YOUNG ARMS UNDER THE TUTELAGE OF DUSTY BAKER…ENJOY IT WHILE YOU CAN
“He’s fun to play behind. He gets the ball and throws. He doesn’t take a lot of time between pitches. He throws strikes. He’s one of those special guys. You can tell it on the mound. He’s totally different on the mound than he is in the clubhouse. I don’t know how to describe it.”
—Reds left fielder Adam Dunn, on Reds rookie Johnny Cueto‘s first start.
“I never saw Pedro [Martinez] throw in his younger years in person. But he reminds me somewhat of him: smaller guy, Dominican, throws the ball on a really low plane, 94 to 96, not an unbelievably big curveball–Pedro’s is bigger–but a pitch to get them off the fastball and then a good change. It was an unbelievable debut. A young guy, great circumstances–not much of a crowd, more of a spring training feel–any way you cut it, it’s a nerve-racking day. To do what he did, especially command-wise … When someone’s throwing that hard, you’d expect them to be up in the zone a lot.”
–Reds starter Bronson Arroyo
“I guarantee you, they know. They have a program (on baseball) there at 5 o’clock. If they don’t already know, at 5 o’clock everybody’s going to know.”
—Mario Soto, another Dominican right-hander, on awareness of Cueto’s performance in the Dominican Republic. (Cincinnati Enquirer)
“Boy, that is some debut there. The way he threw the ball today has no age to it.”
–Reds manager Dusty Baker
“The first thing on my mind was I had to do a good job my first time in Cincinnati. I think I did. I didn’t go seven innings or have 10 strikeouts like J.C., but I think it was pretty good.”
–Reds right-hander Edinson Volquez, comparing his start to Cueto’s.
“We didn’t count on him throwing so many strikes. For the most part, he threw good strikes–you know, strikes on the corner. He made it difficult.”
–D’backs outfielder Eric Byrnes, on Volquez.
THAT VAUNTED INSIDE-THE-BOX THINKING
“The mindset’s so much different because we don’t have guys in those roles. Usually, in that situation you think about [Sean] Green, but he has to go back [further into the bullpen]. If you go to him too early, you’re going to need him [later]. And if you need him, you don’t have him.”
—Mariners manager John McLaren, on reconfiguring his bullpen after closer J.J. Putz went to the DL.
“I think when your big boy goes out, it’s got more of an impact. I don’t know if one guy can replace him, to be honest with you.”
–McLaren, on Putz.
“It’s something we’re going to have to talk about. We have talked about it.”
–McLaren, on going to a twelve man pitching staff. (Geoff Baker, Seattle Times)
HE IS PEAVY, WATCH HIM THROW
“He said that he was going to throw a changeup during spring training, and it’s like when the Pope speaks, everybody thinks it’s such a huge deal. He threw a couple on Opening Night, but I thought he did a really good job tonight. It gave him another pitch.
—Padres catcher Josh Bard, on catching Jake Peavy‘s most recent start. (ESPN.com)
“Guys like Kent and Martin have seen his slider a lot, and it’s still the best slider in the game, but sometimes they’re cheating for it. We threw a little wrinkle in there. You can’t say enough.”
“MAYBE THEY’RE SEEING SOMETHING WE DON’T”
“I guess I’ve been giving people things to talk about for a while now. If I’m going to go out there and give you everything I’ve got, and don’t show you everything I am as a person, you’re not getting everything I am. And that’s unfair to my teammates.”
–Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain, on his celebration after striking out Frank Thomas.
“I’m not going to take that away from him, because I don’t think he’s showing people up. There are other pitchers who do it. Jeff Nelson, we called it ‘the chainsaw.’ Derek Jeter has that classic [fist pump]. I don’t think it’s showing people up–I think it’s emotion.”
–Yankees manager Joe Girardi
“I’m Joba Chamberlain, and I pitch for the New York Yankees. I’m going to be me. There’s no getting around it.”
“It’s unfair to my team to not bring 110 percent every time I go out. It’s going to be a topic of conversation, that’s fine because I am Joba Chamberlain. I am going to be who I am and if I didn’t show that, I’m not being fair to my teammates. I’m letting them down because I’m not being the person that I am. That’s who I am. That’s how I got here. I’m not going to change for anybody. I don’t care what they say or what goes along with it.”
“Hey, you strike me out at 98, you can do what you want.”
–Jays DH Frank Thomas (New York Daily News)
“It gives you guys something to talk about. It’s no disrespect to anybody. It’s no disrespect to the game. It’s no disrespect to Frank Thomas for what he’s done in this game; he’s been very, very special to this game. He understands we’re all competitors, and as a competitor you give everything you’ve got every time you go out.”
–Joba (Brian Costello, New York Post)
IS THERE A TEXAS CONSPIRACY AGAINST BARRY, AND HOW HIGH UP DOES IT GO?
“If he’s healthy, I’m not sure there’s a club that his bat wouldn’t help. As for us, we’ve just made an organizational decision not to pursue him at this time. It just doesn’t fit what we’re trying to do right now.”
—Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, on the continued unemployment of Barry Bonds.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if a club tries to sign him at some point. There are a lot of positives in that regard, not the least of which is there’s no need to trade young talent to acquire him.”
“I’d do it. I would. I’m a Barry Bonds fan. I’ve always been a Barry Bonds fan. He’s going to help you win a lot of ballgames. That’s what it’s all about.”
–Rangers manager Ron Washington (Jim Reeves, Fort Worth Star Telegram)
SEVEN SCORELESS = YAWN
“I went up to Butcher after the first inning and said, ‘It might be a long one. I don’t really have my best stuff. I don’t really know where the ball is going.’ Then he said, ‘Hey, just go out there and act like you’ve got your best stuff and don’t let them think that you don’t have your A-game.'”
—Angels starter Jered Weaver, on going seven innings with three hits and six strikeouts versus the Rangers on Saturday.
“You can’t show emotion. You can’t show weakness. You’ve got to feel like you’ve got the best stuff in the world when you’re out there. All I said to him during the game is if there’s one guy that can will a ball to where he wants to will it, it’s you.”
–Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher, on Weaver.
“Everything wasn’t really that sharp. It may be a little dead-arm situation or whatnot. I really don’t know what that is. People always say it, ‘dead arm or whatever.’ I don’t really know what it is or what it really feels like, but I guess I did tonight. When you reach back and let it go, everything feels good, but you just don’t have that zip on the ball.”
–Weaver (Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times)
HE’S THE SCRAPPIEST
“He sets the tone for us, from the first play of the game. How many guys in this league are going to dive to avoid a tag instead of running straight through the bag? When we were in New York (for a season-opening series) he hit a ball right back to the pitcher but we still got him at around 4.1 (seconds) to first base. A routine out! How many guys do that?”
–Toronto bench coach Brian Butterfield, on the Jays’ new shortstop, David Eckstein.
“He’s a spark. We needed that. We hadn’t been able to settle into a leadoff guy for a while. We had Reed Johnson doing some of it, [Alex] Rios did some of it, even Vernon [Wells] did it for a while. We haven’t had that guy, and that’s why we brought him over here to give us that spark as a guy we could count on. Everybody you talk to just raves about the kid.”
—Blue Jays manager John Gibbons
“He will be on the bench and he’s always talking, and that’s kind of a rarity. Some guys talk but for him it’s nonstop intensity. He must sleep good at night.”
–Gibbons (Rob Bradford, Boston Herald)
LARRY BOWA: TEAM GUY
“I did it all spring, nobody said a word. I did it yesterday, nobody said a word. It’s impossible to coach third and stay in the box with a runner at second.”
–Dodgers third-base coach Larry Bowa, on standing outside of the third-base coaching box.
“We got a memo and an edict, and they’re adamant about the box and stuff. Don’t go up in front of the box toward home plate, and don’t get any closer to the foul lines. I told Bo in the bottom of the fifth, because he got up close. And that’s what caught my eye. And I just told him, ‘Bo, you got the memo, we got the memo, and you’ve got to stay back.’ I went over and told Joe in-between innings what I told Bo. And Bo just said, ‘I’m going to do it the way I’ve always been doing it.'”
–umpire Ed Montague
“I said, ‘Bo, if you go up, I’m going to have to run you.’ And he said, ‘Do what you’ve got to do, and it is what it is.’ When he got up in front of it again, I said, ‘Bo, I told you once, now get back in the box.’ He argued it, and finally I said, ‘You’re gone.’ So I gave him every chance in the book and he defied it.”
HE SHALL RECEIVE THE CLUTCH TATTOO ABOVE HIS NAVEL FROM THE SECRET SOCIETY OF CLUTCH HITTING
“I said to [coach] Chris Speier, ‘I hope he doesn’t get the bunt down so he can hit a game-winning home run.'”
–Dusty Baker, on Edwin Encarnacion‘s game-winning home-run last week, creating questions over why he called for a bunt in the first place.
“Edwin hasn’t been swinging well, so you can’t let him swing in that situation because he has been struggling. He’s been tearing himself up internally, you can see it. He’s trying too hard and made a couple of miscues the last couple of games. From the other side of the field [when he managed the Cubs], I know I didn’t like to see Edwin up there in that situation because he has hit with runners in scoring position, and he is a clutch man.”
“Doesn’t matter how you win them, but boy that first one seems like it is always the toughest one. You are always thinking about, when you start losing-you try not to think about it-but you do think about all the teams that have started a season with a lot of losses.”
–Baker (Hal McCoy, Dayton Daily News)
HE WILL NO DOUBT BE THE TOAST OF BALTIMORE AFTER THESE COMMENTS
“We’re going to have to win back some hearts. To be honest, it’s tough to get up to play in front of a crowd like that, but we have to win some games and give them a reason to come out.”
—Orioles first baseman Aubrey Huff
“That was the sweetest home run I ever hit, I ain’t going to lie to you. I hit that ball and I [said], ‘Just please just get out.’ My next at-bat after that, I kind of heard more of a mixed crowd instead of all boos.”
“I’ve been taking it pretty good the last few days, but hopefully, that game will win some hearts back.”
–Huff (Jeff Zrebiec, Baltimore Sun)
WHEN HE IS RETURNED TO THE MINORS FOR GOOD, HE CAN SUGGEST THE DEUCE AS A MASCOT
“I feel like I have some work to do. I felt like poop a little bit. Hopefully, I can put the work in the cage and next time around I can be sharp.”
–Yankees first baseman Shelley Duncan
“I babied it. I had a lot of momentum going toward second; I pulled back a little because I didn’t want to throw a missile at Jeter. I babied it and pushed it into center.”
–Duncan, on a throw from first he put in left field during Saturday’s 6-3 loss to the Rays.
–Duncan (Erik Boland, Newsday)
“Obviously, pitch counts are a proxy for health as the perfect scenario would involve biomechanical analysis to detect delivery differences and strength tests for weaknesses coupled with our pitching coaches’ evaluations. However, we do feel like the use of pitch counts will help us better ensure the long-term health of our pitchers.”
—Pirates director of player development Kyle Stark, on his organization’s approach to pitch counts. (Bucco Blog)
“We seem to have some trouble with lefties who move a sinker around and change speeds. That’s what he was doing tonight.”
–Angels manager Mike Scioscia, on his team losing to Texas’ Kason Gabbard. (Mike DiGiovanni, Los Angeles Times)
“Obviously it’s flattering, but I think undeserved. I don’t necessarily view myself in the same way, but for a guy like that that’s respected with the numbers and the Handbooks, it’s obviously humbling and something that I’m proud to be viewed that way.”
—Mets third baseman David Wright, on Bill James naming him the player he would most want to build a franchise around. (Mike Berardino, Florida Sun-Sentinel)
“We’re getting a lot of information now; everything is right there for you to see.”
–Yankees reliever Brian Bruney, on the difference between new pitching coach Dave Eiland and former pitching coach Ron Guidry. (Peter Abraham, LoHud Yankees Blog)
“It’s probably the best thing for us right now. A lot of us are tired. We’re ready to go home. All these different countries, different currencies, I’m kind of sick of it.”
–Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis, on trips to Toronto and Japan to open the season. (Yahoo! Sports)
“When teams that aren’t supposed to be very good face good teams, it brings out the best. The Yankee uniform walks on the field, everybody seems to get dressed in their Sunday best. Pitchers go out there and you see their ERA is 7.43 and they shut you out for six innings. There’s not a particular reason why it happens.”
–Dodgers manager Joe Torre (Henry Schulman, San Francisco Chronicle)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.