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April 1, 2013

The Week In Quotes

March 25-31

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

IT’S OPENING DAY!!!
"It's going to be pretty special. Opening Day is already just so cool, but to be introduced as the captain, that's pretty special. It's something I didn't really think about until a couple of days [ago] and then started thinking about it, it's going to be pretty special and obviously a memorable Opening Day for me."
—Mets third baseman David Wright talking about why this Opening Day will be special. (Matt Ehalt, ESPNNewYork.com)

“I'm hungry. I can use all my tools again—running, being aggressive, getting back to my game. I'm getting a fresh start, a chance to clear my mind after the last two years.”
—Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford, who will look to recover from several injuries and bounce back in 2013. (Lyle Spencer, MLB.com)

“We don't get too far ahead of ourselves, and we don't think too far ahead, but I've said many times that we'd like to take the success, the confidence that we had last year, and go into this season with that. [...] I feel like we have the chance to be better, but you don't want to put that kind of pressure on yourselves, either. We just try to put all of our efforts into a particular day and leave it all out there, and then come back the next day and do the same thing.”
—Athletics manager Bob Melvin, in a quote that perfectly embodies the phrase, “cautiously optimistic.” (Jane Lee, MLB.com)

“Pitching in such an intense series definitely helped me. It felt as big as the World Series in the Caribbean. And putting pressure on yourself early is a good thing if you can control it. It helps you prepare for the start of the regular season. [...] I'm excited about Opening Day No. 3. It's a big honor. I can't wait for that first game in New York. I've been blessed to have these opportunities. It's a big moment, and it's pretty emotional.”
—Padres starter Edinson Volquez, who was tabbed as the team’s Opening Day starter against the New York Mets. (Corey Brock, MLB.com)

“I had to go into some pretty tough situations my first couple outings there. Actually, every outing there. I think it just gave me an early start trying to set back the nerves and adrenaline to face hitters, which is what I'm going to be experiencing this year."
—Marlins closer Steve Cishek on how the World Baseball Classic helped prepare him for his role with the Marlins this season. (Craig Davis, Sun-Sentinel.com)

“To me, [Tim Hudson is] a professional. Class. Durable. Great for the clubhouse, great teammate, great for the city. For me, at the end of his career he can be talked about as guys like (Tom) Glavine, (Greg) Maddux, (John) Smoltz, as far as what they meant to the community and everything they’ve done on the field.”
—Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, on his Opening Day starting pitcher, Tim Hudson. (David O’Brien, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

“Finally, spring training is over. It was a long one. I'm very excited. It's another season. We are a different team. And that's why I'm pretty excited.”
—Mariners ace Felix Hernandez. (Greg Johns, MLB.com)

ROSTER BATTLES CONCLUDE, WINNERS ARISE
“He improves our outfield defense. He showed a very consistent approach at the plate. A lot of people want to maybe target the batting average in spring training, but in our evaluation it goes much deeper than that. When you see the consistency of at-bats he put up, we feel like the strength in his mental approach will handle some of the distractions that will ultimately be thrown his way.”
—Red Sox manager John Farrell, on outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., whose spring performance granted him a big-league starting job. (Spencer Fordin, MLB.com)

“What he's shown is he's getting close, stuff-wise, to what he had been several years ago when he almost won a Cy Young (in 2007). The velocity's been good. The movement on the pitches has been good. The changeup has been outstanding. Slider's been good. Everything's been good. The ball's been on the ground. Pretty big, strong guy that you think can suck up some innings. So all those things.”
—Rays manager Joe Maddon, on starter Roberto Hernandez, who won the final rotation spot over right-hander Jeff Niemann. (Marc Topkin, Tampa Bay Times)

“Are we trying to win, or what are we doing? Can you imagine if we sent somebody out that did what the kid did, and I had to look at (Josh) Willingham and (Justin) Morneau and (Glen) Perkins and (Joe) Mauer and those guys that are trying to win, and I'm going to stop that guy? I just don't believe in that. I hear this stuff. Not here.”
—Twins general manager Terry Ryan, on the decision to make prospect Aaron Hicks the everyday center fielder after an incredible spring training. (Mike Berardino, St. Paul Pioneer Press)

A FLURRY OF EXTENSIONS
“I think it was obviously a great situation for him. I think it's a great situation for the organization. I think it's a great situation for the fans. He's been with the Tigers for going on his eighth year, [and he could stay] conceivably 15 years or maybe 16. That's pretty much a whole career. I think that's got a nice ring to it.”
—Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who would love nothing more than to see ace Justin Verlander remain in Detroit his entire career. Verlander signed a five-year, $140 million extension on Saturday. (Adam Berry, MLB.com)

“My teammates were a big factor in me wanting to come back here. I love our clubhouse from the attendants to every player in there. I just don’t know if it gets better anywhere else. I’ve had opposing players come up and say, ‘You don’t know how good you have it here.’ Actually, I do realize how good I have it.”
—Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright talking about his teammates after signing a five-year, $97.5 extension to stay in St. Louis. (Joe Strauss, St. Louis-Post Dispatch)

“He's a first-class person all the way through, and I think that's one big asset he brings. Obviously, he brings ability too, but character is pretty important to us the way we want this organization to run. It's been a plan for a while to put a core group together that we could believe in, and they could play well together and grow together. We think we have that.”
—Diamondbacks managing general partner Ken Kendrick, on first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who signed a five-year, $32 million extension on Saturday. (Steve Gilbert, MLB.com)

“It’s hard to put into words what I feel right now... You get kind of spoiled when you win a World Series in your first year. These fans, the Giants community, I don’t see how you could play here and not want to spend your career here.”
—Giants catcher Buster Posey, who will wear his jersey proudly for nine years in San Francisco. The franchise backstop will be paid $167 million over the duration of the contract. (Joe Stiglich, CSN Bay Area)

RICKY “A”IN’T SO FINE
“I mean, I don’t belong here, to be honest with you.  I’m a big-league pitcher, and I’m confident in all my capabilities that I can get up there and help that team win.”
—Toronto left-hander Ricky Romero, who was caught off guard when the Blue Jays optioned to High-A Dunedin this week.  The 28-year-old struggled with his control and mechanics this spring, picking up where he left off in 2012, wherein he posted a 5.77 ERA with 5.22 BB/9.  (Shi Davidi, Sportsnet.ca)

“I thought it was going to be harder because when it happened, I go like, ‘This is supposed to help my confidence?’  When it first happens, you’re kind of like, ‘Whoa.’ A million thoughts go through your head. I don’t know if you guys have ever been fired from a job, you go and sit at home and you’re like, ‘What the hell did I do wrong?’ Tons of questions go through your head, tons of stuff goes through your head.
—Romero

“(Thursday) I woke up and I was like, ‘You know what, no one’s going to feel sorry me,’ I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. I’ve got to go out there and work, work, work, because I’m not planning on being here for two weeks, three weeks. I want to get this done quick, and I’m going to spend all the time that I can to get up to Toronto and be with those guys because I am part of the team and I belong there.”
—Romero

“I’m not a minor-league pitcher; I’m a major-league pitcher. I’m an all-star for a reason. I’m going to throw out all this stuff because I am confident in my abilities. I’ve always been kind of shy to go, ‘Oh, yeah, I’m this,’ but that’s what I consider myself and I know what I have the potential to do and be when I’m up there, and the impact I can make on a game when I’m out there pitching.”
—Romero

TWITTER

—Cardinals’ pitching prospect Shelby Miller, on making the club as the team’s fifth starter. (St. Louis Cardinals, @Cardinals)

—Last year’s second overall pick impressed manager Ron Gardenhire when he continued to display all the tools this spring. (Rhett Bollinger, @RhettBollinger, MLB.com)

—Given his bloated ERA, Nova might prefer to evaluate himself using DIPs. (Andy McCullough, @AndyMcCulloughSL, Star Ledger)

—Broadcaster Vin Scully appreciates support from fans as he enters his 64th season calling games for the Dodgers. (Dodgers Public Relations Department, @DodgersPR)

—San Diego didn’t protect first baseman Nate Freiman in the Rule 5 draft, and Houston nabbed him before Oakland claimed him off waivers. (Randy Smith, @ResPadres, Padres VP of Player Development)

—The rivalry between the Yankees and the Red Sox lives on. (David Lennon, @DPLennon, Newsday)

—Minnesota’s team president believes the Twins will be competitive this month. (David St. Peter, @TwinsPrez, President of the Minnesota Twins)

—The Marlins will include top prospect Jose Fernandez in their rotation this season, despite the fact that he’s never pitched above High-A. (Joe Capozzi, @joecapMARLINS, Palm Beach Post)

THE REST
“We try to evaluate him on all those things, and on wins and losses. It's just we evaluate wins and losses realistically. If we give him a team with a true talent level. … Last year we felt like we were a 69-win team heading into the season. We were on pace for 69 wins at the trade deadline, and then we traded everyone and people got hurt. So we evaluated him relative to our own internal expectations, not wins and losses.”
—Cubs president Theo Epstein, on how he evaluates manager Dale Sveum given the limited talent he has to work with. (Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune)

“I never considered myself that type of player, but when I came over here, I became a leader. And every time I take the mound, I take the mound for these guys. I mentioned it a million times last year: I'm not here for my stats. I'm trying to win ballgames and bring a championship to Pittsburgh, and we'll see what happens. Just going to go out there and try to lead by example and be able to motivate these guys and help any way that I can. That's what keeps me coming back every day, man.
—Pirates starting pitcher A.J. Burnett, on his role as a leader in Pittsburgh. (John Lembo, Bradenton.com)

“I don't worry about what people think. I have a wife, I have kids, I have a job to do. At the same time, they don't know me. They don't understand me. They'll never know the real me until they spend time with me, interact and have a relationship. There's no need for me to stress about it or worry about whether or not people remember me as the guy who gave everything or the guy who missed the fly ball, because my identity is not wrapped up in the game.”
—Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton, on putting his Rangers career behind him. (Alden Gonzalez, MLB.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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Fantasy Freestyle: The... (04/01)
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The Week In Quotes: Ma... (03/25)
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Collateral Damage: San... (04/01)

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