BIG NAMES JOIN CONTENDERS BEFORE WAIVER TRADE DEADLINE
“He’s going to get an opportunity to go to a ballclub that’s in contention and in a playoff atmosphere. As things settle in, as he gets to Pittsburgh and people give him the ovation that he’ll receive, I think he’ll be excited.”
—Twins general manager Terry Ryan on first baseman Justin Morneau, who was traded to the Pirates last week. (Phil Miller, Star Tribune)
“A first-place team, you're always excited to become a part of that. I've been paying attention from the other league, and they play the game hard and play it right. Hopefully it'll be a long run and fun run, and I've stepped into something that's enjoyable … There's a lot of emotion and adrenaline I hadn't had in a while. I'm excited by this opportunity, of doing something every day to help this team win, to do whatever it takes to get in the playoffs."
—Morneau (Tom Singer, MLB.com)
“I went through the suspension last year, went home, and one organization believed in me: the Mets. They gave me this opportunity, then gave me an opportunity again to come [here to] play in the playoffs. You can't take anything for granted in this game, but things like this happen when you put in the hard work. It's a privilege to be in the big leagues, period."
—Outfielder Marlon Byrd, who was traded from the Mets to the first-place Pirates. (Tom Singer, MLB.com)
“This is a great area. Baltimore-DC area is a great area. It's a good baseball area. There are a lot of fans. To me, it's always been good. I'm just happy to be back … I am [excited to hit at Camden], but I'm also excited to watch these guys and keep watching how they're playing. It's all about getting to the postseason. That's the goal. Whatever it takes, I'm for it."
—First baseman Mike Morse after being acquired by the Orioles in a trade with Seattle. He played for the Nationals before joining the Mariners. (Brittany Ghiroli, MLB.com)
“I'll be a winning player for the Dodgers. That's my role. Every guy in the locker room would rather have five at-bats a game. This won't be tough. It's all about winning, not to mention this being my first year in the National League, most of the games I didn't start I ended up in anyway and I like it that way.”
—Infielder Michael Young on joining the Dodgers. (Ken Gurnick, MLB.com)
YU DARVISH TURNS POSSIBLE NO-HITTER INTO LOSS
“I always tell myself and tell the team, the main goal is to keep the team in the game. When I gave up those home runs, it changed the whole momentum of the game. I take the blame.”
—Rangers ace Yu Darvish, who was in the midst of another dominating performance last Saturday before stumbling late in a 3-2 loss to Minnesota. (T.R. Sullivan, MLB.com)
“He's got to figure out how to get through it. No way. He's a bona fide pitcher. It's random, and he's never had issues getting through ballgames in his career. He's going to have figure it out … We just got to give him the ball next time and hopefully get deep in the game again. Next time, just hope we can hold on to the lead."
—Rangers manager Ron Washington on whether he’s considered changing his approach with Darvish late in games. (Master Tesfatsion, MLB.com)
“I try to be aggressive, but sometimes negative thoughts enter your mind. You have to fight against them. I try not to dwell on them, but it was just a small lead and I was trying to not give it up … I’m not disappointed because I think if you talk to any pitcher he would say that he has them from time to time. The main thing is battle and fight against them when they do come up.”
—Darvish (Evan Grant, Dallas Morning News)
“I think we all should have the same goal. I think we all want to win, and I think we all want to win as a unit. That’s what matters … I know what kind of pitcher I want to be, and I’m getting closer to my own expectations, but I’m not there yet. I’m not trying to meet what anybody else has set for me, and I don’t worry about it. I’m just trying to be me. I’m not there yet, but I’m getting closer.”
—Darvish (Evan Grant, Dallas Morning News)
“Expectations have been put on him for a long time. But just because he is over here, it's still a challenge. I don't think he expects less. We expect him to perform and he expects to perform. Some days it happens, some days he has to fight and battle through it. But he's been able to do it both ways."
—Washington (T.R. Sullivan, MLB.com)
HELTON HAS MEMORABLE WEEKEND AS CAREER NEARS CLOSE
"I'm just so happy and proud of my friend, just understanding the magnitude of what caliber player he is. Even as we've been anticipating the 2,500th hit, it's sort of hitting home a little more right now. I think the standing ovation gave me a little goose bumps, so I can't imagine what it did for him and I'm thankful to the Denver fans for doing that."
—Rockies reliever Matt Belisle, on teammate and close friend Todd Helton, who recorded the 2,500th hit of his career against the Reds on Sunday. (Ian McCue, MLB.com)
"A line-hugger that barely stayed fair on a 3-2 count. That's what's kept me in the league this long. That's my bread and butter, to go the other way, especially with two strikes. To do it on the 2,500th is very fitting."
—Helton, who slapped a double down the third-base line for his 2500th hit. (Ian McCue, MLB.com)
"My memory is he's very steady. One of the best first basemen around, quietly goes about his business, very little fanfare, no boasting, no hot-dogging, nothing. He just goes about his business.”
—Reds manager Dusty Baker on Helton, who has avoided a “farewell tour” in what is likely to be his final season. (Owen Perkins, MLB.com)
"One-hundred sixty-two [games] over the season, and it's pretty much the same thing for all those outs. But when you have a standing 'O' or a pause during the game or a career mark that somebody hits, and when that's shown with appreciation by the fans, it's really, really neat."
—Belisle after Helton hit two home runs and drove in six runs against Cincinnati on Friday. It was Helton’s first multi-home run game since April 26, 2011. (Ian McCue, MLB.com)
“You bet that I got them. You never know which one will be my last.”
—Helton, who retrieved both of his home run balls from Friday’s game. (Troy E. Renck, Denver Post)
"I'm a meat-and-potatoes man," Davey Johnson said today.
— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) August 28, 2013
—Nationals manager Davey Johnson, when asked about the clubhouse food.
“It was a kind of a fun moment. We kind of rallied then — we should have kept him in there. A lot of the commotion in the dugout in the eighth inning and part of the rally was someone beating on the door. Finally someone broke the door knob with a bat to get him out. I don't even know who the hero was getting him out. I say he was in there a solid 15 minutes.”
—Rays manager Joe Maddon, on closer Fernando Rodney being stuck in Oakland’s dugout bathroom during Friday’s game. (Janie McCauley, The News Tribune)
“There've been a few balls where if he kept going as fast as he is, he might have gotten to that he pulled up on, which is normal just because you don't know the ballpark and you're trying to be smart and make the right play. But that was one there where he kept going and made a heck of a catch. You see his progress whether it be jumps on the ball or routes or angles. You really see him getting better from week to week.”
—Mariners manager Eric Wedge, on Dustin Ackley’s transition from second base to center field. Ackley made a sweet sliding catch at the warning track during Friday’s game against the Astros. (Greg Johns, MLB.com)
"He tends to fly open a little bit, and he doesn't hide the ball as well. He's unable to locate the ball with as much deception, which makes him much more hittable.”
—Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson on reliever Heath Bell, who has a 17.36 ERA over his last six appearances. (Steve Gilbert, MLB.com)
“He's wise beyond his years as far as ability and composure. He doesn't get rattled by anything. He doesn't get rattled in the moment. You take your average 23-year-old and have a start like he did in Baltimore and then bounce back like tonight, that shows his maturity and that shows his composure and his ability to make adjustments.”
—Athletics catcher Stephen Vogt, on teammate Sonny Gray, who twirled 6 and 2/3 scoreless innings during Saturday’s win over the Rays. Gray got hammered for six earned runs in 3 and 1/3 innings in his previous outing against the Orioles. (Jeff Kirshman, MLB.com)
“The thing about Bryce right now that's tough: He gets frustrated. I don't think he does it intentionally, but he's gonna have to start picking it up a little bit, because we've got everybody else doing it. He gets frustrated at times and it just comes out of him. It's something we've got to fix."
—Nationals bench coach Randy Knorr on star outfielder Bryce Harper’s lack of hustle in a recent loss. (Mark Zuckerman, CSN Washington)
“I could care less what people think. Screw what people think. Everybody talks about us all year long saying we’re not going to make this or do that. I could care less what they think. It’s all what we think. I could really care less what the media thinks or anybody else. It’s nice to get that W tonight and like I said, I could care less what people think.”
—Harper responding to criticisms such as Knorr’s. (Chase Hughes, CSN Washington)
“It's one of those things where you hear how much power a guy has, but until you see it in person, you don't actually see how unbelievable his power is. In San Francisco last year, he hit a ball into the glove [behind the seats] in left field. A fan who has been going there for I don't know how many years said he'd never seen that. It feels like a Little League field to him, that's how strong he is."
—Cubs utility man Donnie Murphy on Giancarlo Stanton, his teammate with the Marlins last season. (Carrie Muskat, MLB.com)
“I doubt the ball really has anything to do with it. He is hitting that many because he has become used to (Japanese pitchers) … To be hitting over 50 homers at the end of August is amazing. I hope he avoids injury and plays in all of the remaining games and increases the overall number of home runs.”
—Nippon Professional Baseball commissioner Ryozo Kato on the record-breaking performance of Wladimir Balentien in the top Japanese league. It’s been suggested the former Mariners prospect has benefitted from alterations to the NPB ball, something officials admitted recently. (The Japan Times)
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