Angels and Hamilton continue public dispute

“It’s not about money, nothing about money. In our contract, there’s language that he signed and that his agent approved that said he cannot drink and use drugs. So, we have specific language in the agreement. We have a couple other players who have the same language.”
—Angels owner Arte Moreno, on exploring acting on language in Josh Hamilton’s contract that Moreno says the team requested and obtained when they signed him. (Pedro Moura, Orange County Register)

“The MLBPA emphatically denies Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno’s assertions from earlier today that the Angels had requested and received the approval of the Union to insert language into Josh Hamilton’s contract that would supersede the provisions of the Joint Drug Agreement and/or the Basic Agreement. To the contrary, the collectively bargained provisions of the JDA and the Basic Agreement supersede all other player contract provisions and explicitly prevent Clubs from exactly the type of action Mr. Moreno alluded to in his press comments today."
—A statement released by the players’ association. Moreno claimed on Friday that the language in the contract was allowed if approved by MLB and the MLB Players’ Association.

"But, I think, more than anything, we look at accountability, with all of our players. I think that’s probably the biggest word here. We understand that he’s had struggles, and obviously he’s still having struggles, but the reality is there’s accountability. When you make an agreement, you need to stand up.”
—Moreno, on Hamilton.

“If Josh was hitting .300 with 35 home runs a year, what’s the situation? Obviously, that’s the player that they want. That’s the player they paid for.”
—Angels starting pitcher C.J. Wilson, on the public dispute between Hamilton and the Angels. (Pedro Moura, Orange County Register)

“I’ve had up seasons and down seasons. I know exactly how different baseball treats you in general – fans, fantasy sports, major news networks. Literally everything is different if you’re good. If you’re good, you get away with everything. That’s all there is to it.”—Wilson.

“I care about him, and I care way more about him than a lot of people do. In the grand scheme of things, it seems like he doesn’t have a constant problem. Let’s face it: Josh is not the only person in professional sports that has had an addiction issue. He’s just the most open about it.”
—Wilson, on his teammate.

The Rest

"I think it's getting blown out of proportion right now. This wasn't really a big issue until somebody brought it up on TV. Now I'm standing here answering questions about it… They only had eight or nine or 10 stolen bases off me last year. That's not a lot… The biggest thing right now is just working on something different. So there's still that comfort level of something different. When you try something different — whether it's a mechanical thing or you're working on pitching in the game – there's always that doubt. So until you actually get comfortable with it and do it, then obviously there's no doubt anymore."
—Cubs pitcher Jon Lester, on his much-discussed reluctance to make pickoff throws to first base (Tony Andracki, CSN Chicago)

"I thought that was a bad slide in there. I thought that was a dirty slide and I didn't like that at all. I thought — he's not a dirty player, but I just thought it was a bad slide and a dirty slide. It could have really affected Frazier and I'm not happy about that and nor are any of our players. Hopefully we'll be able to use it as fuel in this series to find ways to win games like today."
—Reds manager Bryan Price, on Jason Heyward’s slide into third baseman Todd Frazier. Frazier was not injured on the play (C. Trent Rosecrans, Cincinnati Enquirer)

“I think guys don’t want to get into deeper counts against him. Second time through (the order) they wanted to jump on something quick. When he’s got that downhill fastball it makes the changeup that much better. It’s hard to lay off.”
—Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, on starting pitcher Michael Wacha’s performance against the Reds (Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

"I knew it was coming. It's something they've been talking about for a while. I just had to stand there and wear it. It was a cool celebration. It's kind of blown up in the last 12 hours. I've been getting worn out about it. But it was good fun. Everybody loved it, so I can't complain."
—Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich, on the postgame celebration in which Dee Gordon dunked over Yelich on a miniature basketball hoop following Yelich’s walkoff single, which drove in Gordon (Craig Davis, Sun Sentinel)

"It depends on the day. It depends on where we're at. One day, he could be the long guy. If, god forbid, one of the guys gets hit in the shin and can't go, he can certainly fill in in that role. He can come in and pick up an inning and go the next and plus that if we need him to do that. That's a luxury to have, certainly, with a guy that has experience going long. And he's got the ability to pitch at the same time, so can we get him in the seventh to get out of an inning when we need to do that, sure. He has the ability to do that."—Nationals manager Matt Williams, on how he will use pitcher Tanner Roark (Byron Kerr, MASN Sports)

"Six games in and we get our first loss on an 0-2 sac fly. 162-0, I don't think we were banking on that."
—Braves outfielder Jonny Gomes, on the team losing for the first time in 2015 after winning their first five games (Mark Bowman and Anthony DiComo,

"I don't know if he broke his bat or not. But if he did, it died a hero."
—Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer, on Bartolo Colon’s RBI single against the Braves (Anthony DiComo,

“We have the ability to project some payrolls going forward, knowing that there’s a set increase coming [Harrison’s] way. That does help us build future teams.”
—Pirates general manager Neal Huntington, on Josh Harrison’s four-year extension and how it increases their cost certainty (Bill Brink, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

"I think it's just so much more of a comfort thing, what speed am I comfortable at. I know when I step on the gas, when I do that, I get a little bit outside of my mechanics and I can generate a little bit more velocity. I know what that feels like. Really, proactively, practicing staying in that comfort zone is what's going to help me most of all."
—Blue Jays starting pitcher R.A. Dickey, on spending time this spring concentrating on slowing down the velocity on his knuckleball. (Gregor Chisholm,

“Trout just said, ‘Let’s go,’ and Ventura was there at home, kinda eyeing him down. Trout noticed him eyeing him down and just said, ‘Are you all right?’ And that was it. That was the extent of it. Salvador got in (Ventura’s) face and backed him off. It was really weird. I don’t know what he was thinking. Maybe (Ventura) just misunderstood him, or thought he was going to say something else.”
—Angels outfielder Matt Joyce, on the benches clearing during the sixth inning of Sunday’s game, after Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura stared down Mike Trout and then had some words for him after Trout scored on a double by Albert Pujols. (Pedro Mouta, Orange County Register)

“We like the pitcher that Rick is now. We like the pitcher Rick was last year and the year before that. That’s a really good pitcher. That’s why we traded for Rick. What I think the winter and the spring allowed us to do is just to get to know him better. What we see is a driven, incredibly competitive guy, a team-first guy, wants nothing more than to win, does everything he can do to put himself in a position to help the team win. As we got to know him as a person as much as as a pitcher over that course of time, it just motivated us probably even more to try to get something done.”
—Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, on signing Rick Porcello to a four-year extension before throwing a single pitch for the team. (Alex Speier, Boston Globe)

“He looked great. There is nothing else to say. It was vintage him.”
—White Sox manager Robin Ventura, on Chris Sale’s 2015 debut. Sale missed the first week of the season recovering from a broken foot, but returned to pitch six innings and allow one earned run. (Jay Cohen, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

“The Red Sox are a part of who I am, man. I don’t really feel much like a Phillie. … It’s been a tough transition over here. I’m not going to lie. It’s been tough. Tough getting used to the way it is here. It’s two totally different organizations. The way they’re ran, the way they’re coached, the players that are on them. Two totally different styles of baseball. I don’t know if I can honestly tell you if I’m even used to it yet.”
—Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, before Wednesday’s game against the Red Sox, on his time in Philadelphia. (Ricky Doyle, NESN)

"We'll be standing at the batting cage, and a guy will hit a line drive or a home run, and I'll say, 'That reminds me of Mookie Betts.’ And Mookie will be like, 'No, no, no, I'm not on that level.' He's a very humble kid, and that's what I appreciate. I pull for him because I know he feels that way in his heart. He has the potential to be an All-Star every year, but he doesn't look at it that way.''
—Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino, on Mookie Betts. (Jerry Crasnick, ESPN)

“I just, I don’t agree with the zone, you know, being open and then closing there in the seventh, eighth and ninth,” Keuchel said. “That’s not baseball. If you’re going to have a zone, keep it consistent. And I’m not begging for pitches. I don’t do that. But when they’re close, and you’ve been calling ‘em all day, I think you continue to call ‘em. I had to battle there and that’s a great lineup when you give ‘em, you know, free bases, one or two hits will hurt you, and I didn’t do my job there in the seventh.”
—Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel, on feeling that home plate umpire Laz Diaz squeezed him during the seventh inning of Sunday’s game against the Rangers. Keuchel walked two batters and gave up a pair of runs in what turned out to be his final inning of work. (Evan Drellich, Houston Chronicle)

“There’s a lot of things that can happen in your career that are unfair or you don’t agree with. If you don’t love baseball, you’re going to lose that passion and retire and hang up your glove… A lot of stuff happened to me in my career that I don’t think was fair, but I’m doing what I love and not a lot of people can say that.”
—Padres catcher Wil Nieves, commenting on the trials and tribulations of his multi-stop career in baseball. Nieves hit a walkoff grand slam against the Giants’ Jake Peavy on Sunday. (Jeff Sanders, UT-San Diego)

“My godfather means the world to me. I love him to a T, but when Alex hits No. 660, I'll be happy for him. Willie will be happy for him. Everybody should be happy for him. Any time anybody in the game does something that's a great accomplishment, the game of baseball should celebrate that. No matter what. Baseball is benefiting from that person's hard work, so baseball should at least celebrate.''
—Retired outfielder Barry Bonds, on the Yankees refusing the recognize Alex Rodriguez’ potential 660th home run as a milestone. Rodriguez is five home runs away from tying Willie Mays for fourth place on baseball’s all-time home run list. (Bob Nightengale, USA Today)

“We're so fortunate we have Roberto. I would say the biggest thing is that every single pitcher on the staff has not one single issue throwing with Roberto. He has a little bit less experience less than Gomes — not a ton, but some. But they all love throwing to him. We told him this spring, ‘Prepare like you're going to be an every-day guy, because you're always one injury away from being an every-day guy.’Unfortunately, that happened. The good side for us it that he can handle this.”
—Indians manager Terry Francona, on losing Yan Gomes for the next 6-8 weeks to an MCL sprain. Roberto Perez will start in Gomes’s place. (

“I was getting ready to try to put up the best face for TV for a walk-off. You know, it's just one of those things where, well it was a home run. And, obviously, off the bat, being an 0-2 count and I'm thinking about all the different things I could've done differently. I'm already thinking about tomorrow. And one leaping catch changed everything. I'm definitely grateful.”
—Astros pitcher Tony Sipp, after teammate George Springer caught what would have been a Leonys Martin walkoff grand slam in the 10th inning of Sunday’s game. (Brian McTaggart,

“It happens in the business, but it's a damper. I understand everything about it, I really do, but you know what? There are 24 other guys in that locker room that need him, too. That's why it is so disappointing.”
—Mets manager Terry Collins, on reliever Jenrry Mejia’s 80-game suspension after testing positive for Stanozolol, a performance-enhancing anabolic steroid. (Jorge L. Ortiz, USA Today)

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Nieves' grand slam was not a walk-off, it came in the 4th inning. It was still awesome though.