On pole vault knockouts and the Minors
Rolen's beanball, Torii's homecoming among top quotes
Here are some of the notable quotes from around Major League Baseball this week:
"Unless you want to count seventh-grade pole vault, because that knocked me out for three minutes -- that almost knocked me out. I was a little fuzzy for the first five or 10 seconds until I actually sat up."
- Scott Rolen, now on the Reds, acknowledging that the pitch that hit him in the head was the hardest he'd ever been hit in the head. (MLB.com)
"I think if you're a starting pitcher, if you have a certain ERA, you ought to be able to take away one inning per season. It doesn't dictate what kind of pitcher you are if you give up seven or five or whatever -- it's not fair. Just one inning, but you've got to have a 4.00 or below to have that option."
- Ryan Freel, then-Royals outfielder, mused recently. (MLB.com)
"Frasor's certainly done a good job down there as far as [closing]. You might mix League in there, too. Hopefully, we run into a situation where you have three or four nights in a row where you've got to save a game. If that's the case, then I'll have to throw somebody else in there, too."
- Toronto manager Cito Gaston, talking about using relievers Jason Frasor and Brandon League to replace the injured Scott Downs in the closer's role. (Toronto Star)
"I got off to a good start, hit the ball hard, hit the home run, hit some doubles. I hit balls to right field. I was working on my swing in that aspect. ... I got a lot of confidence back. My goal was to go down there and have fun."
- Bill Hall, Brewers versatile position player, commenting on the success he had during his brief stint at Triple-A Nashville. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
"I'm fighting for Arkansas. I could play in front of my home-state fans, have a good time and work on some things. The last time I played there was 1993. It would definitely be cool."
- Torii Hunter lobbying the Angels to let him do a rehab stint in his home state of Arkansas with the Double-A Travelers. (Los Angeles Times)
"In my mind, that's my plan. That's my target, and I'm doing everything possible to accomplish that. Today was a good day for me, honestly, ... because I was able to go out and move around, and that gave me confidence to continue to improve and to do a little bit more every single day."
- Carlos Beltran, talking about his hopeful return to the club in mid-August after taking some fly balls in the outfield on Monday. Beltran has been out since June 22 with a bone bruise behind his right knee. (New York Daily News)
"He played great defense. The plays that he made early on in the game were just great defensive plays. He just gives us so much flexibility with what we can do with him. He's a big piece for us."
-Yankees manager Joe Girardi, talking about new weapon Jerry Hairston Jr., whom the Yankees acquired from Cincinnati before the trade deadline. (Newsday)
"I'm seeing the ball, seeing where I want to throw it, and I'm finishing the pitch. That's just something I didn't have in the first half."
- Scott Kazmir, Rays left-handed pitcher, talking about his improvement after making some changes to his mechanics. (St. Petersburg Times)
"I'm just depressed that this isn't progressing the way I want it to progress. I'm throwing, playing catch. There are different symptoms now. I've got zero strength in my left calf due to the nerve. I'm just waiting for it to get better.
"I don't even know where this came from. I woke up with a little pain, and the next thing I know I can't walk down the street. When you saw me limping around in Texas, it was my hamstring killing me. I couldn't walk more than 20 feet without it bothering me. That slowly subsided, and now it's gone down to my calf and the back of my knee. When I walk, my left foot goes back, but I can't push off."
- Tim Wakefield, talking about his battle with sciatica. (Boston Herald)
"The best thing is to finally be able to hit the ball like I'm capable of hitting it. I had a really tough stretch after an injury. It took forever for me to get my timing and my strike-zone judgment back."
- Ryan Ludwick, after being named the National League Player of the Month for July. For the month, he batted .340 with six home runs and 28 RBIs. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
"It was great. It shows how big this team is, having more fans here than the home team. It's definitely a different feeling, coming from where I came from. It was something I'll remember for a while."
- Tom Gorzelanny after getting an ovation while coming off the mound in his debut as a member of the Cubs -- in Cincinnati -- on Tuesday night. (Chicago Tribune)
"Baseball seems to be a rhythm-confidence sport. You get a little confidence and a little rhythm going, you can keep it up for a long period of time."
- Trevor Crowe, on the benefit of knowing he will play every day -- or almost every day -- in the Cleveland outfield. (MLB.com)
"I'm not going to lie; I was pretty nervous out there. I was definitely a little bit nervous, but, once I got that first strike across to that first hitter, I relaxed a little bit."
- Brian Matusz, Orioles rookie, after allowing just one run in five innings in his Major League debut and picking up the win in an 8-2 win over the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night. (Baltimore Sun)
"The more spots you can play, I guess, would be to your advantage."
- Brendan Harris, Twins infielder, who is learning to play in as many positions as possible in order to maximize his playing time. ( MLB.com)
"I had the shoulder problem early in the year, and I think that was the main thing. It's good now. I feel like I can go out there and perform and be healthy. These guys have done a good job keeping me in a place where I can play. I'm happy with the way my body is now."
- Aaron Miles, Cubs infielder, who is just off of the disabled list after missing several weeks with a hyperextended right elbow. (MLB.com)
"I still get dismissed. Still, people doubt me. I was the Boston championship shortstop, and still people doubt me. I got drafted in the 43rd round and nobody thought I was going to make it to the big leagues. Still, I got 10 years in the big leagues. ... That has been the same for my whole career. People doubt me. I prove them wrong."
- Julio Lugo, now an infielder for the Cardinals, on the skeptics. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
"No, because I've been pretty comfortable in the places I've been [traded to], especially coming back here around these clowns."
- Adam LaRoche, sitting next to Brian McCann, on his recent hot streak despite two trades in less than a month. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
"It doesn't matter how mentally tough you are or how long you've been doing it. If you fail at something, you're going to think about it, but I think about it as how I can better myself."
- Wes Helms, Marlins corner infielder, on how he approaches pinch-hitting. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
"My God, I'm in heaven right now."
- Jorge Padilla, Nationals outfielder, on finally making the Majors after spending 12 seasons in the Minors. (Washington Post)
"It felt great. I haven't felt that way in awhile. Every time I've been hitting the ball, I feel like I've got 14 guys out there catching them, and I'm facing two or three pitchers at a time. It hasn't been fun for me.
"Hopefully all my hits are being saved for the end of the season."
- Bengie Molina, Giants catcher, on breaking out of a slump with a three-hit, two-RBI game Tuesday night against the Astros. (San Francisco Chronicle)
"The biggest thing for me tonight was getting out of that inning with one run. It's been our biggest downfall: having those big innings. It's been big for my confidence giving the team a chance to win every time. That's what I want to be known as, the type of guy who keeps their team in the game." - Brett Anderson, A's starter, on allowing just one run from a bases loaded, no-out situation on Monday night in a game Oakland eventually won, 3-2. (San Francisco Chronicle)
"I remember he told me he thought I could make it to the Major Leagues based on my defense. I was stunned. I mean, I never imagined I'd make it to the Major Leagues, even then. My goal was to just to play professionally in the Minors as long as I could."
- Jack Wilson, the Mariners' new shortstop, on encouragement he received in the Minors from then-Pirates batting coach Lloyd McClendon. (Seattle Times)
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.