AT THE UNYIELDING MERCY OF BABIP
“You want to really get serious? Let’s talk about .500. He’s climbing closer to that than he is to .400. I’m just enjoying watching him do it. It’s amazing.”
–Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, on Joe Mauer‘s hot hitting.
“If it’s a flip of the coin, you really don’t want it that way. You want consistency, but at the same time, we’re talking about a guy that’s leading the league in hitting. Now I guess the question becomes: Where does that fit into winning? How does that fit in? Is that good?”
–Mets manager Jerry Manuel, on David Wright.
“I’ve been swinging the bat good, but we’ve got a lot of baseball left. I think somebody said we’ve got about 350, 400 more at-bats to go, so that’s a long season.”
-Twins catcher Joe Mauer, who is bopping .417/.485/.744 as of Sunday.
“Sometimes I sit there and tell HoJo, ‘We are critiquing him, and we’re talking about the league’s leading hitter.’ We’ve got to be careful in what we say and what we do, because we’re talking about the guy that’s leading the league in hitting. He is somewhat unorthodox, which gives us room to critique. But we could be very wrong in our critique. We have to kind of bear that for awhile.”
–Jerry Manuel, on his discussions about Wright’s approach with hitting coach Howard Johnson. Wright is hitting .344/.433/.498 for the year so far.
ALEX IS JUST AN UNDER-THE-RADAR KIND OF GUY
“When you’re running on empty, you’re not being yourself out there. I’ll call my mom and tell her to save the gas money.”
-Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, on sitting out his team’s weekend series against the Marlins until Sunday’s rubber game, a 6-5 loss.
“We talked to him yesterday; ‘Yeah, you want to play, but you’ve got to tell us when you’re fatigued.'”
“That’s not true. Dr. [Mark] Lindsay said he would benefit from more than a day. It was a medical decision. The doctor ordered two days, and see you on Sunday. Girardi and I am firmly on board.”
-Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, denying that the order to sit came from the front office.
“The next day we had a conference call and Alex ‘fessed up, and Mark Lindsay said he probably needs more than one day. I called Joe, and it was two days. The club got into Miami at 4 a.m. and it was a no-brainer.”
–Cashman (George A. King III, New York Post)
REMARKABLE CALM AND POISE WHEN SERVING UP HOMERS TO THE OPPOSITION
“I’ve had tough moments in the past, but each time I thought them out and tried different ways to get through it. Even if I couldn’t see the answer right away, often I was able to push myself to work my way out of it. This time, I feel it’s taking way too much time to break through, so now might be the time where I need to reach out for some advice, for some help.”
-Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, on being put on the DL.
“It all started with the WBC. It’s become obvious that his velocity wasn’t what it was. I don’t think it’s any surprise, there’s some weakness that we’re going to have to fix. We’ve been fighting this all year. It’s been hard, and I know I keep coming back to the WBC and it’s probably not a real popular thing in baseball to say that, but he didn’t really have a chance to get a foundation. He ramped up to try to get people out probably before he was ready, physically.”
-Red Sox manager Terry Francona, on Matsuzaka’s struggles.
“It’s happened to pitchers where they’re pitching in earnest before their bodies or their arms are ready to do that. I think we’ve paid the price for that. We’ve been playing catch-up. We did what we thought was right, to shut him down earlier. I think we all see that it’s not really getting better. It’s been a struggle. We’re trying to address that.”
“Right now I just want to treat this as another opportunity to improve as a ballplayer.”
–Matsuzaka, through his translator. (Amalie Benjamin, Boston Globe)
MID-SEASON ARBITRATION HEARING
“I admit to you that Magglio had a rough April batting average. But if you want to talk about why his production is down in 2009, it’s about one thing and one thing only-his home runs are down by seven. I submit to you that’s not compelling information for declaring failure.”
–Magglio Ordonez‘s agent Scott Boras; his client has hit .273/.347/.343 on the year.
“He’s been through situations like this before, and he didn’t get benched then.”
“I couldn’t be more puzzled by the situation. He’s such a professional. I feel bad for him right now because I know he’s fighting it. I think he’s just befuddled right now.”
–Tigers skipper Jim Leyland (Lynn Henning, Detroit News)
THE GUY JUST WANTS A WARM BED OF MONEY TO COME HOME TO
“Oh, of course. I mean, I think if we can’t come to an agreement on terms here in a Red Sox uniform, I mean, I think that’s pretty much the writing on the wall. Not only the Bronx, but anywhere. I think anywhere is a possibility. You always have to keep that in the back of your mind because you can’t just be one-sided and think that, ‘Oh, I’m going to be in a Red Sox uniform my entire career,’ because nowadays that is very, very rare, and hopefully we can because there’s no question I would love to stay in a Boston Red Sox uniform, but I have to do what’s best for me and play in an atmosphere where I’m wanted.”
-Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon
“I don’t want to go (expletive) play for the Yankees. I’ve been on a team for the past five years that’s been in first place more than any other (expletive) team otherwise. Why would I want to leave? Sometimes in these quotes they only see what they want to see.”
–Papelbon, retracting his earlier statement.
“They don’t owe me nothing. This team doesn’t need me. I need the Red Sox more than the Red Sox need me.”
“For me, I want to go to a place where I’m happy. For me, the only thing that’s important is that, A, it’s like a family, and B, I have manager and a GM that’s going to protect me, and I know that here.”
–Papelbon (Ben Collins, Boston Globe)
“If we win our games, it’s a beautiful place. We were leaving a place with all the ghosts and the history, well there’s been a lot of positive memories so far filled into five homestands. Fans are walking out, saying, ‘Can you believe that?'”
-Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, on Yankee Stadium. (Jim Ingraham, The News-Herald)
“I don’t know why umpires have to be confrontational. When he goes back and looks at the replay of the pitch, hopefully he can admit he missed the call.”
–Braves third baseman Chipper Jones, on home-plate umpire Bill Hohn, who threw two players and a manager out during the seventh inning of a 6-5 loss to the Red Sox on Sunday. (Mike Petraglia, WEEI.com)
“I’m 37; I don’t know what to do with my energy. I try to burn it all off on the field down here while I’m working out. I’m in tippy-top shape. I’m thinking of becoming a swimsuit model.”
-Free-agent starter Pedro Martinez, who is looking to sign with a club. (Michael Silverman, Boston Herald)
“I think a lot of that has to do with factors I can’t control, one of them being they have to swing. If they take the first two pitches of every at-bat, I think it’s going to be more difficult to do that. The second part is you can’t control how the umpires call the strikes, can’t control how people catch the ball. We did a good job today. We made some great plays.”
-Red Sox starter Josh Beckett, on his first shutout as a Red Sock in Saturday’s game against the Braves. (Michael Silverman, Boston Herald)
“Albert hits good pitches hard and bad pitches even harder. When he gets in the batter’s box, if you pray, you start praying. And if you don’t pray, you think about starting.”
–Royals starter Brian Bannister, on facing Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols. (Bob Dutton, Kansas City Star)
“He needs to get his head on straight. He can’t keep trying to jerk the ball out of the park every time up. He’s no baby. He’s been up here four or five years. He’s going to have to figure it out.”
–Indians manager Eric Wedge, on the struggles of third baseman Jhonny Peralta. (Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe)
“I’ll remember that for the rest of my life, I’m sure. He’s one of the all-time greatest players, I think. One of the more respected players, too. That’s why I got a little emotional when I struck him out.”
-Marlins starter Josh Johnson, on striking out Derek Jeter to end a rally in Saturday’s game against the Yankees. (Peter Abraham, LoHud Yankees Blog)
Alex Carnevale is a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.