PUJOLS HAS A LASTING EFFECT ON CARDINALS
“If you watch the Cardinals play, they really go about it right; they're very aggressive and they compete. For this generation of Cardinals, the most important player to help that transition from what they used to be to what they are now is Albert, because they learned how to play the game from him.”
—Former Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa on the effect Albert Pujols had on his old club. (Mike DiGiovanna, Los Angeles Times)
“It's a little different because I'm usually rooting for them. Now, I'm going to be rooting against them for three days.”
—Pujols, who played against the Cardinals last week for the first time since leaving St. Louis.
“Thinking back to my first big league camp, probably the coolest thing about being there was I got to take ground balls with Albert, talk with him and just watch how he went about his business and how he worked. I saw what he did, what he had to say and I just tried to be a sponge.”
—First baseman Allen Craig. (Jenifer Langosch, MLB.com)
"It's going to be awkward. I'm going to be happy to see him, that's for sure. He taught me how to play the game the right way. I respect him as a friend, a person, a teammate.”
—Catcher Yadier Molina, who has stayed friends with Pujols since the slugger left St. Louis. Molina enjoyed dinner at the Pujols household during Monday’s off day.
“I see things that Albert did that have naturally transferred over to Yadi. That relentless wanting to play every day. Yadi has that extra motivation. I think some credit needs to go to Albert. That's just naturally who he was, and he led this club in that direction.”
—Manager Mike Matheny.
“The way that the rules are, free agency and so forth, and the money, it'll be rare that a great, great player, a franchise player, like [Cal] Ripken or [Derek] Jeter or Pujols, can stay with his team the entire career.”
—LaRussa on the split between Pujols and Cardinals after the 2011 World Series. (Alden Gonzalez, MLB.com)
2013 ALL-STARS ANNOUNCED
“I'm real proud of [all of] them. You look at the competition for these spots, [and] I'm real proud of all of them. And some other guys, too, who weren't even in the voting. It's a nice moment for the organization and for the players and, more important, the fans. They really turned out and supported our guys, so I'm really proud of our fans, too.”
—Orioles manager Buck Showalter, on the team’s four All-Stars. Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones, and Manny Machado will be heading to Citi Field next week. (Brittany Ghiroli, MLB.com)
“If anything, I'm more disappointed that we only had one. I feel like we're probably one of the best teams in all of baseball, and we deserve more than one guy. And I'm not talking about for me. You've got Balfour, Jed [Lowrie] is one of the top-hitting shortstops in the game right now. I just feel like there are more guys than just one in here that are All-Stars, and that's why we've been so good.”
—Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson when asked about whether he was disappointed that he wasn’t selected to the All-Star Game. (Jane Lee, MLB.com)
“My first start in the big leagues was in New York. The All-Star Game is going to be there. It's going to be really exciting and really fun to go back there. A lot of memories are going to come back there.”
—Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez on returning to the Big Apple for the All-Star Game as a rookie. (Joe Frisaro, MLB.com)
“I was really puzzled as to why I was coming into the principal's office before the game …When they showed me the envelope and said that [American League manager Jim] Leyland had selected me as one of the guys to come off the bench possibly — it's a huge honor.”
—Rays second baseman Ben Zobrist on discovering his status as a 2013 AL All-Star. (Bill Chastain, MLB.com)
“It's the Puig campaign. Honestly, [Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman] has no shot. Whether he has six home runs and has 20 RBIs in Miami [this week], he's not going to make the All-Star team.”
—Braves second baseman Dan Uggla on Freeman and Yasiel Puig competing in the NL Final Vote. (Mark Bowman, MLB.com)
PADRES FALLING BEHIND AS LOSSES PILE UP
“Obviously, you lose nine in a row, you find different ways to lose each time. Some days we pitched great and didn't hit. Other days we swung great and didn't pitch. You try to find a nice combination of both.”
—Padres catcher Nick Hundley after an 11-7 loss to Washington on Sunday, the team’s ninth in a row. (Chris Jenkins, San Diego Union-Tribune)
“It takes everybody to do their thing … Right now, there's a lot of guys doing their part and a couple guys who are having a few hiccups, and it's not out of a lack of effort. Our group is busting their butt.”
—Manager Bud Black following the eighth loss in the streak. (Andrew Simon, MLB.com)
“This game's weird. I've hit three, four homers for the lead, and we've lost. We win the game from St. Louis at home where I get a hit by pitch and we win the game. This game's weird. The only thing right now is keep fighting. Keep fighting, keep playing hard and see what happens.”
—First baseman Jesus Guzman.
“We're banged up. We've got guys on the DL, guys banged up a little who are playing. It's hard to say if the team is fatigued, because you play so many games. But when you're not playing with all your guys … It's one of those stretches you go through … But I don't feel like we're giving away at-bats.”
—Third baseman Chase Headley. (Corey Brock, MLB.com)
“You never want to make any excuses for the way we played, but now it's time for us to go home and get back on track.”
Puig has been named NL player of the month, NL rookie of the month and NL executive of the month. #dodgers
Brett Anderson tells me turning in his walking boot today was "like losing a family member – an evil family member you don't really like."
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) July 5, 2013
A-Rod better live tweet his rehab AB's…
— Brett Anderson (@BrettAnderson49) July 2, 2013
—Brett Anderson has spent his time on the disabled list griping about his foot and tweeting his usual wit.
Just found out I gained 0.1% body fat from our last test in spring training! My life is over guys!
—Canadian bacon is worth it.
“He's got the stuff to be a really high-end starter. He's got a great fastball, slider, changeup. He's got everything he needs. It comes down to what you're thinking, how you're able to perform in the moment, not trying to do too much, getting outs early—all that stuff matters.”
—Rays manager Joe Maddon, on starter Chris Archer. (Glenn Sattell, MLB.com)
“There's been a lot of hard work. Eighteen months of rehab and working in between starts. You know, my arm feels pretty good right now and it's fun to let it loose a little bit and not feel anything.”
—Red Sox starter John Lackey, attributing a healthy arm to his resurgence. (Michael Periatt, MLB.com)
“At this point, I need to pitch more just to get that feel again. The more you do it, the more it comes back to you. I didn't do it for such a long time, that it was like starting all over again. … Each time you go out there, you get more and more comfortable. You get used to game situations, and that's all part of the game. You want to be comfortable when you go out there, obviously.”
—Blue Jays reliever Dustin McGowan, one of many contributors to the team’s excellent bullpen. McGowan had been constantly sidelined with injuries for the past five years. (Evan Peaslee, MLB.com)
“It gives the bat better grip to the ball. That’s why when you have a brand new bat, you go in the cage and hit a little bit just to get that wood a little bit more compressed. That gets the grains out a little bit. When the grains are out and you hit it on the perfect spot, you have better chance to get spin on the ball … With the batting glove, I couldn’t feel it. It takes a lot of work to take my batting gloves off when I hit because I put so much Stickum on my batting glove.”
—Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero, who was seen licking two different bats before choosing one to use during an at-bat on Monday. (Nick Piecoro, AZ Central)
“I understood that if I hit 20 homers as a catcher, there was no reason why I wasn't going to be a Major League player. But then I realized I'm not the kind of guy that wants that. I hate striking out. I really don't enjoy that — at all. It got to the point where I said, 'You know what? I feel like I'm a better hitter than this. I don't have to try to hit for power all the time. I can get base hits, I can hit doubles.'"
—Donaldson on how his approach at the plate has changed since last spring training, when he converted from being a catcher to playing the hot corner. (Jeff Kirshman, MLB.com)
“There was a lot of stress being put on his knee. It was getting in the way of him being able to keep his head still and be able to stay balanced and let the ball come to him … where there was that feeling of having to go get the ball to stay off of his knee. In a nutshell, this is compensating for being banged up, forcing him to develop a little different way to do the same things.”
—Padres hitting coach Phil Plantier on outfielder Carlos Quentin, who tweaked his batting stance earlier this season. After hitting .174 through the first two months of the season, Quentin hit .366 with four home runs in June. (Corey Brock, MLB.com)
“Because 56 games is unattainable, so it doesn't matter. You just enjoy the ride as long as you can.”
—Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer, when asked why he never got caught up in superstitions during his hitting streak, which came to an end at 27 games on Tuesday. (Ian McCue, MLB.com)
“We're sputtering offensively. You'd like to think, 'Hopefully this is rock bottom.' We have some guys really struggling at the plate right now. You just hope this is as low as it gets.”
—Giants manager Bruce Bochy after his club was no-hit by Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey on Tuesday. (Chris Haft, MLB.com)
“I'm definitely excited. It's L.A., the team that I grew up going to the games as a kid and stuff. It's kind of surreal now, until I'm actually there. It will take time to sink in, but I'm definitely excited. My whole family couldn't be happier.”
—Starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco, who was traded by the Marlins to the Dodgers on Saturday. Nolasco grew up in Corona, California, an hour’s drive from Los Angeles. (Ken Gurnick, MLB.com)
“I can't tell you how many times I look up. and something will go maybe haywire, and the first guy on that step is Giambi, like waiting to reassure or correct. It helps me a ton, because when it comes from the manager, it's panicking or over-managing. When it comes from a teammate, it's being a good teammate. But, it's got to come from the right guy.”
—Indians manager Terry Francona, on designated hitter Jason Giambi. The veteran has been essential as a mentor and has delivered a few home runs along the way this season. (Jordan Bastian, MLB.com)
“I was just coming out of the dugout like I normally do, then all of the sudden I felt like I had a big wiener over me.”
—Mets catcher John Buck, on accidentally interrupting the sausage race at Miller Park. (Anthony DiComo, MLB.com)