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February 25, 2013

The Week in Quotes

February 18-24

by Pete Barrett, Hudson Belinsky, Jonah Birenbaum and Andrew Koo

MO FACES HITTERS FOR FIRST TIME IN TEN MONTHS
"[It was] the first BP that I threw in almost a year, so I'm real happy with the results. It will get better. The longer I keep throwing, it will get better. ... It's good, man. I feel real good. I feel real good with the results."
—Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who threw live BP on Friday, marking the first time he has thrown to hitters since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament last April. (Adam Berry, MLB.com)

"Delivery, the ball movement, the strikes he's throwing, he's throwing it where he wants to, not taking a lot of time in between pitches—he looked normal to me. I'm not sure what he's going to say, but I don't see anything different, for me."
—Yankees manager Joe Girardi, assessing Rivera’s performance.

"The cutter's still cutting."
—Former Yankees catcher Jorge Posada, who’s serving as a guest instructor at Yankees camp this spring.

CESPEDES HITS HOMER WITH DONUT ON BAT, SHOCKS FEW
"He told me today he was going to hit a home run off of me with the donut on the bat. That's what he did."
—Athletics manager Bob Melvin, marveling at Yoenis Cespedes, who, as promised, hit a home run in batting practice with a weight affixed to his bat. (Casey Pratt, CSNBayArea.com)

"That was almost like Babe Ruth calling his shot."
—Melvin

"He's comfortable with everything now, so he doesn't have to think about it. He's comfortable with his teammates; his teammates are comfortable with him. He knows the routine with what we are doing in spring training. A lot of the stuff that he had to think about last year is second nature to him now."
—Melvin

RUSSELL MARTIN WON’T CATCH ON GUARD FOR THEE
“They both were uneasy about that, and I simply didn’t want to catch.”
—Pirates catcher Russell Martin, who withdrew from the WBC this week. The 30-year-old said both his MLB club and the Canadian national team felt uncomfortable with his desire to play shortstop during the tournament, and Martin was not prepared to catch. (Canadian Press, Globe and Mail)

“It’s just too much grind. The catcher’s out there the whole game, and it just takes your body so long to recover from catching 20 innings or so.”
—Martin, who caught more innings than all but five catchers in 2012.

“I feel sorry for [Canada], but sometimes you just have to look out for what’s best for you. You have to make a personal choice. But I’m really sorry for how all this went down.”
—Martin

SPRING ADJUSTMENTS
"We had a deal. [Pablo Sandoval] had to get to a certain [weight] before I would play him. To his credit, he did."
—Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who challenged third baseman Pablo Sandoval to drop a few pounds if he wanted more playing time. (Chris Haft, MLB.com)

"I've gotten better at it every year. I'm not saying I'm going to walk 50 times, but that would be awesome."
—Angels second baseman Howard Kendrick, on improving his plate discipline. His career high is 33 in 2011, good for a 5.7 percent walk rate. (Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times)

“He’s trying to change his stride a little bit so it’s not so much movement, and he’s just not getting himself in hitting position right now. It’s a work in progress. The only way to get it is to get in the batter’s box and swing. And today he had a terrible day, but it’s going to come with making the adjustments he’s trying to make."
—Mets manager Terry Collins, on Lucas Duda’s hitting woes. (Jorge Castillo, NJ.com)

"I want to get a tough play. I want to make a mistake so I can learn something before the season—a line drive, a sun ball, something like that. I want to be challenged."
—Reds center fielder Shin-Soo Choo, on learning how to play in center. (Mark Sheldon, MLB.com)

"I could command my fastball, but my breaking ball a couple of times went in the dirt—and my changeup. I need to throw them for strikes. And with my changeup, I want to throw it behind [in the count], down in the zone."
—Rockies starter Juan Nicasio, on commanding his secondary pitches. (Thomas Harding, MLB.com)

“Spring training is a strange time, because there could be one day you feel pretty good and the next day you don't. It kind of goes back and forth like that. The idea is to build consistency. I definitely feel better this spring than I have the last couple springs at the plate, and part of that has been some of the stuff [hitting coach] Dave Hansen has been working on with me.”
—Mariners designated hitter Raul Ibanez, on the conditioning through spring training, entering his 18th year as a big-leaguer. (Greg Johns, MLB.com)

TWITTER

—Rays left-hander Cesar Ramos forgot to thank the academy! (Marc Topkin, @TBTimes_Rays, Tampa Bay Times)

—Danks believes he’ll be ready to go at the start of the 2013 season as the White Sox look make it to the playoffs for the first time since 2008. (Scott Merkin, @scottmerkin, MLB.com)

THE REST
“Honestly, literally, it was a confluence of good things. We won the World Series. Immediately after the World Series we focused on the free agents. We just haven’t had time. The easier route was just to pick up the option in ’13 then talk, as we’re talking now, about beyond 2014.”
—Giants president Bill Baer, on extensions for Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean. (Henry Schulman, SFGate.com)

"We're going to have to get creative about how we utilize the pitchers at the top two levels or players are going to have to repeat a level they might not otherwise have to. I'd rather have this problem than what we faced last year, which was giving innings at Double-A and Triple-A to players that weren't a part of our future."
—Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, on his organization’s starting pitching, which became a surplus over the busy offseason. (Brian McTaggart, MLB.com)

"We're going to use our guys. That's our No. 1 objective—to get guys ready for the season. Spring has changed a little bit because we play more games and ESPN keeps track of all the stats. With everyone looking at those numbers, it's like, 'This guy is only hitting .200 in spring.' It doesn't become, 'This guy is preparing for the season.' It's 'This guy is having a bad spring.'"
—Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, on the meaning of spring training stats. (Bill Plunkett, The Orange County Register)

"The controversial trade we made with the Toronto Blue Jays was approved by Commissioner Bud Selig and has been almost universally celebrated by baseball experts outside of Miami for its value."
—Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, on the trade that sent Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, and Mark Buehrle packing. (Gabe Lacques, USAToday.com)

"There is no structural issue. It's just a matter of building up strength, so he will be long-tossing before he gets back on the mound."
—Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, on Johan Santana’s spring debut scheduled for March 2 being pushed back a couple of weeks. (Mike Puma, NYPost.com)

“I need help with that a little bit. I understand we have 35 games this spring, but when I do play I’m gonna play hard and try to be ready. I don’t have a low button or a middle button. It’s always go, go, go when I’m out on the field. So I’m gonna play like that, same as last year.”
—Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, on holding back during spring training. (Adam Kilgore, WashingtonPost.com)

"Now the division's getting better, and I just think there needs to be more of a sense of urgency at the start of the year and especially in spring training. We've got to try and win games in spring training. It's hard to flip the switch. We've had guys that have been talented enough and could always just flip the switch when they had to. That's got to change."
—Phillies ace Roy Halladay, on the need for intensity in camp. (Mandy Housenick, MCall.com)

"It’s nice to have a few guys who are capable of doing it. Hopefully it gets decided out on the field instead of in the training room, but it’s more important to have Garza ready for one of those first five games than rush him along now and see what happens. He’s really a key part to this team, and we all know that.”
—Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija, on the strength at the top of the Cubs rotation and Matt Garza’s health. (Paul Sullivan, ChicagoTribune.com)

"Once I get a green light and they say I can't hurt anything, I am ready to go at it. If there's pain, that won't slow me down. That's part of the rehab process. I'm not worried about that."
—Brewers slugger Corey Hart, on his determination to get back on the field. (Tracy Ringolsby, MLB.com)

"Since I've been here I haven't seen any leadership.”
— Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, on why the Phillies struggled last season. (Mandy Housenick, MCall.com)

 

Jonah Birenbaum is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Jonah's other articles. You can contact Jonah by clicking here
Andrew Koo is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Andrew's other articles. You can contact Andrew by clicking here

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