WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC REFLECTION
"As you can imagine, you have to have to focus on the pitch that comes after that one. That first pitch, I had to forget about that. I just calmed myself down."
—Dominican shortstop Erick Aybar, who was justifiably irate after a questionable strike call in the ninth inning of his country’s WBC contest with the United States. He singled home the eventual winning run on the next pitch, and the Dominican Republic ultimately defeated the US. (Barry M. Bloom, MLB.com)
"Of course I owe it to the Mets to be honest with them, and I was. Ultimately when I started going in and getting treatment for it, the Mets saw that and they called me. I was honest with how I was feeling. So I was on board 100 percent with the decision that they made. … Once it got to the point where I started not being able to sleep, or when it was painful to lounge around, that's when obviously I started going to get treatment and talking to [trainer] Ray [Ramirez] and [general manager] Sandy [Alderson] and those guys.”
—Mets soon-to-be-captain David Wright on dropping out of the WBC. (Adam Rubin, ESPNNY.com)
“(It’s an experience.) I wouldn’t be able to get here, even during the regular season. Win or lose a game, you still have a game tomorrow, where (the WBC) is kind of like a playoff atmosphere. You lose, you’re done.”
—Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo on his experience playing in the World Baseball Classic. (Dave Van Dyck, Chicago Tribune)
"My dad was like a kid. He came to all of the games. And then going out there and to have success and see him after … he was almost starry-eyed. […] Getting to wear that 'USA' across your chest, that was something that I'll never forget," Gregerson said. "Playing with some of the best players in the world and to have your name associated alongside them is pretty neat. I hope I get to do it again."
—Padres reliever Luke Gregerson, who pitched two shutout innings for USA. (Corey Brock, MLB.com)
CHAPMAN WANTS TO CLOSE
“I would like to be the closer, but that's not in my hands."
—Reds fireballer Aroldis Chapman, via interpreter Tomas Vera, asserting his preferred role for 2013. Cincinnati made clear this offseason its desire to convert Chapman to a starter, but that plan hasn’t materialized as the club hoped. (Mark Sheldon, MLB.com)
"In the beginning, when I started closing, it was something I didn't know. But as I started throwing and getting into the late part of the game when the game is more exciting and has more meaning, I kind of liked it. Yeah, the adrenaline goes up and I like to be in that situation. I would like to be a closer, yeah, but there are some things that I can't control."
"Like I've said, a man in the middle is a man in constant turmoil. We have to discuss it and then we'll see."
—Reds manager Dusty Baker.
YOUNG ARMS OUT TO PITCH
"I wouldn't say I'm putting too much pressure on myself. You're going to think that you want to do well, that's just human nature, and you want to win a spot, that's also human nature. I'm just not having the results that I want."
—Diamondbacks youngster Tyler Skaggs, who is vying for the fifth spot in the team’s rotation. Fellow starters Patrick Corbin and Randall Delgado have outpitched him this spring. (Steve Gilbert, MLB.com)
"I definitely need some work on my off-speed stuff. I located down and away. Off-speed and breaking ball were below average. I threw some good changeups and some bad ones."
—Padres fireballer Andrew Cashner, who had his first spring start on Friday. Cashner is returning from surgery on his right thumb. (Corey Brock, MLB.com)
"He could have been a little more convenient with his pitches. The first two innings he was, then he started to get the ball up. That's what caused his issues in the third inning. He got his pitch count up. He'll learn to be more efficient. I thought he had good live stuff. He just started elevating the ball."
—Rangers manager Ron Washington, on fifth spot contender Robbie Ross. (T.R. Sullivan, MLB.com)
— Anthony Castrovince (@castrovince) March 13, 2013
—Reds skipper Dusty Baker, encouraging more dialogue from one of his team’s off-season acquisitions.
More Burnett: "I don’t care if it’s Spring Training or a pick-up game in the driveway. … Today just wasn’t acceptable." #Angels
— Alden Gonzalez (@Alden_Gonzalez) March 13, 2013
—Let’s hope there’s nothing in Sean Burnett’s contract about pickup basketball games… (Alden Gonzalez, @Alden_Gonzalez, MLB.com)
— MLB (@MLB) March 14, 2013
—Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez hopes he can play up to the three-year, $24 million extension he signed this week. (MLB official Twitter account, @MLB)
Mauer on if he would sign up for next WBC in 2017: "Yeah, if they'll have me."
— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) March 17, 2013
—Twins catcher Joe Mauer was also happy with his experience in the World Baseball Classic.
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) March 17, 2013
—With so many players satisfied with their time at the WBC this year, will attendance among star players be better next time around? (Marc Topkin, @TBTimes_Rays, Tampa Bay Times)
— Drew Silva (@drewsilv) March 17, 2013
—While Cardinals fans might be uneasy about the state of the rotation, GM John Mozeliak isn’t concerned. (Drew Silva, @drewsilv, NBC Sports)
Got a special treat for making it passed 1st cuts. Cage time moved from 645am to 7am. What up snooze button?!
—Pirates catching prospect Tony Sanchez earned an extra fifteen minutes of sleep. (Tony Sanchez, @Tony26Montana, Pittsburgh Pirates)
"They did me a favor, and it goes without saying that I'm thankful for them to have done that. They could have done a lot of other different things probably, but here I am now in a Yankee uniform. It couldn't have turned out better for me."
—Brennan Boesch, grateful that the Tigers opted to release him on Wednesday instead of optioning him to the minors. The Yankees, increasingly beset with injury, picked up the 27-year-old, who posted a .240/.286/.372 line with 12 home runs in 2012. (Bob Bellone and Jim Hawkins, MLB.com)
“It makes me more comfortable having those guys back knowing I can see them every day. We’re thin, so we can’t overcome a lot of nicks and bruises.”
—Marlins skipper Mike Redmond on Mike Stanton and Steve Cishek returning to Marlins camp without injury.
“I understand the window. An organization tries to put the best players together at their peak moments and they go out and win. But if you look at it in recent years, the people who keep winning the World Series are people who weren't even in that window.”
—Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels, on the Phillies’ chances of winning even after some of their players are past their prime. (Scott Miller, CBSSports.com)
“It will be interesting to see when it gets proven whether it works or proven it doesn’t do anything. I saw a Kardashian got it in her face, though.”
—Dodgers starting pitcher Zack Greinke, on a PRP injection that apparently made his elbow feel significantly better. (Dylan Hernandez, Los Angeles Times)