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STRAWBERRY


“I’m going to stand by him. I’m going to try to see that he rights his life.
If it’s in baseball fine, if it’s outside baseball fine. It isn’t like George
has given him enough chances, now dump him. Dump him… I don’t think so.”

George Steinbrenner, Yankees owner


“That’s the question we’re all thinking about. If this is all true, is this
the end? I’m sure that’s the question everybody wants to know. I hope not.”

David Cone, Yankees pitcher


“This is very sad because you know what his life has been like, especially
the last year and a half. There’s been a lot going on and it’s been a constant
and difficult struggle. You wish you could help him, but all you can do is
support him. I hope it’s not the end for him because I don’t know what that
would mean.”

Joe Torre, Yankees manager


“I’m really struggling to try to beat this. I don’t know what’s going
to happen.”

Darryl Strawberry, Yankees outfielder


YOUTH


“I’m just trying to get ready for the season. I’m not worried too much
about starting or if I’m going to be with the club or not. That’s really
out of my hands. Last year they got a good feel for what I can do, and
there’s nothing left for me to prove.”

Jerry Hairston Jr., Orioles infielder


“I think [players] weed themselves out. I think you’ll find a number of
those younger fellows won’t even make the team this year. I don’t believe
they will. I don’t see it. Some of them will have to go back to the minor
leagues where they should have been to start with. As the year went along,
a lot of them fell by the wayside. And we are going to have to replace
those people. It was a little too much for them right now. Maybe three
more months in the minors or another year will make them better.”

Tom Kelly, Twins manager


“I’m tired of that word. Potential doesn’t mean anything to me. The game is
about production. There are a million people in this world with potential,
but if you don’t fulfill it, it doesn’t mean anything. I know it’s there. I
know I have the ability. But I don’t want to hear it. I want to show it.”

Derrek Lee, Marlins infielder


“I don’t want to be a guy who comes in and wins the Rookie of the Year and
you never hear about him again. I still feel I don’t get the kind of respect
I deserve. Not being selfish, but all the negatives are coming. You don’t
really read anything positive like, `He’s going to have a good year like
last year.’ You don’t hear them say, `Hey, he might be a good pitcher.’ ”

Scott Williamson, Reds pitcher


SPRING TRAINING


“Prior to last year, I was a typical player complaining about spring
training, complaining about all the work and that it’s too long, it’s
too hot. Then after you miss it and you’re forced to play the season
without it, I think that’s when you realize spring training is a very
important time.”

Gary DiSarcina, Angels infielder


“If it gets to the point where I’m totally frustrated, then I’ll go home.
As long as I’m making progress and enjoying myself, this is what I want to
do. This is what I enjoy doing the most.”

Mark Wohlers, Reds pitcher


“I’m right where I am coming into any spring. I’ve never had surgery
before, so I don’t know how it’s going to react. But in my mind, I’ll
be ready for the season.”

Steve Avery, Braves pitcher


AL MARTIN TRADE


“This makes us a better club. Al Martin has had success hitting at the
top and middle of the lineup and has always been a club leader and a
tremendous clubhouse presence.”

Kevin Towers, Padres GM


“I like Al Martin, but the thing is, is he a leadoff hitter? Al Martin
is a guy who can help us, but I’m not sure he helps us in the leadoff
spot.”

Tony Gwynn, Padres outfielder


“I try to set the tone by being aggressive and getting on base. Runs
are what wins games, not on-base percentage.”

Al Martin, Padres outfielder


“I called Cam [Bonifay], and I had candid discussions with him, and I
told him if he were going to make a trade, do it for baseball reasons,
not money reasons. It upsets me when people say this was about money,
because it wasn’t.”

Kevin McClatchy, Pirates owner


THE REST


“It would be a shame to spend the whole year talking about my contract. I
feel like I didn’t play up to my potential last year and I want to redeem
myself.”

Alex Rodriguez, Mariners infielder, on opting to become a free
agent at the end of the year


“If you check it out, I walk when the team needs it. So I can walk.”

Lance Johnson, Indians outfielder


“The ball just jumps off his bat. He has one of those live bats, one of
those special sounds. He had the gift of the pop. We just had to get him
under control.”

Mike Easler, Cardinals coach, on Fernando Tatis


“It was completely strange last year because I didn’t know the guys. I
had a great time. It’s a team that plays hard every day and I didn’t see
that too often when I was with my other team.”

Ramon Martinez, Red Sox pitcher


“How in the world can I spend all this money? There’s no price tag for
winning and being where you want to be.”

Ken Griffey Jr., Reds outfielder


“I think Bud Selig has a strong idea of how popular I am with fans. I
haven’t played since 1986. I haven’t been in uniform since 1989. I think
even today I’m the best ambassador baseball has.”

Pete Rose, former player


“When I’m out there, I’m pretty much straightforward. I want to win.
I’ll lay it all on the line to win and there isn’t much I won’t do to
win. My philosophy is anyway you can get them out, get them out.”

Todd Ritchie, Pirates pitcher


“I’ve never been happier. I got the greatest job in the world and I
think one of the greatest lives.”

Chipper Jones, Braves infielder


“Everybody knows Griffey can’t be replaced unless you bring in Sammy
[Sosa] or Mark McGwire. It’s going to be my job to play a Gold Glove
center field, get on base and run like hell.”

Mike Cameron, Mariners outfielder


“A nothing is neither a fastball or a changeup, it’s nothing. But in
order to throw nothing and be effective, you have to have something.”

Dusty Baker, Giants manager


“I will do what I can to get on base, whatever it takes even if it means
getting hit by pitches. This can be a scary lineup with McGwire, Tatis
and some of the other sluggers. I want to do what I can to help.”

Fernando Vina, Cardinals infielder


“I still have a chance. The desire is still there. When you’re healthy,
you can do a lot of things and you can come back. I’ve seen a lot of
players come back from slumping seasons. I think it’s time for me to
come back again and show I can do it.”

Carlos Baerga, Devil Rays infielder


“When guys kick a ball, I’ve done that before. When they strike out
with guys on base, I’ve done that. It’s like any other profession.
You can read all the books you want, but you have to get in there
and have that understanding.”

Don Baylor, Cubs manager

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