“The system is weighted more toward experienced players, and we thought it was important to recognize Manny's significant contribution, not just with 'attaboys,' but also with a bonus for his work. The structure and the way it's weighted, that's really an issue for the players and their union, not really an issue for the club. The club sometimes benefits from the structure, and sometimes the structure goes the way of the player. That's just the way the system works.”
—Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette, explaining the nature of contracts for players who, like third baseman Manny Machado, are ineligible for arbitration. (Dan Connolly, Baltimore Sun)

“It's the system, and the system is never going to change. It sucks. Yeah, it does suck. The only thing I can control is to go out there and play and be the best player I can be.”
—Machado. (Dan Connolly, Baltimore Sun)

“The team's got you for three, and it's all fair game after that. It's all about putting your time in and being a guy under control. The team has the right to do that. You can get mad all you want, but it's going to do no good. I've learned that, and a lot of people have learned that. There's no point holding a grudge.”
—Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis, reflecting on his frustrations with the same system. (Dan Connolly, Baltimore Sun)

“It's awesome to be in their situation and be good for the next six years and take a little bit of pressure off yourself. I'd be up for it, I'm open to it. Nothing has come up yet. We'll see what happens.”
—Machado, when asked if he’d be open to discussing the sort of “team-friendly” extension recently by several young Braves players. (Dan Connolly, Baltimore Sun)


—Get well soon.

—Teammate Daniel Hudson, who last pitched in the majors in June of 2012 and has undergone two separate Tommy John surgeries since then.


“That pitch is Koji Uehara. If he doesn’t have that pitch, he’s not him. He showed me how to hold it. It won’t be a Koji Uehara split by any means, but why would you not try to see if you can expand your game?”
—Red Sox pitcher Jake Peavy, who has recently begun expanding his repertoire to include a splitter. (Ron Borges, Boston Herald)

“As soon as I stepped on it, I went on the ground and looked at my foot and there were spines all over my foot. I just jumped on one leg [back to the house] and started pulling it out with my hand. My girl went to Walgreens to buy some little tweezers and pulled some out. I left a lot in there because it was too painful and my foot swelled up. The next day, I tried to take some more out and I couldn't because it was too swollen so I couldn't see the spines. I couldn't even put my foot on the ground and that's when I called the trainers and told them what happened.”
Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez, on injuring his foot by stepping on a cactus (Adam McCalvy,

“I’ll take a $22 million discount [price] any day of the week. That’s more money than I’ll ever need.”
—Twins closer Glen Perkins, who just signed a four-year contract extension earlier this week. (Phil Miller, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

“I couldn’t really get my delivery down and try to push off, get some leverage throwing downhill. It was hard for me. A couple times, Larry (Rothschild) told me to just slow down and I threw a couple good pitches, but I only threw a couple good pitches out of 61… I sucked today.”
—Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia, after a difficult spring training start earlier this week. (Mark Feinsand, New York Daily News)

“It was a productive trip and it was a classic matchup. Two top-ranked teams with their Friday night starters going. It was a well-played game and I saw a lot of good baseball. It kind of made me miss my scouting days.”
—Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow, who drove roughly 10-and-a-half hours to see prospect Carlos Rodon pitch. (Matt Snyder,

“I wish them the best. But I like where I’m at, and I’m going to try to kick their teeth in every time I get a chance.”
—Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Matt Garza, on facing his former team, the Chicago Cubs (Gordon Wittenmeyer, Chicago Sun-Times)

“I’m very happy. The (game) was not like I wanted, but the best thing is I feel healthy. I felt very strong in that inning. I got two outs, but for being the first time after surgery and for two years, that’s awesome for me.”
—Yankees pitcher Manny Banuelos, who pitched in his first live game since having Tommy John surgery. (Mark Feinsand, New York Daily News)

“The fact that Grady’s having encouraging signs in spring training is not a bad thing for Jackie Bradley or anybody. It means we’ve got another good player. We feel strongly that one of the main reasons we were successful last year was a talented and deep roster. Grady gives us the potential to build another talented and deep roster.”
—Red Sox manager John Farrell, discussing Grady Sizemore’s progress. (Ron Borges, Boston Herald)

“I’ve got a little bit of understanding of it. But I kind of want to be a little naïve to it, just because if I start thinking about it, it’ll distract me. I think talking to guys up here that have kind of been through that will definitely help me learn what kind of things to avoid. It’ll definitely help me down the road. . . . But right now I’m focused on just getting better every day.’’
—Cubs prospect Kris Bryant, on his chance to play in 2014 and how his playing time will impact his service time and future free agency (Gordon Wittenmeyer, Chicago Sun-Times)

“I don't want to be in this situation. I want to come to Spring Training healthy and be able to open the season Opening Day. But I've seen guys [who have] come back [and] really haven't addressed the injuries, thinking it might go away. I'm just trying to be as smart as I possibly can so when I am able to go out, I'm going to be competitive and effective — not come in and not do as well as I would like and cost the team games and have to go on the DL, because things aren't working out. I want to be there and I want to be there for the remainder of the season. Everything's going really well right now. The difficult part is trying to push it and not push too hard, finding that middle ground where the intensity can be there, and you're putting yourself in a good position to keep pace so that you can keep the schedule.”
—Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels, on recovering from an early injury (Paul Hagen,

“We've been working on short swings and hitting balls hard over the second baseman's head. It's just something that we're all trying to take pride in. It's just a new approach that all of us starters are trying to go with — we're not trying to hit a home run, not trying to pull every single pitch. Just hit the ball where it's pitched and try to get on base for your teammate.”
—Cardinals starting pitcher Joe Kelly, on the team’s pitchers working on improving their hitting during the spring (Jenifer Langosch,

“It's been very hard. You take a week or two at each progression, and you end up throwing for a day or two, and I want to move up to the next progression. But they keep telling me to hold back. I thought the hardest part of my surgery would be the throwing. It is not. It's the waiting.”
—Orioles pitcher Dylan Bundy, on his slow but steady recovery from Tommy John surgery. (Dan Connolly, Baltimore Sun)

“Anything you can think of doing, I think I probably did, it just didn't work. But I think coming into the end of last year, after the season was over with, I pretty much knew what I had to work on. I really wasn't playing too much at the end of the year, so I had a lot of time to get in the cage and work … to make sure I didn't go through what I went through last year.”
—Braves outfielder B.J. Upton, on his transition from the Rays to his new team and how it might have affected his play last year. (Joe Smith, Tampa Bay Times)

“I’m just listening to myself and being positive with myself and not beating up on myself over … well, like today, two walks. Whatever. It’s just about getting to the next pitch. Just worry about the next pitch and everything will take care of itself.”
—Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero, on the mental adjustments he’s made as he tries to regain his former dominance. (Rosie DiManno, Toronto Star)

“I love our team. I actually don't care to compare our team to others. Whatever talent level we have, I really enjoy this team. I enjoy showing up every morning and seeing how good we can get with the guys we have.”
—Indians manager Terry Francona, who has high expectations for his team in 2014. (Zack Meisel, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“You don't know. In our game, you pick up the paper every morning, and you see in any camp, somebody has a strained shoulder, somebody turned an ankle. I hope it's not us, but that's part of dealing with Major League Baseball. I know I keep falling back on it, but that's because it's how I feel. We want to let our guys get ready for a season, try to see the best of them and then we'll try to slot them where we think helps us best.”
—Francona, who has remained reticent about his plans for the fifth spot in the rotation. (Zack Meisel, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“Despite Mother Nature’s fierce activity, the field will be ready for Opening Day.”
—Tigers vice president of communications Ron Colangelo, maintaining that snow will not hinder the team’s start to the season. (George Sippie, Detroit Free Press)

“You get in trouble, you gas up. I got into a lot of trouble today, so I did that a lot.”
—Royals pitcher Danny Duffy, describing the bad habits he falls into when he gets into jams. Duffy has struggled somewhat in spring training, throwing his place in the rotation in jeopardy. (Andy McCullough, Kansas City Star)

“I think Kirby being a big part of those two World Series teams has a lot to do with it. I think if you’d ask Joe, he’d trade all the MVPs and batting titles and honors for one World Series ring. I think that’s really, truly coming from his heart. That’s the main thing.”
Jake Mauer, brother of Twins catcher Joe Mauer, on where his brother’s priorities lie. (Jim Souhan, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

“Things can speed up and it's hard to stay within yourself because of that energy. But the fact is, in practice, in the bullpen, he's got his fastball. He's got that confidence going. We know the ability is there. To put it in the game, it takes repetition… Stuff like this doesn't happen overnight. I'm not going to give up on this guy. I saw some good things come out of him, then I saw some reverted deliveries. It was a mix of what we're trying to get across and what he still has in there. I'm encouraged.”
Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Russell Martin, on recently signed starting pitcher Edinson Volquez (Jenn Menendez, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

“I like to steal. That’s one of my goals, to steal a lot of bases. I think I can do it because I have a green light now. I don’t have to wait for the sign or nothing else, just when I want to run.”
—Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, on trying to steal more bases in 2014 (Gordon Wittenmeyer, Chicago Sun-Times)

“My legs feel cool. They feel good. It's still a work in progress, staying stretched and staying in front of it, but they feel good. You'll have aches and pain. When you have surgery, there's still residual stuff, normal stiffness. [But] I don't think you can hit the ball that far to the opposite field without using your legs.”
Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard, after hitting a home run to left field during a spring training game (Paul Hagen,

“You've got to have that urgency to get better like all these other guys do… You could easily ride on what you’ve done, but don’t buy into a lot of stuff that you’re hearing. There are other guys working everyday to get better. Make sure you're doing the same.”
St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, speaking to outfield prospect Oscar Taveras after his demotion to Triple-A (Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

“He’s having good at-bats. He’s driving the ball the other way. He’s getting the barrel on the ball. He’s had good at-bats… As good as anyone on the team.”
—Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, on third baseman Nick Castellanos’s growth at the plate. (Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press)

“If he continues to do what he's been doing in these three spring training games, believe me, we're probably going to have another Cy Young here.”
—Rays catcher Jose Molina, on pitcher Chris Archer’s future. (Joe Smith, Tampa Bay Times)

“It's kind of like when [pitcher Aroldis] Chapman first showed up. We got a chance to see that fastball as a reliever—not touching 100 every now and again—but pitching at 100-105 mph virtually every pitch. You never get tired of seeing it, but the shock and awe part of it wears off after a while. I'm sure with Billy, you're never going to underappreciate his speed or take it for granted. Right now, we're right in the height of it. We get to see it every day, every play at first base, every bunt, every ground ball. It's a bang-bang. Every base hit to center field is a possible double based on how aggressively the center fielder goes after the ball. It's really exciting to watch."
Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price, on center fielder Billy Hamilton’s speed (Mark Sheldon,

“Guys were upset they lost $6!”
New York Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson, on a trip the team made to a Las Vegas casino to celebrate Granderson’s 33rd birthday (Anthony DiComo and Steve Dorsey,

“There’s something to his pitchability, his deception that makes us believe he should be able to go to Wilmington without an issue,” assistant general manager J.J. Picollo said.
—Royals assistant manager J.J. Picollo, commenting on pitching prospect Sean Manaea’s recovery from a leg injury that dogged him through most of 2013. (Andy McCullough, Kansas City Star)

“Where Kepp's at, him not being able to throw, it's hard to set your roster. Once he gets healthy, you're going to have a better idea about that. Right now, we have more time to see how it really unfolds.”
—White Sox manager Robin Ventura, explaining how an injury to infielder Jeff Keppinger has made it difficult to project what the team’s regular-season infield will look like. (Colleen Kane, Chicago Tribune)

“America is founded on giving folks a second chance. But he needs to make the most of that second chance and he knows that… I was just stunned that he had done that, forget about the fact that he had lied about it. And then it sank in.”
—Milwaukee Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio, on Ryan Braun’s suspension for steroids in 2013 (Barry M. Bloom,

“I’m just going to play hard every day. Physically, I feel very good. I just want to get better results in the minor leagues this year and be able to get called up to the big leagues.”
Oakland Athletics infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima, on facing an uphill battle to make the roster this spring. (Carl Steward, San Jose Mercury News)

“There’s a place where I could probably continue going at what I’ve done for a decent career. But I think ultimately it’s my responsibility to maximize my output and do as much as I can to help the team I’m with. I think as a complete hitter with a few tweaks here and there, I’ll have a lot more to offer than I have in the past.”
—Diamondbacks slugger Mark Trumbo, trying to become a more well-rounded hitter. (Zach Buchanan, The Arizona Republic)

“This happens every spring training. It’s the same problem, the same pain. Normally, it takes about 10 days, I take medicine. I DH. I get treatment. It makes it better. This time, I take a shot in my elbow. This year, I don’t know why it’s not better than earlier. I talked to the trainer. I know my body. If this happened during the season, no problem to play. But in spring training, to play makes it worse. There is still a lot of time left here. I’m not worried about it. I just apologize for not playing in the field.”
—Rangers outfielder Shin Soo-Choo, on taking an injection for elbow soreness. (Evan Grant, The Dallas Morning News)

“In a perfect world everybody would like to hit a lot of home runs, It’s fun, right? Last year, I found an approach that really worked for me, and it was kind of an approach that our team adopted, took a lot of pride in. It’s one of those things when you have something working for you.”
—St. Louis Cardinals first baseman and right fielder Allen Craig, on his ability to be productive at the plate without relying on home runs (Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

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