IT’S NOT JUST YANKEES CAMP…THEY’RE NOT ACTUALLY THAT YOUNG, BUT BOY ARE THEY RESTLESS
“I’d pitch a fit, put it that way. I don’t think I’m over the hill or should be relegated to playing once a week. You don’t know what their plan is, what their thinking is. We’ve got nine guys (as outfielders in camp). Basically, everybody can play every day somewhere. If they’re not going to do that, they need to go somewhere where they can play.”
—Kevin Mench, Brewers OF, on the prospect of a platoon with fellow world-beater Geoff Jenkins.
“Everybody says the first time you get traded is the hardest one.”
–Mench, who makes $3.4 million, and hit .230/.248/.317 after the last year’s trade to Milwaukee.
“It’s kind of unnerving, not knowing where you’re going to end up. You know you’ll end up somewhere; teams are going to be asking about you. I’m sure my name still comes up.”
“I understand they’ve been everyday players. Here’s the problem: if you want to get good, you’ve got to increase your depth, and you’ve got to have quality depth. For years and years, everybody said, ‘I want to be on a champion. I want to play on a great team.’ Then you finally get the players and, all of a sudden, they don’t want to do it.”
–Brewers manager Ned Yost
“That’s where my job comes in. These six weeks are to mold these 25 guys into one team. If you don’t want to be a part of the team because you’ve got other aspirations or other ideas of what you want to do, that’s fine. We’ve got some areas we need to address.”
“We’re here to win ball games. To be really honest, there’s more than one person that can throw a fit.”
–Ned Yost (Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
MOST LIKELY HIS YANKEEOGRAPHY WILL HAVE A POSTHUMOUS EPILOGUE IN WHICH HE NABS MORE GOLD GLOVES AND ENTERS INTO A LTR WITH KATHERINE HEPBURN
“I understand my job is public, but your private life is your private life. Once you open up that door, it doesn’t stop. I don’t feel it’s necessary to talk about things that don’t have to do with the ball club. It doesn’t have to do with anything, because on the field and in the clubhouse, our relationship is fine.”
–Jeter, on his relationship with Alex Rodriguez.
“From day one, I’ve said I support Alex. I said Alex goes through slumps, and every player goes through slumps. I’ve said Yankee fans don’t want to boo, they want to cheer. The only thing I’m not going to do is tell Yankee fans what to do. I don’t think it’s my job to tell fans to boo or not to boo.”
–Jeter (Tyler Kepner, The New York Times)
EVEN THAT GOOD FEELING ABOUT YOUR BATTING ORDER IS SIMPLY A SUBTEXTUAL ALERT OF YOUR TEAM’S INADEQUACY
“We have the luxury of having two guys who can get something started in the first inning of every game. If one makes an out, we still have another.”
—Dodgers manager Grady Little, on Rafael Furcal and Juan Pierre hitting 1-2 in the order.
“I haven’t hit-and-run very often, but it shouldn’t be a problem. My swing looks like a hit-and-run swing all the time.”
–Pierre, on hitting second.
“If you don’t like this guy, you don’t like Easter and Christmas.”
—Tommy Lasorda, on Grady Little. (Steve Henson, Los Angeles Times)
NEVER STOP LIVING YOUR CRAZY DREAM, GARY
“If he doesn’t get that, this is what happens. Because he has to talk about things that he normally wouldn’t talk about.”
—Tigers DH Gary Sheffield, on Alex Rodriguez’s need for approval. (Jack
Curry, The New York Times)
“In 1995 when I was with the Marlins, we had a really young team and I was about the only established hitter in the lineup and they kept walking me, which got really frustrating.”
“Then one day, we were playing the Giants and Bobby Bonds, who was their batting coach, was standing at the batting cage and as I talked about my frustration he said: ‘You have to realize that by taking a walk you make it easier for your teammates.’ The next year I walked 142 times and had my best season. What was funny about it was that Bobby was one of the all-time strikeout guys when he was playing. I guess it was a matter of teaching something he couldn’t do!”
–Sheffield, who hit .314/.465/.624 that season. (Bill Madden, New York Daily News)
HE’S THE BEST FREE AGENT WE COULD EVER ASK FOR
“I was starting the process of getting to know him. We were over taking a physical together and he was like, ‘Where’s the field?’ I said, ‘Come eat with us and we’ll go over there.'”
—Astros OF Lance Berkman, on new teammate Carlos Lee.
“I was leaving home and my friends say, ‘When you coming back?’ And I say, ‘I don’t know.’ This year I said, ‘Late October.'”
“It was a typical first day. The pitchers beat up on the hitters, and Lance (Berkman) was complaining.”
–manager Phil Garner
“Gar thinks it’s whining when I try to keep him and his staff in check. If we let him get away with too much early on, who knows, he might turn into Napoleon.”
–Berkman (Brian McTaggert, Houston Chronicle)
“I ASKED J.P. TO STOP SHAKING ME, BUT HE WOULDN’T. HE WAS OUT OF CONTROL.”
“In 2005 I’m an All-Star, selected by my peers. A year later they’re saying I was a cancer in the clubhouse? Give me a break.”
—Angels infielder Shea Hillenbrand, on his struggles last season with the Toronto Blue Jays.
“I’m not a guy like Gregg Zaun who claims he’s a leader; I’m a competitor.”
“I like Gibbons, but J.P. puts so much pressure on him. Gibbons keeps everything inside until he reaches the boiling point and can’t keep it in any longer.”
“J.P. comes in ranting, knocking Vernon for a lack of work ethic and saying how he couldn’t stand Eric Hinske. I hardly knew the GM and he’s saying this to me?”
–Hillenbrand, on a previous J.P. Ricciardi encounter. (Bob Elliott, Toronto Sun)
SESAME STREET IS LOOKING INTO A COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT SUIT
“Grover knows he gave me a bunch of bullcrap. I’m a man. I want people to respect me. I was told a bunch of lies by the manager, and he knows it.”
–former Mariners closer Eddie Guardado, on Seattle manager Mike Hargrove.
“What’s done is done. I’m not a liar. I try to be honest with everybody.”
“OK, Eddie, you bring that 80 mph.”
–Mariners 3B Adrian Beltre
DOES MARK WAHLBERG HAVE ONE MORE WHITE ATHLETE MOVIE IN HIM?
“I think I ate a lot better. That’s probably the main thing. I didn’t really change my workout. I just ate better. I lifted a lot, did a lot more running than I usually do. I just tried to clear my mind and start over.”
—Adam Dunn, Cincinnati Reds outfielder, on his offseason regimen.
“That’s something I probably took a little too lightly in the past. That’s going to be my main focus this spring. Not to just be a good [outfielder], I’m going to try and be a great one. I think I can.”
“I liked hearing what he had to say about playing defense and getting out there and working at it and being the best left fielder he can possibly be.”
–Reds skipper Jerry Narron
“I have no plans of putting him over at first base.”
“Good, that’ll work. I’ll concentrate on the main thing now.”
“He’s got a tremendous inner desire, inner drive to be an outstanding player. He just doesn’t show it at times, or people don’t see it. I don’t think people see the drive he’s got.”
–Narron (Mark Sheldon, MLB.com)
NEXT WEEK, HE COMES OUT IN FAVOR OF HOME RUNS. HE’S BRINGING IT BACK!
“I believe in numbers. Baseball is a strict percentage game. That’s why they keep [statistics]. … So you might as well utilize those things. If I had to go with pure gut or pure numbers, I’d take the numbers.”
—Cubs manager Lou Piniella
“If the manager is going to give you a day off, it makes common sense to do it against someone you’re not hitting.”
“I don’t think that was done before. I thought, well, maybe the skipper had a couple of cocktails at night and [figured], ‘He didn’t do very well today, so this guy isn’t playing tomorrow.'”
–Piniella (Paul Sullivan, ChicagoSports.com)
IN OTHER WAYS, I THINK WHAT HAPPENED WAS COMPLETELY UNRELATED TO ME
“I’m a realist. Everybody’s accountable, and these last two years have been extremely frustrating. In some ways, I take it very personal what happened to Felipe (Alou) last year.”
—Brian Sabean, Giants general manager.
“I only worry about my family. I don’t worry about myself professionally. I stand on my track record. We love the organization, we love the city of San Francisco, and we hope to be here forever, but that’s not my call, necessarily.”
“In our case, the most important charge is to try to compete every year, so some of the things you’d like to do per se, to take a step back or rebuild, you’re not in a position to be able to do that … because of what’s at stake. The people that pay the ticket prices come to the ballpark and we’ve raised their expectations.”
“I would like to explore it. Pretty unique guy, Omar, to play his position at his age and play it as well as he’s played it. … It’s possible we’ll do something in spring training.”
–Peter Magowan, on a potential contract extension for shortstop Omar Vizquel. (Andrew Baggarly, Vallejo Times Herald)
FIERCE TRAINING CAMP INTENSITY
“Do I think it looks good? No. Do I care?”
–Tigers skipper Jim Leyland
“When I was a kid, I had a mullet that was all the way down my back. One time I hit a home run and heard someone in the crowd say, ‘Oh my gosh, did you see how far that girl hit the ball?'”
–Tigers 3B Brandon Inge
“I had never heard my little girl use the word ‘hate’ before she told me, ‘Daddy, I hate your hair.'”
–Tigers catcher Vance Wilson
“I call him Samson because I remember the story. Samson thought he’d lose his strength if he got his hair cut. If that’s where he got it, maybe I should try it. I could use some more power.”
–Tigers INF Ramon Santiago, on Ordonez. (Tom Gage, Detroit News)
“There really should be a space there. That’s the way it is supposed to be.”
—Andy LaRoche, Dodgers 3B prospect, on how he wants his last name to look.
“I wouldn’t say hardly anybody knows I’m here, but it’s not that big a deal to me. Last year was all about, ‘How’s the new guys going to do?’ This year is the same thing, only I’m not one of those guys. I’m just going about my business and I’m doing the same things that I’ve always done in spring training — take care of my stuff and hopefully get on the golf course by 1 o’clock.”
—Red Sox starting pitcher Josh Beckett
“I’m very fortunate to be in the best lineup I’ve ever been in. With this team, I’ve got a chance to put a ring on my finger, probably more than one, over the next five years.”
–Red Sox OF J. D. Drew
“Sometimes you get kind of fed up with it. It’s the little things that people don’t understand, like how I prepare for a game. I was taught since college to try to play on an even keel and not get too emotional.”
–Drew, on the stigma of his injury history. (Gerry Callahan, Boston Herald)
“He is quiet, but he is always happy. You could probably get everybody in
here to say that he’s one of the best teammates that they’ve ever had.”
—Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts, on teammate Corey Patterson. (Jeff Zrebiec, Baltimore Sun)
“It definitely has made a difference. Places like Los Angeles and Arizona are so fast, a three-hopper gets into the outfield. At our place, that ball gets caught.”
—Rockies pitcher Aaron Cook, on letting the grass grow. (Troy Renck, Denver Post)
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