Here are some of the notable quotes from around Major League Baseball over the last week:
04/10/2008 1:44 PM ET
On Jackie, the Derby and fast starts
Gathright gains inspiration from Jackie Robinson
"For me, Jackie Robinson is the first black man I ever heard speak proper English and seem well-educated, so he did a lot for me. He let me know there was a lot more out there in the world than just living in Mississippi in the woods. He brought baseball to me, was able to speak as a black man to me -- a lot of things. It was the way he was, and I respected him a lot."
-- Kansas City Royals outfielder Joey Gathright, on his reasoning for wanting to wear retired uniform No. 42 on April 15 to honor Jackie Robinson.
"It's definitely better for me and my family to be able to go out there at this level where it actually counts. It's the first of I hope many games here."
-- Jose Cruz Jr. on playing his first home game for the Astros, the team his father, Jose Cruz, starred for in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
"Mike Cameron is a hell of a ballplayer. But this lineup is the kind of lineup that can have a few missing people and still be successful. It's that deep."
-- Gabe Kapler on the depth of the Brewers' outfield as Tony Gwynn Jr., Gabe Gross and Kapler have shined while filling in for Mike Cameron in center field. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
"Everyone in here knows what's going on. If they have any questions, they feel free to come up and ask me. I have no problem talking about it. They are all treating me the same."
-- Doug Davis commenting on interaction with his teammates prior to surgery Thursday for thyroid cancer. He was expected to miss four to six weeks. He made his first two starts of the season, despite learning of his cancer just days before his first start.. (East Valley Tribune)
"I just said it in a way where last year Jimmy said it and it worked for them, and I just was messing around. But, at the same time, I do believe that as a team we feel we are the team. I think everyone knows it here. If we don't think that way, then what are we here for? We're here to win a division. We're here to win a championship. I think we all know that."
-- Carlos Beltran repeating an earlier statement this spring that he believes the Mets are the team to beat in the National League East this season. (New York Daily News)
"Once the main structure was up last year, you could see a difference in the wind patterns. The ball was carrying more. The wind wasn't blowing quite as much in. It certainly was playing a little more hitter-friendly. Balls you saw before that were decently hit that would usually be caught were carrying a little more and either being in the gap or carrying out of the ballpark. Balls to center, the big scoreboard there kind of blocks some of the wind. But you're not getting even as much of the crosswinds that hurt ball flights."
-- Aaron Heilman discussing the effects that Citi Field, the Mets' new home starting next season that is being built beyond the left field wall at Shea Stadium, is having on fly balls at Shea. (New York Daily News)
"I suppose it's kind of neat. I guess if you play long enough, you get lucky and come up on some names everyone knows."
-- Mike Mussina on winning his 251st game Monday night, moving into a tie for 42nd with Bob Gibson on the all-time list. (Newsday)
"He's probably the best player I've ever had a chance to pitch to. You'd worry about the eight other guys, because you know you're going to walk Barry.
"He was easily the best in the last 20 years, no question."
-- Greg Maddux on former Giants left fielder Barry Bonds, whom Maddux didn't have to face in his start on Monday in his start against San Francisco. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
"I'm glad things have started well for the team, but as far as my personal situation goes, I'd really rather not say a whole lot. I don't want to say I'm happy about what's gone on because it's such a small sampling. If you don't mind, I'd rather wait awhile."
-- Randy Flores, who prefers not to get too caught up in his early-season success with the Cardinals. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
"It's very impressive what he's doing right away. It's not easy to play this game when you're not comfortable. And I know he's not comfortable because he is in the first year in the United States."
-- Alfonso Soriano, noting that teammate Kosuke Fukudome has thus far adapted very well to moving from Japan to the United States. (Chicago Sun-Times)
"We had six last year? It didn't feel like it."
-- Aubrey Huff, after learning that the six-game winning streak the Orioles enjoyed early this season happened only twice in 2007.
"It felt like maybe I had a magnet on me today. But it's part of baseball. It worked out for us."
-- Chase Utley, after he was hit by a thrown ball and was thrice hit by pitched balls in the Phillies win over the Mets on Tuesday. (Philadelphia Daily News)
"I'm honored to have that streak for so long."
-- Placido Polanco, after his streak of 186 games without an error was snapped on Tuesday on an errant relay throw against the Red Sox.
(Detroit Free Press)
"Watch him in the field. He catches the ball and he throws it and he takes off running for four or five steps, not really going anywhere, just running. The other day when I got him his first [Major League] at-bat, his helmet was in one place, his bat was all the way down at the end of the dugout and his gloves were in the middle. I told him to hit and he went by me three times. I said, 'You're on deck. You're hitting right now,' and he was still looking for his equipment. That's not normal. So he's fun."
-- Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, on young infielder Matt Tolbert. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
"He's as tough a hitter as there is out there. I just happened to make three perfect pitches when I needed to. We chalked it up today. He might get me next time."
-- Brian Bannister, after striking out Alex Rodriguez three times on Tuesday. (MLB.com)
"You're going to play a lot more close games than you are blowouts. One way or another, you've got to figure out ways to, if you're a reliever, get the big out. If you're a starter, get big outs. If you're a [position] player, you've got to make the play or have good at-bats late in games to be able to put pressure on the other team.
"And up until this point, we haven't gotten the job done, one way or another -- whether it be offensively or defensively, pitching, whatever. That has to change, because certainly our aspirations are certainly to be a playoff team. And in the playoffs you're going to have to win those games."
-- Chipper Jones after the team lost for the fifth straight time by one run. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
"I tried to [change it], but apparently we got kind of stuck. Sixty-six is what got me here, so hopefully it's what keeps me here. It's not about the number. I'll be 100 if they want me to."
--Marlins pitcher Blake Badenhop on being issued uniform No. 66 when he was recalled from Double-A. Badenhop wore number 31 in the Minors but 66 is the number he had in Spring Training. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
"Obviously it'd be a thrill to go to the Derby, but you don't want to hurt the horse. You want to make sure it's the right thing for the horse."
-- Paul Lo Duca on the possibility of Golden Spikes, a racehorse in which he owns a 40 percent stake, going to the Kentucky Derby. (Washington Post)
"He's going to be a superstar. He's destined for greatness. But every hitter, these kids here, the Uptons, the Youngs, the Howards, they've gone through what Matt's going through."
--Dodgers hitting coach Mike Easler on the early struggles of outfielder Matt Kemp. (Los Angeles Times)
"I told you guys from the get-go. I'm not a three-hitter, four-hitter or five-hitter. I'm just a hitter. I'm trying to hit the ball somewhere, and that's all I'm doing."
-- Bengie Molina after hitting the first walk-off home run of his career, which gave San Francisco a 3-2 win over San Diego in 11 innings Tuesday night -- from the cleanup spot. (San Francisco Chronicle)
"We realize how much he needs winter ball to prepare for the season. It's always been a positive, and I think it was last winter. Nothing he did over the winter affected what has happened now. In Spring Training, his left ankle was a non-issue."
--Angels manager Mike Scioscia dismissing speculation that a heavy workload in winter ball led to closer Francisco Rodriguez's ankle injury. (Los Angeles Times)
"It was a sense of relief, really. I wasn't myself the first week and a half of the season. ... I was just excited to get a chance to help."
--A's outfielder Travis Buck after ending an 0-for-22 streak to start the season with an RBI double in Tuesday's 9-8 win over the Blue Jays. (San Francisco Chronicle)
"Baserunning is not just stealing bases. Not being capable of stealing bases doesn't mean you don't go first to third [on a hit or run the bases aggressively.
"We've gotten the reputation as a little bit of an aggressive team. And we've got the reputation in the right way. We're an aggressive, smart baserunning team. We're not just station to station. And we're not helter-skelter, running with our heads cut off, either."
--Milwaukee Brewers manager Ned Yost on his team's aggressive style of play on the base paths. He encourages his team to try to take the extra base whenever possible and put pressure on the opposing defense. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
-- Red Line Editorial