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April 15, 2013

The Week in Quotes

April 8-14

by Pete Barrett, Jonah Birenbaum and Andrew Koo

MARTY FOSTER COLLECTS SAVE #300 FOR JOE NATHAN
"I saw the pitch and of course don't have the chance to do it again, but had I had a chance to do it again, I wouldn't call that pitch a strike."
—Umpire Marty Foster, admitting he blew the call on Monday when he rung up Tampa Bay’s Ben Zobrist to end the game, sealing a 5-4 victory for Texas and giving Joe Nathan his 300th career save. (Marc Topkin, Tampa Bay Times)

"Without getting to really unload my brain right now, which I am very tempted to do, all I want to say is that cannot happen in a major-league baseball game.”
—Rays manager Joe Maddon, who was incensed at the call, and even took to Twitter to voice his displeasure.

"It was a tough time to have a bad call. I just hope it doesn't end up costing us the playoffs in the end. I know it's the first week of the season. But every win is important. And we might have had a chance to win that one. But everybody makes mistakes. So what are you going to do?"
—Strikeout victim Ben Zobrist, on Foster’s call.

"I think I might have been the last guy on the field to realize the game was over."
—Texas beneficiary Joe Nathan

$61 MILLION CAN STILL BUY A DECENT PITCHER (AND HITTER!)
“He's got four good pitches and he used them all. Fastballs to both sides of the plate, his changeup is really good as well and kept guys off balance. He threw it in just about every count. The slow curveball kind of slowed guys down too, and then the hard slider he was throwing into righties and away to lefties starts out looking like his fastball, so he did a good job keeping guys off balance and locating his pitches.”
—Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, with a quick report on Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu, who has posted a 2.89 ERA to start his MLB career. (Ken Gurnick, MLB.com)

“He can throw his off-speed pitches any time he needs it. He knows when he has to throw a strike and when to make them chase. It got to the point with a left-handed hitter at 2-0 and he wanted to throw a change-up. I've never seen that before and he threw it for a strike. Then he throws 93-94 fastballs.”
—Dodgers catcher Ramon Hernandez.

“More than anything, he's able to locate it and he's able use his changeup behind in the count. In hitter's counts, he can pitch backward. If you can do that in this game, you're going to be successful.”
—Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. (Dylan Hernandez, Los Angeles Times)

“Even in high school, I don't think I got three hits in one game.”
—Ryu, who also contributed a 3-for-3 night at the plate in the Dodgers’ 7-5 win.

THE MILESTONE HUNTER
"It's awesome, man. I'd been playing for the Twins for all those years, and when I'd come here, I still felt a little love. And now that I'm here, they've seen me play, they've seen me grow as a player. They saw a young 22-year-old Torii Hunter. They saw the 25-year-old, the 27-year-old, the 30-year-old.”
—Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter, who picked up career hit No. 2,000 on Tuesday, on what it meant to accomplish the feat in the Motor City. (Jason Beck, MLB.com)

"They saw me grow and play this game. To get 2,000 hits, I'm thankful that they showed the support.”
—Hunter

"I think he's pretty professional at shooting the ball through the hole there when Jackson's on.  He's a smart player. He does a lot of things pretty smart, and he sees what's there. He tries to take what's there. I think that's how I'd put it."
Tigers skipper Jim Leyland, on what Hunter continues to bring to the table at age 37. Through his first 50 plate appearances of 2013, the outfielder is hitting at a .388 clip with one home run and three doubles.

HOT STARTS AND APRIL BLUES
"We don't have base-stealing guys ... David [Wright] and Murph [Daniel Murphy] have been .300 hitters in their careers, but we don't have a lot of guys like that. We're going to have to live and die with some power, and I've said before, once we get Ike [Davis] going, we've got a chance to be dangerous."
Mets manager Terry Collins on the Mets’ viability as a contender if their power streak continues. (Patrick Donnelly, MLB.com)

"Masty was so good. He threw an obscene amount of strikes. It was fun to watch. It would have been more fun if we'd have had about nine runs, but it was really good.”
Indians manager Terry Francona, on starter Justin Masterson, who threw 81 of his 113 pitches for strikes on Friday night, a complete-game shutout. The Tribe defeated the White Sox 1-0 thanks to an RBI single from Nick Swisher in the bottom of the ninth. Masterson is now 3-0 with a 0.41 ERA and 0.82 WHIP in 2013. (Dennis Manoloff, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“I've just been making adjustments. I've been working hard every day with [hitting coach] Greg Walker. I'm just trying to get things going in the right direction. Today is a start. We've got to just build off of that.”
Braves center fielder B.J. Upton, after his three-hit game raised his batting average to .163. (Mark Bowman, MLB.com)

TWITTER

—The perils of being a career .231 hitter. (Trevor Plouffe, @TPlouffe24, Minnesota Twins)

—The head of the Nation speaks after Friday’s big brawl with the Padres. (Magic Johnson, @MagicJohnson, Los Angeles Dodgers)

—J.P. sends props to his fellow catcher. Henry Blanco caught R.A. Dickey’s first Blue Jay win on Saturday. (J.P. Arencibia, @jparencibia9, Toronto Blue Jays)

THE REST
“I just feel like right now I'm able to throw my curveball for strikes more than I was able to in the past. I think that makes it easier to throw it. It's not an easy pitch to hit, and any time you can get somebody off your fastball, it's usually a good thing too. [...] Some guys see my fastball really well, and I'm going to throw something else up there and see if they can hit that one. I never want to stick to a pattern. There's plenty of scouting reports out there and tendencies and this early in the season, you want to try and vary your pitches so they don't get a good enough report later in the season.”
Diamondbacks set-up man David Hernandez, on the increased use of his curveball this season. (Steve Gilbert, MLB.com)

“I threw one at his neck, and he tomahawks it out. You don’t really face a guy like that ever. You don’t really have any book to go off of.”
Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg, on his high heater to Braves catcher Evan Gattis on Saturday, which ended up in the left-field bleachers. (David O’Brien, The Atlantic Journal-Constitution)

“You have to pick up the slack with Wilson on the DL. I'll try to do the best that I can. It's unfortunate. We had a pretty good thing going. Since I came over last year, if [manager Davey Johnson] says I'm in, I'm in. … Davey doesn't need to ask if I'm good, I'll be good to go.”
Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki, on fellow catcher Wilson Ramos being placed on the 15-day DL with a left hamstring strain. (Bill Ladson, MLB.com)

“We have an abundance of good, young arms. You're not going to hit on all of them. But the more you have, the higher percentage of good pitching you're going to have. I think it's definitely a bright spot for us.”
Marlins vice president of player development, Marty Scott, on the state of the Marlins’ farm. (Joe Frisario, MLB.com)

“I want to win a World Series, and that's why I'm here. That's why I want to play. The personal milestones are great. My wife, my familythey are all excited about it. But the ultimate goal is to get to the playoffs and win a World Series.”
—Phillies ace Roy Halladay, after winning his 200th career game. (Todd Zolecki, MLB.com)

“When we say 'slow the game down,' it doesn't mean make the ball go slower or the pitch go slower. It's how can you in your mindbefore a ball is hit to you, before you step in the batter's boxhow can you go over the situations in your head before the ball is hit to you?”
—Cubs manager Dale Sveum, on how Starlin Castro can improve the mental side of his game. (Carrie Muskat, MLB.com)

“Our persistence in pitching inside has been paying dividends. It's been relentless all season long, and it's something we want to keep doing, even when we're not getting strikes. When you're feeling that ball in, as a hitter, it just isn't quite as comfortable.”
—Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, on the importance of pitching inside. (Tom Singer, MLB.com)

“Over time, people don't know a whole bunch about how blacks were treated back then. This showed how things were really like, not just with baseball, but with everything. It's been a long time, and a lot of details have been forgotten.”
—Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks, on the importance of the movie, 42. (Steve Overbey, MLB.com)

“When I think about Jackie, he impacted our entire society, not only baseball. Through baseball, he was able to open up our society. Jackie in a lot of ways started other movements and to a certain extent led the way for Barack Obama to be president. But the most important thing about Jackie is how he went about it. His impact will be felt for generations to come.”
Omar Minaya, on Jackie Robinson’s impact on baseball. Today is the 66th anniversary of Jackie’s debut. (Barry M. Bloom. 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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