Here are some of the notable quotes from around Major League Baseball this week:
"I feel fine. I wasn't in the original lineup. But I said, 'Please, pretty please.'"
--Braves third baseman Chipper Jones on how he talked his way into the lineup one day after leaving the field with a sore ankle. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
"If you start worrying about where you're pitching, you've lost the battle already. I was told a long time ago they can't hit
the ball out of the park on the ground. Work the sinker, change speeds, let them hit the ball on the ground and every park
plays exactly the same."
--Marlins pitcher Kevin Gregg on the challenges in pitching in a hitter-friendly ballpark like the Marlins' Triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
"This game's crazy. Anytime you get a hit, it's like, 'Aaaaaaah.' But if you go 0 for 3, you're like, 'Oh, crap. Here we go.
I need to get a hit. I need to get a hit.' It just makes it a little tougher when you're not on the team, when you don't have
--Veteran first baseman Travis Lee, who is trying to win a job in Spring Training with the Nationals. (Washington Post)
"You believe a non-athlete? One thousand home runs, that's not realistic for anybody. ... Whatever I end up with, I'd be
--Barry Bonds dismissing talk by his agent that he could possibly hit 1,000 home runs in his career. (San Francisco Chronicle)
"I came in second last year. I'm looking forward to taking it this year.."
--Angels pitcher Jered Weaver on his expectations for the team's annual NCAA pool. Weaver said he would fill out three brackets and pick his alma mater, Long Beach State, to win it all in one of them. (San Jose Mercury News)
"I was coming off the field and (Mark) Ellis said, 'Don't push it, it's early.' I'm not concerned at all. I don't want the
fans to be worried. I feel all right, I just hate the fact that it was on TV and people might be concerned."
--A's outfielder Milton Bradley on leaving a Spring Training game with a sore knee. (San Francisco Chronicle)
"He's valuable everywhere -- on the field, off the field. He's legitimately the best catcher that I've ever seen. The way he receives, the way he handles a pitching staff, his blocking, everything he does behind the plate, is tremendous. What he brings in our clubhouse, his demeanor and how he interacts with people, he's no doubt one of the biggest leaders on the club."
-- Former Houston Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell on Astros catcher Brad Ausmus, who has caught 1,696 games, including a franchise-record 1,056 with the Astros and is one of the most respected players on the team. (Houston Chronicle)
"I can sum up what happened in two words: Mike Matheny. He got hurt, and I started to lose confidence. He was telling me I could win 20 games, and I was throwing everything he called with complete confidence. I'm not the only guy who struggled there after he got hurt. "I think this year I'm more confident in myself. I'm going to throw all the demons out and challenge guys. I'm going to stop giving opposing hitters too much credit. I've got good stuff, and I'm going to have a big year." -- Texas Rangers pitcher Jamey Wright on how his 2006 season went downhill after a good start. Wright was 5-3 with a 3.84 ERA through May 22 before struggling throughout the rest of the season. (Dallas Morning News)
"This is a big week for me, but they all are, now. I'm a bench player, and I see everyone else getting ready, and I want to show that I can contribute to the team. It's a bunch of little things that bother me, which is sometimes the case after surgery. I need to get over the hump, and hopefully, I have." -- Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Jeff DaVanon, who is recovering from surgery on his shoulder and ankle, about his rehabilitation. (East Valley Tribune)
"I've been trying to stay in touch with him to figure out what it takes for him to get ready based on the cultural differences between our camp and the camp he's used to. Mechanical issues like (with his swing) is very fixable over time. ... Next year at this time we'll have a benchmark. Right now we have to rely on what he has to say, watch some video, come up with a couple little things. I still have full confidence he will be ready by the beginning of the season." -- Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon on how trying to learn how infielder Akinori Iwamura got ready for the season as a player in Japan compared to what he's been doing here in the United States. (St. Petersburg Times)
"I felt like I had good stuff. I would have liked to have had better results, obviously, in the first inning. It's nice to be able to get in situations and try to pitch your way out of it, and get the feel of what it's going to be like during the first of the year." -- Red Sox starter Tim Wakefield on his start against the Yankees Monday night. (Boston Herald)
"I've been impressed with him. The thing I like about him most is he doesn't seem to have any fear. He's an interesting guy to look at and we'll get a chance to see a little bit more of him down the stretch." -- Mets manager Willie Randolph on 22-year-old reliever Joe Smith. The right-hander is in his second professional season and hasn't pitched above Double-A. But after Monday's perfect 1 1/3-inning outing in the Mets' 5-5, 11-inning tie with the Marlins, he still hasn't allowed a run in 5 1/3 innings and is in the running for a spot in the bullpen. (Newsday)
"He gave me a bad break on a ground ball to first. He's not moving quite like he used to. His reaction time's not real good. I was thinking, 'Just don't get hit with a bad hop.' I'd feel terrible." -- New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte commenting on seeing former teammate Don Mattingly play first base during Pettitte's simulation game. Mattingly was slow to react to a ground ball that got past him for a single. (Newsday)
"(This) just fulfills the scouting report we have on him. If this guy stays healthy, he'll play in the big leagues."
-- St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, discussing the two-hit day by former pitcher and current outfield prospect Rick Ankiel. (St. Louis Post Dispatch)
"It's a two-way street. If I pitch the way I'm capable of pitching, good things will happen with this team. I also realize
that if I go out there and throw competitively and throw consistently, good things will happen for me on this team."
-- St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Kip Wells, acknowledging the relationship between him and his new team. (St. Louis Post Dispatch)
"I am doing everything I can possibly think of to try and get it. The only thing I can do is go out there and pitch and try
and win it. It's not really up to me; it's what the coaches and managers think."
-- Chicago Cubs pitcher Wade Miller, who is competing for the final spot in the starting rotation with the Cubs. (Chicago Sun-Times)
"I like to play hard like that. I like to play the game right and hustle all the time."
-- Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano, explaining why he wanted to show off his bumps and bruises from a fall he took running the bases earlier this week. (Chicago Sun-Times)
"Being on the mound when the team comes out and everybody shakes hands, that's pretty cool. The fans are on their feet when
you get that second out. It's kind of a rush."
-- Pirates pitcher Sean Capps, who recorded his first Major League save against Colorado last July, describing the feeling a pitcher gets while in a save situation. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
"When I'm healthy, I'm as good as anyone here."
-- Pirates pitcher Sean Burnett, assessing his chances of breaking into the starting rotation in Pittsburgh. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
"This is where I want to be. I do want to see this organization win. When you've been through what we've been through, I want
to see this city win. I know this is a great city when you win. I know the fans are there and the passion's there. I want to
see that, I really do."
-- Baltimore second baseman Brian Roberts, who earlier this week signed a new deal that will keep him in Baltimore for three more seasons. (Baltimore Sun)
"You want people to remember you, so hopefully that will be the case after I retire. Hopefully 10 to 15 years from now,
people will say something positive about my career."
-- Minnesota pitcher Johan Santana, winner of the AL Cy Young Award in two of the past three seasons, on the legacy he hopes to leave. Santana turned 28 on Tuesday. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.