Here are some of the notable quotes from around Major League Baseball this week:
"A lot of people say it's a good story. To me, it's the story of another pitcher, like hundreds of other guys who get ready for the season, love to play and love to win. The biggest difference is that I signed a big contract two years ago for a lot of money. ... To me, it's not about that. It's about my desire to play. For anyone to say I've done something out of the ordinary, I don't understand." -- Giants pitcher Russ Ortiz on making the team's starting rotation after being released last year by the Diamondbacks. (San Francisco Chronicle)
"Dale Murphy, lot of things about him remind me of Dale. Strong arm. Always upbeat. Very aggressive at the plate -- ultra aggressive. You'd rather it be that way than [too passive]. I said, 'This is another Dale Murphy.' He may be more aggressive than Dale. But Dale was aggressive in a quiet way. I can certainly see them having similar careers." -- Longtime Braves coach Bobby Dews on his initial impression when he first met Jeff Francoeur. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
"I like everything about him. The way he can defend, the way he handles the bat. I think he is going to be a good one." -- Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez on rookie center fielder Alejandro De Aza, who won the Opening Day nod. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
"He's pitched better than we'd ever seen him before. When you find arms like that and the way pitching is nowadays where everybody's looking for those type of arms, I think you've got to hold on to this one. We're happy to keep him." -- Nationals manager Manny Acta on how non-roster invitee Jesus Colome made the team's roster. (Washington Times)
"That's a vast improvement, I think. That might be our biggest strength." -- Dodgers manager Grady Little on the addition of Jason Schmidt and Randy Wolf to the team's starting rotation. (Los Angeles Times)
"I've been working on it all spring and throwing it for strikes. I think I have a pretty good third pitch now. Hopefully, I'll mix it in more during the season." -- Angels pitcher Francisco Rodriguez on the 82 mph changeup he threw during a Minor League game. Rodriguez is known for his mid-90s fastball and hard slider. (Los Angeles Times)
"I got plenty of rest. But it's not easy taking years off, especially from the Major Leagues. The hitting was the hardest part, getting back your timing and vision, but you've just got to try to hit the ball good. I'm trying the best I can.'" -- Shortstop Rey Ordonez a former three-time Gold Glove Award winner, trying to re-start his career with the Mariners this year. (Seattle Times)
"I'm happy that they're showing that confidence in me. Believe me, I'll be ready when the lights come on. Everything will be working. I'm going to get guys out." -- Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Tom Gorzelanny on his outlook for the 2007 campaign. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
"It's my first chance to be in an atmosphere like this. I'm relishing the opportunity to go out and have a lot of fun." -- Speedy Reds outfielder Drew Stubbs, who is enjoying every second of his time in the Reds Major League camp this spring. (Cincinnati Enquirer)
"It has been the most amazing feeling. I feel like I'm reborn. I feel like I've got a brand-new arm. I think I'm throwing harder than I did before. And it feels so easy. I just thank God, because I never thought I would feel like this again. I'm ready to help the Kansas City Royals win some games now. You can tell all the fans in Kansas City that I can't wait to get there. I'm so thankful to this organization. They're going to be happy they gave me this chance." -- Kansas City closer Octavio Dotel, who missed 15 months after having undergone Tommy John surgery, on how great he has felt this spring. (Kansas City Star)
"Some of the holes bothered me. They weren't set up quite right." -- Cleveland Indians slugger Travis Hafner, on some problems he had recently on a mini-golf course. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
"It's always good if you have a good spring and you can carry it right to the season. At the same time, I don't even know what I'm hitting. Quality at-bats -- that's what you want to have. I feel comfortable. You don't want to go into the season worrying that your swing is not right." -- St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, echoing the sentiments of many veteran players who don't worry a lot about what their batting is during the month of March. (St. Louis Post Dispatch)
"He's the best hitting coach I've ever had. He's the one who got me up here. I have to trust him. He's what got me to the big leagues. I definitely have all the confidence in the world in him." -- Cincinnati outfielder Adam Dunn, on working with hitting coach Brook Jacoby. (Cincinnati Post)
"It shows you how crazy he is. He's a gamer. You don't see too many guys go head-first into the wall in Spring Training. It shows he doesn't take plays off, no matter what. You can't knock any sense into him apparently." -- Cincinnati Reds pitcher Kyle Lohse, giving his thoughts on teammate Ryan Freel. On Tuesday, Freel went barreling into a wall in a Spring Training game to make a spectacular catch. (Cincinnati Post)
"I was joking with some guys this morning about being nine innings scoreless, then gave up back-to-back bombs. I was waiting for the third one to happen. My cousin is going to rip me now all the way home about the fact that Andruw (Jones) took me deep, Chipper (Jones) nearly did and (Brian) McCann took me way deep. If I show up tomorrow with a blue hand, you know what happened." -- Detroit pitcher Joel Zumaya, who had not allowed a run all spring until getting a bit roughed up by the Braves on Tuesday. (Detroit News)
"Everybody confuses a players' manager with a guy who lets the animals run the zoo. Wash makes it fun, but he's a very intense guy, too. He knows how to split it right down the middle. I don't know how he does it."
-- Texas Rangers shortstop Michael Young explaining manager Ron Washington's style of running the club. (Dallas Morning News)
"I think he was like my father. He taught me a lot. He said good things. He put my head up."
-- Pitcher Ezequiel Astacio on how important Round Rock (Triple-A) pitching coach Burt Hooton has been to his career. Astacio was claimed by the Texas Rangers Monday after the Houston Astros tried to pass Astacio through waivers. (Houston Chronicle)
"He's a very good defender in the outfield. He can bunt if you need a bunt. He's a good guy to lead off an inning if a pitcher's coming up (to bat) in the eighth or ninth inning. He's a guy who can pinch-run late in the game if you need it."
-- Milwaukee manager Ned Yost on the strengths of outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr., who is competing for one of the final roster spots with the Brewers as the regular season approaches. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
"It don't matter, really. It's a good season when we win. I mean, that's the bottom line. After other seasons, you go home early."
-- New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter explaining how the seasons in which he helped lead the Yankees four World Series titles in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000 as his best years, not last season when he .343, drove in 97 runs, scored 118 runs and stole 34 bases while hitting .381 with runners in scoring position, ranking third in the American League. (Newsday)
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.