DODGERS SEARCHING FOR THE PROMISED LAND
“I think he has done fine. I think he's kept it steady. Players still have to play. You have to look at our performance as a team on the field. Have we hit well with runners in scoring position? Have we scored enough runs? Have we played enough good defense? Have we made proper pitches all the time? It's an easy way out to look at one person.”
—Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti, on whether the blame for the team’s recent struggles should be put on the players or manager Don Mattingly. (Dylan Hernandez, Los Angeles Times)
"Nick Punto having a great year is really nice, but Punto is not taking us to the promised land. Dee [Gordon], [Mark] Ellis, they're not taking us to the promised land. Adrian [Gonzalez], Matt [Kemp], Hanley [Ramirez] and Andre [Ethier], those guys in the middle of the order you count on to be the run producers. How do you not stay with those guys? We're not going to abandon ship. You can shuffle it around, but at the end of the day it gets back to those guys."
—Manager Don Mattingly. (Ken Gurnick, MLB.com)
“We're in last place in the National League West. Last year at this point, we played a lineup with nobody in it, but they fought, they competed and battled every inch. I felt like we got more out of our ability. I don't know if that team was tougher. I don't know why, and it was only for a short period of time.”
—Mattingly, on the effort of the Dodgers, who currently sit in the NL West cellar. (Ken Gurnick, MLB.com)
"Yeah, I take offense to that, without approaching me first. Other than that, I show up every day and find ways to compete, to work hard whether I'm going good or bad. Just like everyone here, I have to get a grip and a handle on what's gone on. We can never lose hope to get back on top of the division. That's my approach every day."
—Right fielder Andre Ethier, on being benched by Mattingly prior to Wednesday’s game. (Ken Gurnick, MLB.com)
"We hear it. MLB Network is on the whole time in here, so we hear the stuff that's going around. I don't think we need any added motivation to play better, but we want to do well for Donnie. He's a great manager and a great person. We know it's up to us. He can't go out there and play."
—Starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw, on speculation that manager Don Mattingly could be fired in the near future. (Dylan Hernandez, Los Angeles Times)
FROM A VAN TO THE NL EAST LEAD
“He spent three or four years living in a van. I don't think a baseball game is going to faze him. We keep forgetting he's 26 years old and he's lived through a lot of stuff. He's just having fun.”
—Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, on catcher Evan Gattis after a pivotal game-tying home run with two outs in the ninth inning against Minnesota. (Mark Bowman, MLB.com)
“We've grinded. To be where we're at right now with the schedule we've had, it says something about our team. We've been on the road a lot, two long road trips already. We grinded it out and had some rough moments. We bent but didn't break. It's one of those things, we kind of rode it out, got back home and have gotten on a nice little streak here.”
—Catcher Gerald Laird (Eric Single, MLB.com)
“This is something special to be a part of. This is a good team, a team that's going to win a lot of games. You want to be as big a part of that as you can. It's something you can kind of sense in our group. When we go out and play every day and guys expect to win and you want to be a part of that.”
—Reliever Cory Gearrin (Jon Cooper, MLB.com)
“There are 25 guys in here going through a lot of the same issues, whether it's aches and pains or things they might not agree with—whether they think they should be playing more, playing less, or whatever. If you express those problems out loud, a lot of times, that's really what can tear a team apart. So with things that really don't matter and are not going to affect you on the field as far as wins and losses are concerned, that's where the suffer in silence comes from."
—Outfielder Reed Johnson, on the origin of the team’s recently-adopted slogan, “Suffer in Silence.” (Jon Cooper, MLB.com)
“I knew it was gone. But I just wanted it to stay fair. That was the first ball of the year I barreled up. It was kind of like a blur, really."
—Starter Mike Minor, on his first career home run, a two-run shot off New York’s Dillon Gee during the team’s current win streak. (Mark Bowman, MLB.com)
THINGS LOOKING UP FOR STREAKING ANGELS
"All the questions we got at the beginning of the year—When is this team going to turn it around? What's it going to take? What's it going to look like?—hopefully, some of those have been answered. These last six games are a good indication of what we can do."
—Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo after the club won its sixth straight game on Friday night. (Mike DiGiovanna, Los Angeles Times)
"Just seeing his talent, you have to really shake yourself, because he's 21 years old. He has so many ways that he can help you win a game. Stolen base tonight, looked good in the outfield and obviously in the batter's box, had an incredible night. If I'm a betting man, I've got to believe there's another cycle in his career somewhere."
—Manager Mike Scioscia, on Mike Trout after the sophomore went 4-for-5 and hit for the cycle on Tuesday night against Seattle. (William Boor, MLB.com)
"Winning is contagious. We all feel good around this clubhouse right now."
—Starting pitcher Billy Buckner, who tossed five scoreless innings during the Angels’ 7-0 win against Kansas City on Saturday. (Mike Bauman, MLB.com)
"It's very encouraging. We'll let him throw his bullpen and see where he comes out of it. If everything comes out fine, we'll fold him into the rotation the middle of next week. If he needs more work, it'll be there for him."
—Scioscia, on the progress of starting pitcher Jered Weaver, who threw 75 pitches during an extended spring training game on Wednesday. Weaver hasn’t pitched for the Angels since fracturing his non-pitching elbow on April 7. (Robert Falkoff, MLB.com)
JURICKSON PROFAR MAKES SEASON DEBUT
"Obviously, I feel bad for what happened to Kinsler, but he's going to be back soon. I see it as an opportunity for me to play here."
—Rangers prospect Jurickson Profar, who was recalled by the team on Sunday after Ian Kinsler was placed on the 15-day disabled list. (Dave Sessions, MLB.com)
"I'm going to try and get them equal playing time. This is Garcia's time to get at-bats as a utility guy, while Profar is coming up as a top prospect. He's going to get at-bats. But I'm also going to try and get at-bats for Leury. He needs to see pitching because once Kinsler gets back, Leury is going to be the one still here.”
—Manager Ron Washington, on the platoon at second base between Leury Garcia and Jurickson Profar. (T.R. Sullivan and Christian Corona, MLB.com)
"I'm seeing the same things I've been seeing. He's a baseball player. He's not afraid of the game. He goes out there and plays his game. He goes up there and has good at-bats. When you have good at-bats, good things happen."
—Washington, on Profar’s first week with the big-league club this season. (T.R. Sullivan, MLB.com)
I guess me and Youk don't have the drawing power we used to. Announced attendance at our Extended Spring Training game this morning was 3.
“I know I'm going to play better, especially hitting-wise. I can't do any worse.”
—Mets first baseman Ike Davis, on his season-long slump. Through 46 games, Davis is hitting .155/.241/.245 with 57 strikeouts in 175 plate appearances. (Adam Rubin, ESPN New York)
“In games, I think that's the first one I've seen. It's amazing. It's not fun to see one of your pitchers get hit like that, but after everybody cools off, you are reminded it's really awesome,"
—Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez, on a Pedro Alvarez home run that bypassed the second deck at Miller Park before landing amidst the vendors. The shot traveled an estimated 459 feet. (Tom Singer, MLB.com)
"I don't know. We'll see."
—Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, when asked who his closer was prior to Tuesday night’s game. Brandon League is 11-for-13 in save opportunities this season, but he also owns a 4.66 ERA. (Ken Gurnick, MLB.com)
"If it's going to be one (finger), that's the one to do. It doesn't do much on the baseball, it just goes along for the ride."
—Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong, who is expected to miss 4-6 weeks after suffering two breaks in his right pinky and a dislocated knuckle on the same finger during Monday’s start against the Nationals. (Susan Slusser, SFGate)
"It's impressive. You're talking about a guy that people said might barely make the team in the fifth spot. He pitches well in spring training, but it's spring training. Then the season starts and he's doing pretty good now. He's on a roll now. I'm impressed."
—Diamondbacks starting pitcher Ian Kennedy, on teammate Patrick Corbin after the southpaw twirled his first career complete game against the Rockies on Monday. (Steve Gilbert, MLB.com)
“That happened so fast, I didn't realize the umpire had called him out at first. I was going over to cover the bag and Mitch took it on his own, so when Elvis threw the ball it started to come toward me. I didn't think Mitch was going to be able to get to it and I just snagged it up real quick in hopes to save a run and keep the double play in order.”
—Rangers pitcher Justin Grimm, on the bizarre blown call that occurred during a double play in the second inning of Friday’s 9-5 win against Seattle. (Dan Loumena, Los Angeles Times)
"Josh wasn't going to be playing all the time up here. It's important for his development to be getting consistent at-bats and time at second base. Josh is going to be a big part of this club. I told him I thought he handled the transition very well. It's a tougher transition than people think. The angles are different. The pivot is different."
—Rockies manager Walt Weiss, on second baseman Josh Rutledge being optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs. Rutledge was hitting .243 with five home runs prior to being demoted on Wednesday. (Thomas Harding, MLB.com)
“When you get frustrated, there are definitely ways to vent, you need to vent. But punching things, throwing things, or hitting things with your helmet or bat isn't the way. I learned a tough lesson.”
—Nationals pitcher Ryan Mattheus, on discovering that nobody wins when you react to allowing five runs by punching lockers in frustration. (Bill Ladson and Tom Schad, MLB.com)