"I'm right where I need to be. I'm excited. I've been begging for this for a while — not team-wise, I just mean situation-wise. Being in a situation coming every day to win games and excited to win games with the guys you're playing with and more worried about that game than about who's going to be here, who's not going to be here, the future. That's tough to deal with, especially as a team in this sport when you need your whole team to be together to succeed. I'm really excited."
Jeff Samardzija, on being traded from the Cubs to the A’s (CSN Staff, CSN Chicago)

“There was no pitcher available who was even close to the caliber of player that we feel Addison Russell is. There was no package of pitching available that made us think twice about passing on this opportunity… The batter/pitcher dynamic has shifted in recent years, dramatically in favor of the pitcher. So there are more effective pitchers out there right now than there are position players. You can’t win without pitching, and we understand that, and we have a plan to acquire good pitching to build really effective pitching staffs. But I will say that more teams out there right now are looking for offense, believe it or not, than are looking for pitching.”
—Cubs team president Theo Epstein, on acquiring top shortstop prospect Addison Russell from Oakland (Patrick Mooney, CSN Chicago)

“It wasn't even a question. Billy asked me how I felt. I was supposed to pitch today, so I'm a day past my due date to pitch, so I'm chomping at the bit to get out there. I don't think there's any better way to get acclimated with your teammates than get out there and do it on the mound.”
—Samardzija, on jumping in immediately to make Sunday’s start the day after arriving in Oakland. (Carl Steward, San Jose Mercury News)

“Losing friends is tough in this game. It's not always that you find friends that you've been with since you've been drafted. Jeff's been in this organization for a long time and I've known him for a little bit. So it's hard. It's hard to lose a guy that's been here for eight years in this organization. And our goal all the way up has been to win a championship here in Chicago. And unfortunately, that's not his goal anymore.”
—Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney, who came up through Chicago’s farm system with Samardzija. (Carrie Muskat and Daniel Popper,

“They made that trade because of us. No doubt about it in my mind. If they want to win a World Series, they’re envisioning that they have to go through us… They kind of mortgaged their future to go for it now, which I think says how much (general manager) Billy Beane and the ownership believes in what they have.”
—Tigers starter Justin Verlander. (John Lowe, Detroit Free Press)


“This whole replay thing has become a joke in my eyes. I think they should just ban it, they should just get rid of it, I don’t really understand the purpose of it, but getting the right call on the field is not the purpose. That’s pretty obvious and evident. I don’t know what kind of agenda the people that are doing the replays are on, what their plan is, what their purpose is, who they’re looking after. But obviously getting the right call on the field is not what they’re doing.”
—Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, after a controversial call at home plate during Saturday’s game against the Athletics ruled Melky Cabrera out. Replays showed that Oakland catcher Derek Norris appeared to miss Cabrera at home with a swipe tag, but the video evidence was deemed inconclusive, and the initial call on the field stood. (Shi Davidi, Sportsnet)

“It’s pretty frustrating for you to battle as a team, keep the game close, for our pitchers to be doing what they’re doing, for us to keep grinding through games and facing some touch pitching and somehow be able to get an opportunity to tie the game in the eighth inning. It goes down the drain because somebody first, initially, made a bad call to begin with and then it gets upheld by God knows who, in some room in New York supposedly.”
—Bautista. (Richard Griffin, Toronto Star)

“I don’t see the point of having this replay system that doesn’t work. I feel like a chance for Adam Lind to tie the game in the eighth inning was taken away from him. Unfortunately some people . . . I don’t know what the right word is, lack of integrity, lack of accountability, or some really good camaraderie that are looking after each other or are not doing what they’re supposed to be doing. Because getting the right call on the field, which is why instant replay was instituted, is not the purpose of what’s happening. The best evidence is what happened (Saturday night).”
—Bautista. (Richard Griffin, Toronto Star)



“I was at a loss for words. It’s been a long journey from all the years in the minor leagues, all the ups and downs, just to have such a good first half and for the players to vote for me, I’m truly humbled. It’s a crazy feeling for me right now.”
—Yankees reliever Dellin Betances, on his first All-Star Game selection. (Mark Feinsand, New York Daily News)

“I feel like I'm in a good place now. I've kind of changed up the way I'm attacking recently, and there are some positives I've started to see. I still feel like I've thrown the ball well this year.”
—Yankees starter Brandon McCarthy, on how his fortunes will change following his move from the Diamondbacks. McCarthy is 3-10 with a 5.01 ERA on the season. (Mark Feinsand, New York Daily News)

“From a team standpoint, we’re obviously in very different places. They won the World Series last year and have won three in the last 10. It’s very different… Where the similarities are: (Boston) is a place that had the narrative of being unable to win, had the narrative of having a curse. I think when you watched that team last year, the last thing in the world you were thinking about was the curse. It was that they had gotten past it, they had the best team, and they were going to win the World Series.”
—Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer, comparing the current Cubs and the 2004 Red Sox, where Hoyer had worked as an assistant to then-general manager Theo Epstein. (John Tomase, Boston Herald)

“I’m not even going to comment on him, I’ve got nothing to say about him. There are some things that I would like to say, but I’m not going to. You guys forget pretty conveniently about stuff.”
—Red Sox pitcher John Lackey, commenting on Nelson Cruz. After serving a 50-game suspension for PEDs in 2013, Cruz is now tied for the major league lead in home runs, with 27. Lackey has been a vocal critic of rules allowing PED users to return to baseball. Facing off against Lackey on Saturday, Cruz singled, doubled, and homered. (Michael Silverman, Boston Herald)

"Not very good. He was fortunate to give up the few runs that he did. I think that's because he was wildly effective. It's just inconsistent. It's tough to hit him because you go up there trying to be selective, and he throws three pitches on the black. And then he gets out of sync again. It's frustrating because the stuff is there. We were fortunate that we stayed engaged in the game with that many walks."
—Orioles manager Buck Showalter, on Ubaldo Jimenez’s Saturday outing. Jimenez lasted just 3 â…” innings while issuing six walks. (Eduardo A. Encina, Baltimore Sun)

“He would be entertaining. If he could control his emotions, I think he would do really well. Basically, every single day in batting practice is home run derby for him, and in the game, it's the same thing. Every single pitch, every situation, he tries to hit a home run, and it works well for him. He's probably one of those guys who really doesn't have to change much of anything, which I think is advantageous in a competition like that. He would definitely be entertaining.”
Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, on the possibility of teammate Carlos Gomez being in the Home Run Derby. (Adam McCalvy,

“How does Andrew Friedman look at it? If you're Ben Zobrist and the others, you're like, 'Are they giving up on us? 'We fought our way back into this and they trade David Price? Now what do we do?’”
—ESPN Analyst John Kruk, on the dynamics of trading David Price within the division. (Marc Topkin, Tampa Bay Times)

“We got shut down big time here. We’re not very good right now.”
—Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, on the team’s recent skid. The Jays were swept in their weekend four-game series against the A’s, in which they scored just four runs.

"I mean, I could pitch now. This isn't an injury… It's something I can pitch through, but it's something I would have to battle through the rest of the year. It seemed each start, progressively it got more tired."
—Mets starting pitcher Jon Niese, on being placed on the disabled list in an attempt to strengthen his shoulder. With the All-Star break on the horizon, the southpaw is expected to miss only one start. (Danny Knobler, ESPNNewYork)

“Obviously that means a lot. For the players to select you means a bit more. Guys around the league are paying attention and notice and recognize what you’re doing on the field. In the past couple of years, I didn’t think it was ever going to happen again. We’re all getting to where the prime is kind of in the past. I’m just going to go soak it up and try and have some fun.”
—Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle, on his fifth All-Star selection. Buehrle last made the All Star Team in 2009. (Richard Griffin, Toronto Star)

“Super scary. Every time I wanted to take a deep breath, I wasn’t able to. Just got tighter and tighter.”
—Rockies starter Jair Jurrjens, following his first start since May 18 of last year. Jurrjens experienced discomfort in his chest, and had to be taken to the hospital after leaving the game. Blood tests revealed nothing out of the ordinary. (Pat Graham, Detroit Free Press)

“I'm not going to feel sorry for myself. I'm going to go try to get better. I want to be back up here. Everybody has the same goal. I'm not going to say [expletive] I can't do it. I have stuff I need to work on — this wasn't the best me I can be – and make sure next time I come up here that's how I'm throwing.
—Marlins prospect Andrew Heaney, who was optioned to Triple-A after struggling during his first four starts in the majors. (Steve Gorton, Sun-Sentinel)

“Somebody’s got to be that guy, and it’s sending a message to the rest of the guy. I can take it. I guess I’m a mentally tough guy. He could do it to somebody else, but I think he knows how I’ll take it… I’ve really got no argument for it. Because I haven’t been hitting the ball like I was.”
—Royals designated hitter Billy Butler, on being dropped to from third to sixth in the lineup. Butler is slugging just .343 on the season. (Andy McCullough, Kansas City Star)

“This is a little bit outside. It’s not in the same location. It's probably from compensating for the surgery. That's the only thing I can see from it.”
—Indians outfielder Michael Bourn, who has dealt with soreness in his left hamstring all season long. (Zack Meisel, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“He throws to me pretty much every day. I didn’t want it to be someone that I know is good, but I haven’t hit off them in three-and-a-half months. But then again, I made it clear, anyone on the coaching staff, if they want the time off, trust me, I don’t care at all. I would want the time off.”
—Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, on selecting manager Mike Redmond as his pitcher for the Home Run Derby (Steve Gorten, Sun Sentinel)

“Last time it really wasn’t a blister. I lost the top of my finger. I lost the callous I built over time. Tonight it was the blister that started the callous all over again. It’s just a part of pitching. You get used to it. The blister is easy to deal with. When you lose the callous, it’s not fun. Just like a hitter, when you rip that callous off it hurts to swing… Same for a pitcher. You get that callous ripped off, next thing you know it hurts to throw again… You try to build it back up.”
—Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn, on pitching with blisters (Joe Trezza, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

“The better teams are going to have more players. Obviously, with how good our team is now we're going to have more guys there. It's going to be a good showing. It's going to be an honor to be there with them.”
—Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, on making the All-Star team along with three teammates (Tom Haudricourt and Todd Rosiak, Journal Sentinel)

“I believe that I deserve to be an All-Star, to be honest. That's just the way it is, and there's nothing wrong with me saying that. I think if you play well enough and you're confident, I think if you feel confident enough, you should say it. Why not?”
—Reds third baseman Todd Frazier, on thinking that he deserves to make the All Star team (Manny Randhawa,

“The video caught me by surprise. It was very moving, for sure. It made me feel at home. (The ovation) caught me off guard. I didn't know what to expect coming in. Very classy.”
Phillies starter A.J. Burnett, on receiving a standing ovation from the Pittsburgh crowd before his start on Sunday. (Travis Sawchik, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

“I was a little surprised to even be mentioned. I was actually going to book a flight to go back home for the All-Star break, and I talked to my parents and they said, ‘Just in case something happens, don’t do it.’ Sure enough, [Astros manager Bo Porter] told me I was going to be on the five finalists for the Final Vote.”
Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel, on being included as a candidate for the “Final Vote” for the American League. (Mark Newman,

“Morse saved our skin. This really would’ve topped everything. You think you wouldn’t hit rock bottom, and that was a possibility today. We were living on the edge. We found a way to get it done. Good for these guys.”
Giants manager Bruce Bochy, highlighting the importance of Michael Morse’s late game home run in a win versus the Padres. The Giants dropped to second place in their division this past week. (John Shea, San Francisco Chronicle)

“Regardless whether it's 8-7 or 8-2, a win’s a win. You feel like, when you’re amid a losing streak or a tough stretch of games, those close games tend to go the other way. I think that showed a lot of heart and character from our team. Even though we kind of let a lead slip away, we held on to it and got the win.”
Rockies outfielder Drew Stubbs, describing the Rockies’ approach to try to overcome a 3-17 stretch. (Nick Groke, Denver Post)

“In Todd Helton, there’s someone who’s easy to look at his career here and how it played out. I have the utmost respect for Todd, but at the same time, I don’t want to be the next in line as somebody who was here for a long time and didn’t have a chance to win every single year. He played in a couple postseason games and went to one World Series. But that's not me. I want to be somewhere where there's a chance to be in the playoffs every single year.”
Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, on wanting to be in a winning situation more often than he has been in his time with the Rockies. (Mark Kiszla, Denver Post)

“What people need to understand about me is: Winning’s my main priority. I’ve been around the game a little bit now, and I understand those years where we did win, how much more fun I had. And then there are years such as this.”
Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, illustrating his drive to win. (Kiszla)

“The original goal was to get back to 50 and 50. We'd have to get real hot to do that. Now, the more realistic thing is to continue to win series and then be patient, be patient and all of a sudden you look up and you're in pretty good position. Part of the reason I'm encouraged by that is that with the parity in the game today, nobody's going to run away with the whole thing. In a typical year from the last several years it might be hard to believe in that thought, but I believe that's the case this year.”
Rays manager Joe Maddon, on his resurgent club, which has won 10 of its last 12 games. Tampa Bay moved out of the American League cellar after taking three of four from the Tigers this past weekend and is 8 1/2 games behind the first-place Orioles. (Mike Bauman,

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