Players look forward to Opening Day
Everyone is eagerly anticipating the start of the season
Here are some of the notable quotes from around Major League Baseball this week:
"I like it. It means I've got a big-league job. I've got to like it."
-- Rick Ankiel, commenting on the idea that he may be the Cardinals cleanup hitter more often than not this season. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
"I completely understand the situation. I've said it from Day One: Those guys have earned it just as much. I think it's a great situation that we're in. My hat's off to them. It was awesome for us to go through that, and I was really impressed by the work ethic of Jason [Marquis] and Ryan [Dempster] during this spring. They worked their tails off and deserve it just as much."
-- Chicago Cubs pitcher Jon Lieber, ever-gracious after learning that he'd be working out of the bullpen to start the season while teammates Jason Marquis and Ryan Dempster have earned spots in the starting rotation. (Chicago Tribune)
"I'm glad they gave me the opportunity to come back and get a shot at starting, and I'm glad I made the decision to go out there in good shape, with a healthy arm and pitching well."
-- Ryan Dempster, discussing the decision the Cubs made to put him in the starting rotation this season. (Chicago Tribune)
"I knew I was having a good spring, but you never know until you hear the news. I'm so happy."
-- Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Nate McLouth, after learning that he'd been named the Pirates' starting center fielder. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
"The bat was a little cold. She was definitely cold. But I pushed through it, kept working hard and, aww, man, this is so exciting."
-- Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Nyjer Morgan, after getting the news that he'd be with the team on Opening Day. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
"It kind of is out of my hands. The only thing I can do is go out there and perform and make it a tough decision. [The possibility of a trade] hasn't crossed my mind. I'm here. I love St. Louis. This is where I want to be. But that stuff is out of my hands. It's not really something I'm thinking about. I'm just doing the best where I can and making it real tough on them."
-- Anthony Reyes, who is competing for a job with the Cardinals, on whether he'll get that job as a starter, as a reliever, be sent to Triple-A Memphis or be traded, after pitching six shutout innings on Tuesday. (MLB.com)
"It fascinates me how the breeding works, how some are bred to run long, some short. They're a little bit like humans. They have personalities. Some have 'morning glory,' where they run good in the morning and can't do it at night. It's very intricate, and I love to study it, love to research it."
--Nationals catcher Paul Lo Duca on his love of picking horses that can run. (Washington Post)
"I have gotten beat on it a lot this spring. [But] I have to throw it to prove it. That's all you can do."
--Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley on trying to work a changeup into his repertoire this Spring. (Los Angeles Daily News)
"That's the longest ball I've ever hit in my whole entire career -- in batting practice, everything. I'm still surprised. It's so amazing to me."
-- Giants outfielder Fred Lewis after he hit a home run to dead center at Tucson Electric Park, where the fence is 405 feet from home plate and 40 feet tall. (San Francisco Chronicle)
"I said it when I got here -- I played seven years in the National League without a DH, and if I'm good enough to play the outfield, that's where I want to play. But I understand there's a guy in that office who has to make a lineup, and I'm not going to fight it."
-- Angels outfielder Vladimir Guerrero on serving as the team's designated hitter at times this season. (Los Angeles Times)
"Before the game, I said to Keith, 'Happy Opening Day after retirement,' It's awesome to see him back in uniform and competing again. That was the Keith I expected when the bell rings."
--A's pitcher Alan Embree on fellow reliever Keith Foulke returning to the game after sitting out the 2007 season. (San Francisco Chronicle)
"He's still sorting through it, his speeds and everything. I'm anxious to see him in San Francisco and heavy air and see how it affects his knuckleball. I really don't know how you can gauge him here because the inconsistencies have a lot to do with the thin air and all the other stuff."
-- Mariners manager John McLaren on how it is hard to judge knuckleballer R.A. Dickey in Spring Training in Arizona. (Seattle Times)
"My stuff was real good [Monday]. It was kind of a weird day out there. It started out kind of screwy on both sides, but I didn't shy away from what I was doing. I was throwing good pitches and they might have hit two balls hard all day.
"I felt like my stuff was great, even getting in the fifth in that 90-pitch range I felt my stuff was still good."
-- Houston pitcher Shawn Chacon on his final start of the spring Monday against Florida. (Houston Chronicle)
"It's tolerance at that point. It's definitely two weeks and probably a little longer, but I can't give you an exact date. I don't know how he'll respond to moving his hand and things like that. I don't want to give you a best-case or worst-case scenario because I really can't pinpoint it.
"The fracture isn't really the problem. It's just that when he ripped the nail off he took off another layer of skin, and it exposed the bone."
-- Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi on third baseman Scott Rolen, who mangled the middle finger of his right hand in a fielding mishap on Sunday and underwent surgery in Baltimore on Monday. A screw was inserted in the finger, which is also missing most of its nail. The screw will remain in Rolen's finger for 14 days, when a second surgery will be performed to remove it. (Toronto Globe and Mail)
"I wanted to remain a Yankee and for once I put my money where my mouth was. It felt good to make a decision on my own and execute it -- to deal with Hank and Hal [Steinbrenner] on a one-on-one basis and get a deal done. If people want to question why I did it, I don't care because it made me happy. If I had gone to Team X, Y or Z, it wouldn't have made me happy."
-- Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez talking about his decision to re-sign with the Yankees instead of another team this offseason after opting out of his contract. (New York Daily News)
"He's been great. I just watch him run the bases and I haven't seen him run like that in a long time. I think he's going to be able to help us a lot out there."
-- Yankees manager Joe Girardi on first baseman/designated hitter Jason Giambi, who has hit and run well this spring. (Newsday)
"[Jarrod Saltalamacchia] is 100 percent improved over last year. But Gerald [Laird] is better, too. [Saltalamacchia] is doing all the things he's supposed to do. We've got two pretty good Major League catchers on our hands and one tough decision."
-- Rangers manager Ron Washington on deciding who the starting catcher will be for Texas. (Dallas Morning News)
"Obviously I'd like it to be a little higher, but it is the first time to hitters. As I throw with this intensity and over and over it's going to increase. It was a first step in facing hitters. I can't sit and worry about velocity right now. It's going to be what it's going to be. But I do feel like there's more going to be coming out."
-- Cardinals pitcher Matt Clement, who is working on getting his velocity up as he prepares for his season to start, a season that the Cardinals say should begin for him in about a month, though no official timetable has been issued. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.