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Players, managers weigh in on possible pitch clock

“There could be a lot of strategy to go along with this stuff. And until they get this into gameplay and see how it goes, I don’t think anybody really understands what can happen. There’s definitely going to be strategy to this. Initially, I think it’s a bad idea. But I guess I kind of get it.”
—Tigers starting pitcher David Price, on the 20-second pitch clock that will be implemented in the minor leagues this season and that MLB hopes will be introduced at the major league level in the future. (Jeff Passan, Yahoo! Sports)

“It’s going through a routine. You throw a pitch. You fix the mound. You fix your part of the rubber. All that stuff is taken into account. You don’t want to land in a spot that you’re unfamiliar with or don’t know how it’ll take when you land. You want to make sure that spot is good for you to throw the pitch.”
—Price, whose average of 26.6 seconds between pitches last year was the longest wait in the league.

“It’s a unique sport. I get a shot clock in basketball. I don’t want a team running around not shooting the ball. But, in baseball, especially in the postseason, or down the stretch, when you’ve got millions of people watching on TV and you’ve got the entire weight of the season on every single pitch, to tell me I need to throw a pitch in 15 or 20 seconds without allowing that pitcher to take a breath or slow the game down … I think that would be criminal to do that.”
—Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright, on the possibility of a pitch clock. (Rick Hummel, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

“I’m waiting on the commercial breaks half the time,” he said. “It’s unbelievable. We’ve got two minute, 45 second breaks sometimes. And most of the commercials are not kid-appropriate. The commercials are ridiculous. I was, unfortunately, watching the World Series from home last year and was embarrassed by some of the commercials that were on TV that I had to tell my kids to leave the room. I’m not going to call out individual companies but you know what I’m saying. So … take that.”
—Wainwright.

“If you really want to trim the game, let us just go out and warm up and we can go when we want, we don't have to wait for the green placard to say 'go. We're out there and we're waiting for another 30 seconds, 40 seconds. That starts to add up pretty quickly too.”
—Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander, on other possible delays to eliminate. (Dana Wakiji, FOX Sports Detroit)

“I think what has to happen is this has to be done at the minor league level over a course of a number of years so that as these players come up it's ingrained in them to kind of stay in the box," Ausmus said. "I think that's probably the best way to do it when it comes to time-saving. When you're trying to save time at the major league level, you should have it start at the minor league level and ingrain it into their thought process and their game.”
—Tigers manager Brad Ausmus.

Quotable Dodgers hurlers open up on numerous subjects

"If some things are going good, you can use [the opt-out clause] for more power for you, and there is no negative to it," Greinke reasoned. "Right after I signed my contract with Kansas City, I kind of wished I didn't right after I signed it, my initial plan was to not let that happen again, to do everything possible to keep my options open."
—Dodgers starting pitcher Zack Greinke, who has the option of opting out of his contract after this season. (Eric Stephen, True Blue LA)

“You can't really trust a front office, what they tell you. Guys in the past have signed long deals, then get traded the next year. I think it happened this offseason, someone was told he wasn't going to be traded, then he was traded. It happens all the time," Greinke said. "The team is going to do what's best for them if they can. You can't really fault them for that. Just like you're going to do what's best for you, their job is to do what's best for the team.”
—Greinke.

“You can only, at least in my mind, read so many stats and look at so many things before you go out there and think, ‘OK, how am I going to get Matt Kemp out this time?’” Anderson said. “You can do all the planning going into it, but then gut instinct and feel kind of takes over a little bit. It’s a fine line between doing that, watching too much video and doing it in the game.”
—Dodgers starting pitcher Brett Anderson, on his use of analytics. (J.P. Hoornstra, Los Angeles Daily News)

“See what pitches are getting hit, what aren’t. FanGraphs, where my arm slot is on different pitches where you think it’s release the same but it’s not. Some of that stuff has come into play. When it boils down to it, you can’t really think about that during the game.”
—Anderson, on which data he does utilize.

“In my mind, I thought it definitely was going to be the case,” he says, sitting at his locker at the Dodgers’ complex. “At least that’s where I was saying I wanted to go. At that point, I wasn’t considering anywhere else. It was perfect. It’s the Yankees. You don’t think money is going to be an issue. This is just going to be, ‘we’ll just find a way to make this fit.’”
Brandon McCarthy, on expecting to return to the Bronx at the end of last season. Instead, the starting pitcher signed a four-year, $48 million deal with the Dodgers. (Andy Martino, New York Daily News)

“At that point, probably….(My agent) knew full well going in that ‘I want to go to the Yankees, and we need to make it work.’ And I think that five-day window just passed, and it became — It wasn’t like ‘you’re priority one, let’s do this.’ That’s where we started to open up and say, ‘Ok, what are plans B and C?’”
—McCarthy, on whether he would have returned to the Yankees on a three-year deal. He indicated that he was prepared to re-sign with the team immediately after the season.

“And it was just so quiet for so long with the Yankees that you realize, ok you’re not the first priority. It’s so stupid, but you feel like an actor. You sound so pretentious and stupid saying it, but you’re like, ‘someone showed me attention.’ You play your whole life for people to say nice things. And one team is being aggressive, and one team is just kind of hemming and hawing about it.”
—McCarthy, on the Yankees not being as aggressive at signing him as he had hoped.

Pirates studying success of Golden State Warriors

“I read an interesting article a while ago on the Golden State Warriors, how they get maximum production with their players,” Hurdle said. “They're actually playing less, and they're playing better collectively as a group.”
—Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, on the Warriors, who are often recognized as one of the NBA’s more analytically-inclined organizations. (Jayson Stark, ESPN.com)

“We're not in that same mode. But how do you maximize all the ability that you have and the abilities that you have? What's the right amount of reps for a guy? What are the at-bats you want to carry through at certain times, the innings that are played? You've got to keep an eye on everything. But it caught our attention, just for the fact that they have found a rhythm and a rhyme, through the coaching staff and the player pool that they have. And at the point in time of the article, they were playing the best basketball they have in a long time. And actually, minutes per game were down for some of their key core players.”
—Hurdle.

“We're always looking collectively as a group … just watching different models of behavior,” Hurdle said, “whether it's the NFL or the NBA or hockey. They're the perfect example of maximizing ice time and shifts and things like that.”
—Hurdle. Pirates general manager Neil Huntington told ESPN.com that a member of the front office noticed the trend while conducting a study of the Warriors.

“We're looking for how it can apply to baseball,” Hurdle said. “You've got to continue to try and be creative, to look for different ways to do things in the model that we have here. And there's a lot of different ways to learn and a lot of different things to learn from.”
—Hurdle.

The Rest

“He just kept saying: ‘They’re going to burn this city down again when we win the World Series,’”
—Cubs president Theo Epstein, recalling a dinner he had with then-free agent Jon Lester at the end of the club’s recruiting pitch. (Patrick Mooney, CSN Chicago)

“It was a sacrifice, but it's part of your job. I still ate tacos, but I would eat one instead of four or five like before.”
—Dodgers pitching prospect Julio Urias, on dropping nearly 20 pounds this past offseason. The 18-year-old spent time working with a nutritionist in his hometown of Culiacan, in the state of Sinaloa. (Jorge L. Ortiz, USA Today)

“I know how to call a game,” Kozma said. “I can see all of Yadi's signs. Whenever he makes a mound visit, I'm right there. … Getting back there and actually doing it, the ball will be a little different than being at the plate or seeing it. I will be able to see a lot more.”
—Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma, who will get some work catching in the batting cages or on the backfields this spring in preparation of serving as the club’s emergency catcher. (Jenifer Langosch, MLB.com)

“I’m watching this kid Kris Bryant, and he missed on a ball and popped it up, and all of a sudden it’s landing against the fence. It’s incredible to watch, and he didn’t even hit it square. Imagine when he connects what happens. You see that with all the young hitters here. I was hitting with [Javier] Baez, and it’s amazing what power he’s got. You see it with every guy.”
—Cubs catcher David Ross, on his impression of the club’s young hitters. (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)

“We actually got a note telling him to cool it. That actually makes sense. That's all we need. If we get the MLB on us, we don't need the FAA. We'll be in all kinds of trouble… I saw the drone the other day," Francona continued. "I told him if that drone hits [Corey] Kluber, he's released.”
—Indians manager Terry Francona, on MLB asking Trevor Bauer to stop flying his homemade drone over the team’s spring training fields in Surprise, Arizona (Henry Green, Fox Sports Ohio)

“It's to be expected because I'm the guy who has the big contract. There are times when it can be a big nuisance because I have to answer questions. But most of it's noise. I think that I've proven when healthy that I'm a healthy part of the team. But, in terms of like … I've got to be careful about what I say here … but being in the middle of it sometimes I think it's really, really silly. I'm not going to use the word ignorant — but ignorant. But I also think there's some validity to it. You know it's coming from a perspective that's kind of nostalgic. I don't think certain things have been taken into context. Ultimately, it's entertainment. I'm part of the entertainment industry. If there wasn't debates like this, then really what the hell are we doing? This is great I'm the big-money guy. I'm the guy that's supposed to do certain things and has done certain things in the past and they expect them in the future, so let's get after it. That's great. I'm glad that I can be a lightning rod. As long as I'm lightning rod while performing — whether it's the 2010 version or 2013 version, you cannot say that I haven't performed and been able to provide value for the team and help the team get to the playoffs. Both examples I was part of a playoff team. I'm not saying the main part or anything like that. But I was a part of it. As long as I'm part of that, that's the most important thing. But it's fun. Nobody gets hurt. I should expect it.”
—Reds first baseman Joey Votto, on those who question his patient approach at the plate (John Fay, Cincinnati Enquirer)

“I'm a starting pitcher. Whatever they're thinking, whatever is in their mind, that's their stuff. I control my attitude and my work ethic. All I can say is I'm excited to be here. … I'm a starting pitcher. I'm coming in trying to make a team, trying to earn a spot, but I am a starting pitcher.”
—Cardinals starting pitcher Jaime Garcia, on his role within the Cardinals pitching staff (Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

“They gave me my space and gave me time. Getting traded over here didn't move the needle one way or the other really. I wanted to make sure I was going to be 100 percent committed into in just like I have been my whole career. Once I was committed in the offseason to putting in the work I was ready to go. I think a lot of things were probably overblown, one, because I never really said anything directly to any media at all. I'm here. I'm happy to be here. I had a good talk with [manager] Mike Redmond. I'm ready to get going.”
—Marlins starting pitcher Dan Haren, on considering retirement this offseason (Juan C. Rodriguez, Sun Sentinel)

“I get a sac fly and to left field, 285 feet — and it's a blown save. I get the next two guys out, bing, bang, boom — and blown save. There's nothing worse than a blown save. I wasn't in there to save the game and I get a blown save. RE24 will tell you that first and third and nobody out, that guy at third is going to score most of the time. That guy's probably going to score to tie the game, my job is to make sure the guy on first doesn't score, so we're not losing the game. I did my job.”
—Reds pitcher Burke Badenhop, on how he uses advanced analytics including Run Expectancy to evaluate his own performance (C. Trent Rosecrans, Cincinnati Enquirer)

“I understand I'm different from what everyone expects or wants to see. But at this point, if you're not going to buy in to at least say that I can hold my own here, then you probably never will. So at this point it doesn't really matter if people are still second-guessing or still wondering how or why or if there's some black magic involved in how I'm able to get guys out.”
—Diamondbacks starting pitcher Josh Collmenter, on his high-80 fastball and unorthodox delivery. (Nick Piecoro, AZ Central)

“I don’t want to be looked at as some renegade in the community,” Werth said. “I live here. I felt like maybe some people might have the wrong idea of me. This doesn’t look the best. It was a one-time event. I was on my way to work one day. It was a Sunday morning. There was no one around on the Beltway. At the same time, I felt like people may have the wrong idea of me. In reflection, I thought, ‘What can I do make this right?’ ”
—Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth, on spending five days in jail for reckless driving. (Adam Kilgore, Washington Post)

“Well, first that assumes that if you are restricted to signing guys that are 300 (thousand) or less, it’s significantly worse (than if you’re not),” he said. “That’s an assumption you would have to make. I’m not positive that that’s the case. Obviously you would have to sit out Cuban players that are cap-eligible, but in terms of overall adding players to your system, I’m not positive that one is better than the other. It’s a debate that we’ll always have, we’ll continue to tweak. But adding depth to our system and having as many quality young players as we can is absolutely a focal point.”
—Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, on whether the organization’s farm system is strong enough to not spend more than $300,000 on signing a cap-eligible international player over the next two years, which would be a cost of signing prized Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada. (J.P. Hoornstra, Los Angeles Daily News)

“Obviously, the main focus for me my last few years, or whatever I have left, is to win. If this team shows they're going to win while I'm here, then obviously I don't want to go anywhere else. If they go another way, then I don't think I have time to waste. I want to win a World Series and I want to be on a team thinking like that.”
—Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre, on how he wants to wind down his career. Beltre, 36, has a team option for 2016 that the Rangers can void if Beltre does not have 600 plate appearances in 2015. (Ron Matejko, ESPN.com)

“Maybe I would have toned it down a little bit as far as not letting all the media and all the, I guess, hype or expectations ride on me," he said. "I put pressure on myself anyway, and my goal was to make the team last year. It's the same this year, but I was so caught up on every pitch and every outing. You just can't pitch like that. You don't succeed when your mind-frame is like that and you put that much pressure on yourself.”
—Diamondbacks pitching prospect Archie Bradley, on how he would have handled spring training differently last year. (Nick Piecoro, AZ Central)

“The Yankees are rebuilding in a way. A lot of guys are leaving, and we’re starting to get a lot more of the younger guys coming in here, too. With the Marlins last year, that whole group was young. It’s exciting to be part of the Yankees.”
—Yankees starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, on the differences between playing for the Marlins and the Yankees. Eovaldi was acquired in an offseason trade that sent Martin Prado to Miami. (Mark Feinsand, New York Daily News)

“The elbow feels great. Picking up the ball, it's like I never left. I honestly forget that something happened.”
—Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey, who on Sunday threw his first official bullpen session since having Tommy John surgery. (Anthony DiComo, MLB.com)

“It’s not day-to-day — to me, it’s more like pitch-to-pitch. I mean, in the course of a game, I don’t know how many pitches a game can turn on, but it’s not too many. And you’d hate to miss a couple of them… Little mistakes left uncorrected lead to big mistakes, I firmly believe that. There’s a right way to do things, and if you don’t emphasize fundamentals, you have to play that much better to overcome it. And we don’t have that luxury.”
—Twins manager Paul Molitor, describing his approach to managing a team. This season will be Molitor’s first as Minnesota’s manager. (Phil Miller, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

“Frankly, I apologized for those comments that I made that were public,” Amaro said. “And I think he appreciated that. Other than that, I want to keep the conversation private. It was a good talk.”
—Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., on apologizing to first baseman Ryan Howard for comments earlier this offseason about how the team would be better off without the aging slugger. (Ryan Lawrence, Philadelphia Daily News)

“I'm sure we'll have a lot of meetings about that. We'll decide what's best. We want to see how they're both throwing the baseball at the end of Spring Training. There will be just a lot of discussion of how we feel our team is built. Could they be interchangeable? Yeah.”
—Yankees manager Joe Girardi, on the possibility of using a combination of Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller in the closer role this season. (Bryan Hoch, MLB.com)

“I think agents are beneficial to a lot of guys who are fringe players or superstars. How do you say no to $130 million and end up getting $180 million? It takes an agent. I'm not one of those guys. I'm pretty slotted within a range of what I believe is fair, of guys I'm comparable to. I don't have anything negative toward agents. I just felt like I could handle my own business.”
—Angels closer Huston Street, who has acted as his own agent since 2012, when he negotiated a two-year, $14 million deal with the Padres. (Mike DiGiovanna, Los Angeles Times)