses the issue, it makes us a better team."
"I think at times I'm a little bit surprised of my range. I think just my athleticism and instincts take over. (That) ball hit down the line I would've thought would have been a double, and I was able to get to it, cut it off and throw to second base and keep the guy to a single. Things like that that I'm pleasantly surprised about."
"For me, the league never made an adjustment to Ryan Braun last year. When Braunie got in little funks it was because he got overanxious and came out of his approach. When he stayed in his approach, they couldn't do much with him."
"For me, I think I've always been able to pride myself on making adjustments quickly. Having gone through the league now and seen all the pitchers, it'll be a bigger advantage to me than to them."
WE TAKE IT BACK: YOU COULD BE LEFTHANDED, TOO
"Not the way I wanted to start my major league career, hitting the first guy I faced. It was just adrenaline out there."
"There was a left-handed pitcher in this organization with only a fastball and curve, and he was pretty good. But I don't want to put that kind of pressure on him. He's not too far away from the changeup. He's got it; it's a matter of locating it."
"It's probably the loosest I've felt in a while. I haven't pitched competitively in nine months, so I was very happy to keep my emotions intact, because after strike three and I was running off the field, I was tearing up."
"I knew Lowell was the first hitter. But after that, I just saw two lefties. I might have gotten in trouble if I saw guys I watched my whole life. I just see a lefty or righty. Obviously, I'm aware of who they are, but I try not to think about it."
"If I could take that stuff out there--Cooperstown, here we come."
"I wish you could see a video of what I saw from center field. He throws that curveball so hard and it snaps 12 to six like you've never seen."
POOR SPINE ANGLE, GREAT FUTURE
"You always hesitate to use the word 'great' too freely, so I'll just say Alex is going to be a good major league player early, and I think he has a chance to be a great player late."
"I wish I had the ability he had. He runs better than I did, he's better defensively, and he has more power than I had at that stage of my career. I think he has a chance to be a very, very, very special player."
"I figured he was going to get in trouble. His spine angle was terrible. He was hitting off his back leg, and he wasn't getting through the ball. Every ball was hit to right field and had topspin on it. It was one of those things where I said, 'How do you change a kid who's never failed?'"
HIS SECRET IS A STEADY DIET OF LONG ISLAND SAND
"He cares about helping people, period. It's as simple as that."
"Mo's the reason Vizcaíno turned his game around last year--Mo's efforts. He wasn't going to let a teammate struggle."
"He told me if you want to stay in the big leagues with the Yankees, you have to stay straight. You don't have to go to the clubs, you don't have to drink. That's what he showed me, because he doesn't drink and he doesn't go to the clubs."
"I didn't want to do that in spring training. But sometimes when you fall behind on those guys, you have to throw everything out the window and go after them as if it was the normal season."
"I know him, so there aren't too many times I'll throw him a fastball. I'll give it to him now. I'll text him tonight and say 'You're welcome.'"
"You can't be afraid to trade a popular player. In 1987, we were going to trade Tony Pena and people said, 'We can't trade Tony Pena. He's our most popular player.' I said, 'If we lose a hundred games two years in a row, we won't have any popular players.' "
"I think the strikeout is one of the most overrated stats in baseball. It's an out just like anything else. You can pretty much tell how I'm hitting by the counts. If somebody is on base, I'm trying to do some damage. But if there's nobody on base, I like to see some pitches."
"When he got the new contract, I called him to congratulate him. Well-deserved. He's one of the classiest people in the game. He runs a good program. His teams are well-prepared, and it's no secret why they are as good as they are. It starts with Terry. He gets the most out of his players. He understands his players about as well as any manager in the game. If he's like me, the thing I did was I learned to listen. If you just talk, talk, talk and don't listen, you're not going to hear the things that will make you better."
"I don't want to waste all my good innings in spring training."
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.