Here are some of the notable quotes from around Major League Baseball this week:
"I stopped eating ice cream. You go to rehab and they tell you, you're always going to substitute a habit with a different habit. Lucky me, I substituted alcohol with ice cream. I should have substituted with salad. It would have been much better."
-- Newly signed Texas Rangers pitcher Sidney Ponson, on what he did to drop some unwanted pounds after leaving rehab a few years ago. (MLB.com)
"I showed my first sign of aging today when I could not keep track of the outs. That worried me a little bit."
-- Indians pitcher Paul Byrd. Self-explanatory. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
"I had a thing for No. 8. I saw this man, Cal Ripken, play baseball on television. I loved the way he played, how he moved, how he hit. He always caught my attention, and I would tell my mother I wanted to play baseball like that No. 8."
-- Jorge Cantu, Marlins infielder, describing his hero Cal Ripken Jr.. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
"It wouldn't surprise me. It has been a long time coming. I've gotten looked past a few times, but there are only so many times they can pass you by before they realize they made a mistake."
-- Ted Lilly, Cubs pitcher, who expects to win an Oscar this year for his part in the documentary on the 2008 Cubs entitled "We Believe." (Chicago Tribune)
"You're going to hear rumors in Spring Training and around the trade deadline. I probably would be kidding you if I didn't think about it a little bit. It's not something that really impacts what I do. I can't control it, so I don't worry about it too much."
-- Mark Loretta, Houston infielder, commenting on being part of trade rumors with Baltimore, who sent scouts to watch the Astros play on Monday. Loretta went 1-for-3. (Houston Chronicle)
"They haven't told me anything and I haven't really tried to find out. I'm just doing what I do -- trying to get ground balls. Hopefully, it'll be enough to convince them I should get a spot."
-- Toronto pitcher Brandon League on where he stands in his battle for a spot in the bullpen to start the season. League missed most of last season because of a mysterious muscular imbalance that cost him his velocity, his mechanics and his season after compiling a 2.52 ERA in 36 innings after the 2006 All-Star break. (Toronto Star)
"I've still got to get myself in shape and get ready for the season. Spring competitions are tough because you're trying to win a job, but you don't want to blow out your season by coming in and trying to blow through the spring."
-- Milwaukee pitcher Dave Bush on trying to get ready for the season while also competing for a spot in the starting rotation. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
"I'm getting down the line better. The difference between a .250 hitter and .300 hitter isn't that many hits, and I'd like to try to sneak some of those out."
-- Conor Jackson, Arizona first baseman on increasing his speed this offseason. Jackson said he worked on his form, particularly on not dragging his legs and getting his knees higher. (Arizona Republic)
"Taking a shot is not like eating candy, so we don't want to play around with that. Hopefully we won't need any more."
-- Carlos Delgado on taking subsequent injections and how often they might be required. Delgado was diagnosed with a hip impingement after an MRI on March 1 and received an anti-inflammatory shot for the condition that day in New York. (Newsday)
"If I would have had as much progress from yesterday to today as I had from the first day to the second day, I wouldn't have ruled that out. We're just doing what we're saying, going day to day on how I feel. I pretty much have an interview with two or three doctors every day and I report to the manager or the pitching coach and my trainer. It's kind of numb right now. I've had like six or seven ice packs on it all day."
-- Josh Beckett on his chances of being able to pitch for the Red Sox in Japan where they start the season against Oakland. Beckett suffered lowered back spasms Monday that may force him to miss the trip. (Boston Herald)
"I feel like I definitely paid some dues. I think I've been sent up and sent down seven times in the last three years. I've played on the USA team at the international level. I've been around and gotten my fair share of baseball. I feel I can compete here."
-- Skip Schumaker, Cardinals outfielder, who is in a fierce competition to make himself fit into a very crowded St. Louis outfield. (St. Louis Post Dispatch)
"I don't know what it is -- you get closer and closer to the season and it becomes more real. If you've been trying to get to this point your entire career, who wouldn't get a little pep in their step?"
-- Brian Barton, Cardinals outfielder, who has shown a tendency this spring to take an extra base or show a little extra hustle in his efforts to make the team. (St. Louis Post Dispatch)
"I mean, you can see the roster. You've got to believe there's going to be moves made. There has to be."
-- Mark DeRosa, Cubs second baseman, commenting on the uncertainty of the Cubs current roster. (Chicago Sun-Times)
"I own Ryan Howard. I have the edge. Go over and ask him. He's, like, 6-feet-9 and I'm, like, 5-feet-1, but he knows. I think he's got one hit off me, maybe two."
-- Ian Snell, Pirates pitcher and a friendly rival of Ryan Howard, who has held Howard to one hit in 13 Major League plate appearances -- including six strikeouts and two walks. But Snell is actually 5-foot-11 while Howard is actually 6-foot-4. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
"Hopefully, I take some lumps and get it out of the way before the season starts."
-- George Sherrill, Orioles reliever, commenting on his strong numbers this spring. Normally, he says, he has an ERA in the double-digits at this time of year, not the sub-2.00 numbers he had through Tuesday. (Washington Post)
"He always hit when he caught me, so I didn't care about anything else. I liked his bat in the lineup."
--Braves pitcher Tom Glavine on his feelings about Javy Lopez being the starting catcher both then and now. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
"I don't think Manny's going to call me in there and tell me that my haircut looks good."
--Nationals pitching prospect Garrett Mock on being told that manager Manny Acta wanted to see him in his office. Mock was called in to get the news that he was being sent to the Minors. (Washington Post)
"I guess you can't say it's as bad as finding out about somebody dying, but it's kind of a shock. You don't believe it at first. I just got hit with a baseball, you know? It wasn't that big of a deal."
-- Andy LaRoche, Dodgers third baseman, reacting to the news that he needs surgery to repair a torn ligament in his thumb and will miss a minimum of eight weeks after getting hit by a deflected pickoff throw. (Los Angeles Times)
"Is it frustrating now? Absolutely, but I think I'm having good at-bats. Sometimes I'm a little early, sometimes I'm a little late, and sometimes it's in-between. I'm working on consistency, trying to get that going. Results-wise, I'm not worried about how I feel day in and day out."
-- Giants first baseman Dan Ortmeier on starting Spring Training 6-for-26 start with eight strikeouts while attempting to win the starting first base job. (San Francisco Chronicle)
"My first day of camp, Derrick Turnbow shows up and he's throwing 100 mph. I'd never seen 100. I'd never even seen 93. I was just a little Aussie kid. It was an eye-opening experience."
--Angels pitcher Rich Thompson on his first exposure to Major League Baseball as a 17-year old from Australia. (Los Angeles Times)
"I'm more of a doubles guy. I don't know what happened last year; I hit a few home runs. Maybe this is the time of my career I'll change. I don't know."
--A's first baseman Daric Barton on averaging a home run every 18 at-bats after a September promotion last year. He averaged a homer every 40 at-bats in the Minor Leagues. (San Francisco Chronicle)
"I'm very thankful that people, when I'm not hitting, care so much about this. It's something that makes me very grateful." -- Ichiro Suzuki on fan reaction to him opening Spring Training by going 0-for-21. (Seattle Times)
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.