THE NATURAL ’08
“Jay’s considered the ultimate prospect. He’s the top prospect in all of baseball. I wasn’t really considered a prospect–at least not at his level. He’s got a lot of weight on his shoulders. He’s got a lot of responsibility.”
—Reds first baseman Joey Votto on teammate Jay Bruce‘s debut. (John Fay, Cincinnati Enquirer)
“They told me to run out and tip my hat. Nobody else ran out.”
–new Reds center fielder Jay Bruce, on a prank his team played on him during his first game between innings.
“They picked up where they left off. I’m the butt of a lot of jokes. I like it, though. People are laughing. People are having a good time. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.”
–Bruce (Joe Kay, Yahoo! Sports)
“A lot of times hype is overhyped, but this hype is real.”
–Baker; Bruce is hitting .591/.690/1.000 since his debut.
“What a remarkable story for Jay Bruce. That’s probably one of the best stories I’ve ever seen. If he is living a dream, I’d like to get into that dream.”
–Reds manager Dusty Baker
“Dunn got the big walk, then we got the momentum with Freel sliding into home on that crazy play. This whole thing has been crazy. When I hit first base, well, it was awesome and I was anxious to get to home and get beat up again – but I’ll take it, every time it can happen.”
–Bruce, on his second walk-off hit since his debut.
“He’s not a power hitter, not a home run hitter. You come in as a hitter and you learn how to hit home runs. He’s a hitter, not a slugger and, boy, that was a remarkable game. Makes me glad I came back to managing. Man, that was nice. That’s the stuff I missed in the booth. The booth was nice, but, man, this is wonderful.”
–Baker (Dayton Daily News)
SHORTSTOP VERSUS SHORTSTOP
“I don’t think Cabby lets his teammates know him really well. Cabby is not a guy who communicates with people. When he leaves early after the game, his teammates don’t have a chance to get to know him. I talked to him about it.”
—White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, on shortstop Orlando Cabrera.
“If it happens again, I will call again. I don’t have to do it with other teams because they always had my back. They don’t want to do it here. I can take care of my own business.”
–White Sox shortstop Orlando Cabrera, on asking the official scorer to reverse errors.
“I’m not going to say we’re going to have a problem, but I don’t think it looks good to his teammates for him to worry about his numbers. I know I never did that. Obviously, a good player, a Gold Glove winner, you want to have a good season for free agency. But he better be careful about what his teammates are going to think.”
“One bad thing here is we have too many good guys here. And that’s the problem. When you have a team that sticks and hangs together, all of a sudden somebody seems like, ‘Oh wait, is this guy on the same page or not?’ And I know he’s on the same page. He has to show them he’s on the same page as they are.”
“All I know is I want exclusive rights to all networks that are [in Cleveland] filming this soap opera so I can make it into a reality show.”
–White Sox general manager Kenny Williams (Joe Cowley, Chicago Sun-Times)
PEDRO VERSUS PRICE
“You always have butterflies. You’re throwing against a former Cy Young winner. It’s fun. It’s a challenge. It makes you want to compete a little more. You know you can’t give up one or two runs and get the win, because he’s that good.”
—Rays pitcher David Price, on a Port St. Lucie matchup against Pedro Martinez.
“I want him to go home and one day tell his grandchildren about
me. That’s the impression I want to leave on everyone.”
“He’s amazing, that kid. Amazing. God bless him, and keep him healthy.”
—Mets starter Pedro Martinez. Price allowed only two hits in six innings, striking out nine.
WE’LL BUNT, HE’LL HATE THAT
“Me and you are going to work this guy and mess up the mind.”
–Gomez, referring to teammate Alexi Casilla, who bats behind Gomez.
“Why you look at me like that? You don’t intimidate me. I’m not a player you look at. Hell no, I look at you!”
–Gomez, to Verlander after he stared into the dugout. (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)
HERE’S TO FIVE HUNDRED MORE, WE KNOW YOU CAN DO IT MANNY
“As soon as I hit it, I knew it was gone. I am happy. I am proud of myself and all the things that I’ve accomplished.”
—Red Sox left fielder Manny Ramirez, after hitting his 500th home run to the bleachers in right field at Camden Yards.
“That’s just remarkable. To have that power the opposite way that consistently. That’s the type of thing we hitters really, really respect. That, to us, is what makes Manny so great.”
–Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell
“They’re so proud to have me, a guy so loose, to play the game. I guess they really appreciate it.”
“I’m happy for him. He’s got a uniqueness about him that makes him easy to like. He looks like a Brazilian Rainforest guy. You take away the hair and the baggy uniform, he’s just a guy that can hit.”
“He’s a complete hitter. It used to bother me that all the work I did, all the preparation, didn’t help [get him out]. But I’m resigned to the fact that he’s in a special category. It isn’t that he doesn’t have any weaknesses. But he doesn’t have many, I’ll tell you that. And just when you think you’ve got a way to get him out, he finds a way to beat you.”
–Anonymous advanced scout, on Manny. (ESPN.com)
“Every time I show up, Manny does something big. I worked on his hair today and he did it. We’re all happy for him.”
–Manny’s hair stylist L’Montro
BORN TO RUN
“It looked worse than it was, because I stopped at the bag. It’s not like I stopped on the play. I could have run 20 feet past the bag and I still would have been out.”
—Orioles first baseman Kevin Millar, on his running difficulties.
“But it becomes part of the story, ‘Millar’s hamstring.’ I’ve had a hamstring for seven days. I’m just slow. My speed has been injured since I’ve been in the big leagues. I’m slow, but I’m quick-witted.”
“I’ve been talking to Millar about how to run the bases.”
–Millar’s buddy, Manny Ramirez
“It’s time for me to retire if Manny is telling me how to run the bases.”
–Millar (Gordon Edes, Boston Globe)
DAVE, WASN’T THERE A NOTECARD WHERE I CALL HIM THE ULTIMATE GAMER AND THE POTENTIAL MAN OF MY DREAMS?
“It was a very tough call because even though he’s not quite himself, he’s still surviving here. He’s not hitting under .200, he’s hitting .260.”
—Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, on sending outfielder Chris Duncan down to the minors.
“But in the end, just because of this rash of left-handers we’re going to face the next two series, I just don’t think… not getting him a bunch of at-bats is the right thing to do.”
“This guy plays defense, on his worst day, average. If everybody on our roster was as talented, as tough a competitor and as great a teammate as that young man, we may never lose.”
“He probably doesn’t have any confidence now because he’s getting sent out, but I think he believes in himself. He’s worked his butt off to get right.”
–La Russa (The Sporting News)
DRAFT WISDOM: YOU MAY WANT TO WRITE THIS DOWN
“I’m pitching for my team, but I feel my future is as an outfielder because I have tools others don’t have… I’m just using pitching as my backup.”
–draft prospect Aaron Hicks, backing off his desire to be drafted as an outfielder. (Eric Sondheimer, Los Angeles Times)
“I don’t think we draft on how the big league team is doing right now, because it’s not going to have an impact at least for a couple of years, and the dynamics [then] might be totally different. If there’s a need you consider, it’s more of an organizational need.”
–A’s director of scouting Eric Kubota
“It’s going to be a very active debate, and there’s going to be a lot of guys stumping for different players.”
–Rays general manager Andrew Friedman, on who his club will select with the first pick. (Marc Lancaster, Tampa Tribune)
“It’s very important.The drafts we’ve had in the past the last several years, because we had generally finished up in the standings, you get a lower draft pick and then we traded away a lot of draft position because of free agency we had signed. The past five or six years we have not been in good position. This year we are.”
—Astros owner Drayton McLane (Brian McTaggart, Houston Chronicle)
“It’s hard to lock on a first baseman as your draft bell cow. They’ve got power and probably will play, but I want more than ‘probably’ with my first pick.”
–Anonymous NL scout
HE HAS TWELVE TO FOURTEEN TOOLS
“Tim is just a tremendous talent and an even better individual who helps out with several community projects. He’s a legitimate five-tool player. You never know how that stuff will pan out, but I know Tampa Bay is seriously considering taking him with the first pick.”
—Jamie Cassady, draft prospect Tim Beckham’s high school coach
“Obviously I’m excited. I’m 18 and I have the chance to possibly be the No. 1 pick in the baseball draft. I don’t let it get to me, really. I’m still playing high school ball and I’m really concentrating on that.”
–Griffin H.S. shortshop Tim Beckham
“With kids like that, you kind of see them and immediately you know. As an eighth grader, he probably could play varsity for us.”
–Cassady (Charles Odum, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer)
TIME TO BREAK OUT THE CHUCK LAMAR VOODOO DOLL
“It’s not a concern right now, but more so a question.”
–Rays team president Matt Silverman, on the lack of improved attendance for the contending Rays team.
“I never saw as many people out here. It’s real nice to see the fans. They should have cowboy night every night.”
–Former Ray Ozzie Guillen, on the franchise’s draw for a game, estimated at 30,000, before a Trace Adkins concert. (ESPN.com)
“All we can do is continue to put a good product out on the field and make Tropicana Field the best venue we can. People who come to the park do have fun. It’s much better than watching on TV.”
–Silverman (Joe Henderson, Tampa Tribune)
“I’m so superstitious about everything. I’d sell off my car. I’d sell off my house. The only thing sacred is my wife and kids. Everything else is sold off like cattle.”
–Reds outfielder Ken Griffey Jr., on his chase for 600 home runs. (Mark Sheldon, MLB.com)
“It was the pitch count and only the pitch count. There’s times when your bullpen is really tired and you need to give them a break and you can push your starter into a spot where it gets to be past 120 pitches, but tonight that wasn’t the case. There’s no need to do that.”
–Brewers manager Ned Yost, on removing Ben Sheets after 122 pitches in the ninth inning of his start this week. (ESPN.com)
“He did a tremendous job. The guy had a root canal this morning and went out there and battled for us. I think we’re scheduling another one in five days for him.”
–Nats manager Manny Acta, on Odalis Perez‘ start this week. (Bill Ladson, MLB.com)
“There would have been a flat-out fight out there on the mound if he was going to go four or five innings tonight. I wanted to get us seven or eight innings, and whatever they were going to do with him, they were going to have to figure out how to do that.”
—Yankees starter Andy Pettitte, on being paired with Joba Chamberlain. (Seattle Times)
“I’m not going to worry about it. The worst thing they can do is send me back to my family.”
—Cubs center fielder Jim Edmonds, on his struggles with his second club this season (Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
“I’m still trying to establish myself as a hitter. I’ve hit a lot of doubles, which tells me I’m capable of hitting for power. I’ve never hit a lot of home runs, but I think have six now and I could probably hit 20 realistically, but drive in some runs. I’ve always thought I was capable of hitting .300 and I’m not far off it right now. I don’t know, I always thought of myself as a Moneyball-type hitter, but my walks are down, and I think I’ve tried to hit for more power.”
—Rangers outfielder David Murphy (Boston Globe)
“All of a sudden we’ve got people that are actually difference-makers, and they make people around them better just by their presence. That’s what he does. He gives people courage just by being himself.”
–Rays manager Joe Maddon, on closer Troy Percival. (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.