IF ONLY THEY HAD 300 INSTEAD OF JUST THE 25-MAN ROSTER
“I never saw either of those guys pitch. I don’t read much baseball history. But I’ve heard both of those guys were pretty good.”
—Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez, on the only younger Opening Day starters, Dwight Gooden and Fernando Valenzuela
“You are like a leader of the pitchers. I want to be a leader for my team.”
“This is one of the greatest things in my life.”
–Felix, on his Opening Day start.
HE’S GOING TO FREAKING STRANGLE THOSE ANGELS
“Against these guys, I’m gonna tell you straightforward, the anger comes out of me. I want to kill all those guys.”
–Mariners outfielder Jose Guillen, on his former team, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
“I love a lot of those guys I played with over there, but there’s some guys I don’t really love over there, and I want to show them something. The decision they made was a stupid one, and it should have been handled different.”
–Guillen, on his exodus from the Angels.
“I (wish) we could play them 162 times. That’s going to be my motivation. And trust me, that’s not good when Jose Guillen gets motivated. I really step up to a really different level.”
“I’ll always have something to prove to those guys. Not to the players maybe, but to the manager. Usually I couldn’t care less about spring training, but against that team I care. To me, I take it like it’s the (regular) season.”
“It’s going to be 19 exciting, good games, I can tell you that. You can write that down. It’s going to be 19 exciting games. It’s going to be crazy when we go to Anaheim, but I know how to handle it. I do not (feel) pressure from anyone, and I will prove it on the field.”
WELCOME TO A VERY SPECIAL A-ROD MOMENT
“I don’t really care what the people think about me. Or you guys or anything like that. I just go out there and play and have fun. Hope the rest of the people enjoy watching me.”
“But as far as me wracking my brain about what anybody thinks, I don’t do that. I hope they enjoy watching us play as a team, I do something, they enjoy that part of it. But I don’t care if people think I suck, or they think I’m good. I just go out there and have fun, and hopefully the ball falls in.”
–Crisp (Gordon Edes, Boston Globe)
I’LL STICK TO MY STEVE KLINE WORKBOOK, THANK YOU
“Nutrition in this country is so terrible. People want their food, they want it fast, and convenience is such a big factor for people. But your body starts to break down. You can’t really track injuries due to (poor) nutrition, but the more technology evolves and gets in the mainstream, the more we’ll see a link between the two.”
—Giants hurler Barry Zito
“Toad food? Tofu? I don’t even know what that is. I don’t believe in dieting. I went on two diets in my life, and I got fatter both times.”
–Giants reliever Steve Kline
“Your brain lights up. But it only works for six to eight weeks, then your body adjusts to it. We’ll incorporate that into his food when he gets to the point he needs it.”
–Precision Food Works’ Chris Talley, on an amino acid he spikes Zito’s food with.
“No thanks. I’ll be out eating beer nuts.”
–Kline (Andrew Baggarly, San Jose Mercury News)
THE JUDGE TOLD ME TO FIND A CENTER FIELDER, STAT
“I never dozed off, but I can’t lie to you. I did make some lineups in my head every once in a while.”
–new Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez, on jury duty.
“When you go through the process, you can’t lie. You’re under oath. You can’t tell them you’re a truck driver or you mow lawns for a living.”
“During the jury selection process, one of the lawyers said, ‘If you need a left-handed reliever, I can still crank it up.’ I said, ‘We’ll give you a look.'”
–Gonzalez (Joe Capozzi, Palm Beach Post)
IN KANSAS CITY, THIS COUNTS AS A BREAKTHROUGH
“Obviously, the responsibility lies with each individual player to be accountable for being successful.”
—Royals GM Dayton Moore
“If we think a player is just going through a down period in their career, you stay with him if you feel that he’s going to be fine over the course of 162 games-and if he has a role on the club. But if you think a guy is done, he’s done.”
“I try not to concern myself with that. That’s why Dean (Taylor) and Jin (Wong) and Dan Glass do the money stuff. I’ve got to focus on the other stuff.”
–Moore, on what contracts to eat.
“Our payroll is what it is. I’m not going to ask our owner to lose money. I’m not. What that does is prevent us from making a trade that might bring back an impact guy who’s making seven-eight million dollars. That’s what limits us.”
“I’ve been a firm believer in this: I’m going to make a lot of mistakes. The difference is you can’t continue to make the same mistakes. You’ve got to recognize your mistakes and fix them.”
–Moore (Bob Dutton, Kansas City Star)
WE’VE TAKEN TO BREEDING THEM ON AN ISLAND FACILITY
“They grow up early and are imprinted early in an environment of success, competition and determination. A lot of that is impacted by their life environment, whether it’s at home or by an impactful coach or impactful person. When all of that is formed, I don’t know, but it’s there. There’s no training manual for that.”>
—Braves GM John Schuerholz, on clutch hitters.
“Michael Young is the most clutch hitter in baseball. When you hit .412 with runners in scoring position, that’s clutch, and nobody does it better. He has a lot of trust in himself and a great mental approach. There’s no fear. He just believes he’s going to get the job done.”
—Rangers hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo
“Typically, players that hit best in clutch or high-leverage situations are the same hitters that perform better in the lower-leverage at-bats as well. There may be a select few hitters that have higher-quality at-bats in clutch situations than non-clutch situations, but they are most likely the exceptions rather than the rule.”
—Indians AGM Chris Antonetti
“There are certain guys I’d rather have up at the plate in big situations. But could I prove that with numbers? Probably not.”
–Rangers GM Jon Daniels (Matthew Leach, MLB.com)
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE SMILE THIS ANONYMOUS MLB FLACK PUT ON MY FACE, CRAIG?
“I’m not a disrespectful person, and I don’t disrespect the game. But I’ve been wearing this pin for 20 years because it puts smiles on 20,000-something cancer patients’ faces.”
—Astros legend Craig Biggio, on having to remove the Sunshine Kids pin he wears to support the foundation during spring training. According to the story, GM Tim Purpura was “sent a fax with a picture of Biggio from Wednesday night’s game.”
“If somebody wants to sit in an office and feel good about themselves, they should feel real bad about this one. They didn’t think about all the cancer kids that get enjoyment out of it. Major League Baseball does a lot of good things, but this is one of the stupid things.”
–Biggio (Kristie Riekin, Yahoo! Sports)
“The league has a code where they watch what’s on the uniforms and I don’t know the full extent of it, but evidently the Sunshine Kids pin is not part of it.”
DAMN NEFARIOUS SCHEDULE GODS…OH-YOU’RE JUST A PERSON, AREN’T YOU?
“It feels a bit like we have to play the American League playoffs before we can get to the National League. But it’s just a challenge you just have to deal with.”
—Mets GM Omar Minaya, on his team’s schedule.
“As you put the puzzle together, somebody’s going to be out of whack. You basically run out of options.”
—Katy Feeney, the Major League Baseball Senior VP who oversees scheduling.
“I’ve said, half-jokingly, that if 30 teams are unhappy with their schedule, I’ve done my job.”
–Feeney (Alan Schwarz, The New York Times)
ALSO I PUT A SUBSTANCE ON THE BALL-BUT THEN YOU SAW THAT ON FOX
“I can do it on occasion. I’m not that type of pitcher, and I know that. I can’t do that for a whole season, and the reason is I wouldn’t last. I take a big chance when I try to pitch like that. It’s out of my style. So when I take that chance, the hardest part for me is to locate in the spots I’m supposed to be in. If you’re off the mark and you’re up against a professional hitter, he’ll hit that mistake 420 feet as opposed to grounding out to shortstop if I hit that zone.”
—Tigers starting pitcher Kenny Rogers
“In that game, I threw every four-seamer as physically hard as I could. I couldn’t have thrown them any harder. But the thing is, I kept my location. I took a chance because I could have been out of the game in the second or third inning. When I came up, I threw 96 mph, but I changed my approach because I’ve had eight surgeries to my shoulder, elbow, knee, ribs. But on that night I kept that velocity through the whole game.”
–Rogers, on start against the Yankees in the ALDS.
“I think I can go on for a while as long as I can do what I’m supposed to do for a team. It’s all about what I’m willing to handle physically. It’s a tougher grind when you get to this level and this age. I do things that I probably shouldn’t do, like diving for balls. I enjoy that part of it. I pay for that. I’ll pay for it when I’m out of baseball. For me it’s worth the sacrifice. I’m hopeful I have a few more years. I know I do if I want it.”
–Rogers (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)
“I don’t have a whole lot of problem with it. There’s been a lot of discussion, but if he continues to throw the way he’s throwing, I know what my recommendation is going to be.”
–Mariners GM Mike Hargrove on 2006 draftee Brandon Morrow‘s chances to make the big club. (Kirby Arnold, Kitsap Sun)
“When I played in college, [I think] my defense [was] second in the country in errors. So I was more of an ‘I got to punch ’em out, pop ’em out’ guy, because if I got the ball on the ground, it was, like, 50-50 that we’d get an out. Coming here, I had to try to pitch to contact. I was able to get a lot of outs really fast. But I’ve also got the extra gear in my back pocket so I can throw it past them if I need it, and that’s what I tried to do.”
—Twins starter Matt Garza (MLB.com)
“I really got to feel what it felt like to be unhealthy and hit a ball and see it not really go anywhere. So I put on some weight and hopefully it’ll translate into some more power. I basically got sick of people telling me, ‘Man, it looks like you’ve lost a lot of weight.’ I pretty much figured I’m not going to steal any bases anyway, so why train to be a runner when all I do is hit and I’ve only got to take three steps and catch the ball anyhow?”
—Todd Helton, Rockies first baseman (The New York Times)
“I don’t think about it very much at all to be quite frank. What it taught me going forward was we had too many chefs in the kitchen making that decision. I think ultimately that was the reason we made the trade. You can’t be a good executive without making a few mistakes along the way. That’s one I’d like to have back. I wouldn’t make the same mistake the second time around, obviously.”
—Orioles GM Jim Duquette, on the trade that send Scott Kazmir to the Devil Rays. (Jeff Zrebiec, Baltimore Sun)
“All I know is the way I’ve been preparing bullpens…I’ve always had pretty good success with my bullpens, kept them nice and healthy and strong all year. But you have to lay the foundation in spring training. You can’t not use them here that way, and then all of a sudden the first week of the season you start piling up work for them. They’re not ready for it. That’s how you hurt yourself.”
—Cubs skipper Lou Piniella (Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune)