IT WAS A BASEBALL GAME
“It wasn’t so much the catch, but the timing of the catch. If you make that catch in the first inning, it’s a great catch. If you make it in the ninth, it’s a great catch, but if you make it in the ninth inning of a 1-0 game with one guy on, that makes it a better catch.”
–Tigers manager Jim Leyland,, after Curtis Granderson brought back a possible game-winning homer off the bat of Grady Sizemore in a Tigers victory this week.
“I finally decided this was his game. There would be no relief in the ninth inning.”
–Leyland, on leaving Justin Verlander in to finish the complete game.
“The fact that Cliff Lee’s so fast to the plate, as soon as Polanco misses [on the swing], I’m like, ‘Oh, man.’ I saw Asdrubal jump to his feet. He put a perfect tag right on the top of my foot, but I got in by a cleat.”
-Tigers center fielder Curtis Granderson, on the game’s winning rally against Indians starter Cliff Lee.
“That’s as big a thrill as making the crowd go nuts when you hit a walk off home run.”
–Granderson (John Lowe, Detroit Free Press)
HE ALSO CURES CANCER
“If the draft was today, he’d be our guy. But the draft is a month from now, so a lot of things can happen. Guys can turn up their intensity and their performance, a lot of things can happen in a month. But if it was today, he’d be our guy.”
–Nationals interim general manager Mike Rizzo, on the no-hitter by San Diego State right-hander Stephen Strasburg against Air Force.
“I’m here to see the pitcher in general. How he performs. The poise he has on the mound. See the command he has with his pitches. We know what the radar gun is gonna say, but believe me, there’s not much difference on the radar gun between 95 and 100. Pujols doesn’t care if it’s 95 or 100. Or any good hitter in the big leagues. Kip Wells was throwing 95, 96 last night with a power slider, and throwing for strikes, and he gave up two runs. Big-league hitters are big-league hitters. You better command the stuff, your stuff better be moving, and you better be resilient enough to come back when the ball is hit and you have some failure. That’s what we’re here for.”
–Rizzo, on why he attended the Air Force start.
“He’s still got some learning to do. He would have some success, but I’ve said all along that he will have to throw more balls over the plate at the next level.”
-San Diego State manager Tony Gwynn, on whether Strasburg should go right to the majors.
“Well, there’s a dip after number one.”
-Nationals scouting director Dana Brown, on where the drop-off occurs in this year’s draft. (Chico Harlan, Washington Post)
HE PROJECTS AS A BETTER MANAGER THAN BOB MELVIN WILL EVER BE
“He brings unique leadership and perspective to the job. We’re not here to reinvent the wheel. But to change the nature of the job a little bit? OK, we’ll do that. A.J.’s a leader. He connects with people. He gets things done.”
–Diamondbacks general manager Josh Byrnes, on hiring A.J. Hinch as the team’s new manager.
“There was something magical about the 2007 season, because our players had a game plan. They were running on the basepaths. They were executing. They were making the plays defensively. There was a lot of athleticism. They were getting timely hits. We’re not seeing any of that. There’s occasions where we do. Let’s face it, if Upton hadn’t been as hot as he is, and if last night he doesn’t hit two home runs, we’re still playing in San Diego right now as we speak. It’s problematic.”
-D’backs CEO Derrick Hall
“You got to put your best nine on the field, and you’ve got to go with who’s hot. You’ve got to get creative as a manager and as a general manager and a farm director, and you look down in the system and see who’s doing well.”
“This obviously is an unconventional hire. A.J.’s leadership qualities, understanding of player development, and organizational perspective are all key factors in his appointment. I am confident that he will set high standards and instill a spirit of collaboration in his new position.”
–Byrnes, on hiring the Stanford psychology grad.
“Every team can do that. They can look back and say, ‘Boy, if we kept him, him, and him, we’d be much better.’ Every team can. But you can also look at moves and say ‘Boy, that didn’t pan out for the other team.’ Let’s not be so quick to say these guys aren’t major league players and can’t be a part of a championship team, so get rid of them.”
–Hall, on his club’s record in trades over the past few years. (Nick Piecoro, Arizona Republic)
MANNY HAS HIS SAD FACE ON
“Any distance we might have picked up, we lost as an industry. That’s the sad part of it. For whatever reasons there are individuals that aren’t getting it. So many guys who are clean continue to get thrown under a black cloud by those who are involved. We’re in an industry where people are still looking for other means to heighten their game.”
–Rockies manager Clint Hurdle, on Manny Ramirez‘ 50-game suspension for PED use.
“Unfortunately, the medication was banned under our drug policy. Under the policy that mistake is now my responsibility. I have been advised not to say anything more for now. I do want to say one other thing; I’ve taken and passed about 15 drug tests over the past five seasons.”
–Dodgers left fielder Manny Ramirez, in a statement released to the media after his suspension was announced.
“There ought to be something to protect us from something like this. We sign a contract with a player in good faith, and then the contract is violated and the player basically can’t live up to the terms of the contract because of his behavior. It’s just not right that we have to be stuck with a contract like that.”
–Anonymous National League owner
“He’s still beat up over this thing. It’s not that he thinks it’s unfair. He’s embarrassed and he still has to clear his head before he feels good enough to come out.”
-Dodgers manager Joe Torre
“I felt like somebody punched me in the stomach. Mostly, it just made me sad. To me, there’s always been something about Manny. He’s real special. Out of all the players I’ve had, he’s one of my favorites. He always had a little sparkle about him.”
–Mike Hargrove, Manny’s former manager in Cleveland.
JOBA’S HAD KIND OF A WEIRD WEEK
“I don’t even know that he has a beef. It’s something that for whatever reason comes up. Some people are a little more intense than others.”
–Red Sox outfielder Jason Bay, on Joba Chamberlain hitting him with a pitch.
“It’s one of those deals where I’m all for throwing in, but there comes a point [when] somebody, whether it be baseball or the opponent, has to step in and say enough is enough. Balls have gone over guys’ heads and gone up too close. There’s a difference between throwing in and making a point, and he definitely tries to make some points. I don’t know if he’s trying to hit him there or not, but he did and it looks bad because J-Bay did hit a home run off of him, along with the history with us and other players. He always comes back and says ‘the ball slipped, I wasn’t trying to hit anybody.’ One time you can fool us, two times you can maybe say OK, but it’s gotten old. In baseball it’s one of those deals where you can’t really think there’s a punishment necessary. It’s one of those deals where we might have to police it ourselves a little bit more, I don’t know.”
-Red Sox lefty Jon Lester, on Joba Chamberlain throwing at Jason Bay in the team’s win over the Yankees on Tuesday.
“He strikes out 12 guys, doesn’t seem to have too many command issues, and if there was a purpose or intent to throw up and in you can disguise it a little bit more than making it very obvious with the first pitch in the middle of the back to Jason Bay. Those things aren’t forgotten. We know there is a history there between the pitcher in New York and our guys here, and not to say that he was specifically out to do that, but I think history speaks for itself and we’ve got a number of games left with these guys.”
-Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell (Alex Speier, WEEI.com)
“If I try to pinpoint something that is not right, well, the only thing I would say is speed. My velocity is not quite there yet. But I’m feeling good. The longer I go in and pitch, it will get there. I don’t worry about that.”
-Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, after giving up back-to-back homers to the Tampa Bay Rays in a loss this week. (Tyler Kepner, The New York Times)
“We certainly have an organizational philosophy to protect our pitchers from injury/overwork. In this particular case, however, J.R. believed that Ian was in control of the game and still pitching with command, velocity, and control. There is not any magic number of pitches above which a starting pitcher cannot go. Numerous factors, such as number of stressful innings, are taken into account.”
–Frank Coonelly, Pirates COO, on why manager John Russell let Ian Snell go 131 pitches in a game this week. (MLB.com)
“Major league baseball is nine innings. And we didn’t get a chance to [play] that because the weather showed that, from the get-go, we shouldn’t have been doing this-from the get-go. Somebody made a mistake here and screwed up. And I don’t know who’s supposed to be accountable for this [stuff], but my team ends up paying the final price-because we lose a baseball game.”
–Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, on losing a six-inning, 4-1 rainout to the Orioles this week. (Phil Miller, Pioneer Press)
“Here is where it all kind of began. I just play well. I’m not going to knock it, I’m going to take it.”
–Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard, on the success at the plate he’s had in his birthplace of St. Louis. (ESPN.com)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.