Here are some of the notable quotes from around Major League Baseball this week:
"It's always an audition for me. It's an audition for me my whole career. That's why I get nervous. It's crucial for me. I put a lot of pressure on myself, but it's part of the game."
-- St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Randy Keisler, who allowed two runs in six innings against the Pirates on Tuesday. In the Cardinals' 3-2, 12-inning win over Pittsburgh, Keisler was working in place of Chris Carpenter, who is out with a swollen elbow. (St. Louis Post Dispatch)
"I didn't realize that I was trotting for a home run until I touched second base. It happened so fast. I didn't take my time. But that's the way I always do."
-- Cincinnati Reds center fielder Josh Hamilton, who hit a home run on Tuesday night against Arizona -- his first home run since June 29, 2002, when he was with Single-A Bakersfield. It was also his first Major League hit. (Cincinnati Enquirer)
"When I'm on the mound now, I'm confident that if I do what I want to do, it'll work more often than not. Just being around the game more, you learn a lot more. I know what a good pitch is now. Before, I didn't really know. I'd just throw to the catcher's glove. I'd have good location, but I wouldn't really know what a good pitch was."
-- Kansas City Royals pitcher Zack Greinke, on the benefits of being a year older and a year wiser as a Major League pitcher. (Kansas City Star)
"It's just baseball, man. To me, it's the same whether I'm pitching in the eighth or the ninth inning. If I'm throwing my pitches the way I want, I'm going to be pretty good."
-- Kansas City Royals pitcher Joakim Soria, after picking up his first career save on Tuesday night in the Royals' 6-3 win over Toronto. (Kansas City Star)
"He is my favorite player. When Polanco is going good, this team is going good. And when he got hurt last year -- that was a left hook that put us back on our heels a little bit."
-- Detroit pitcher Nate Robertson, on teammate Placido Polanco. (Detroit Free Press)
"I got 40 text messages later from friends and family. Some good, some bad, some laughing."
-- Baltimore Orioles first baseman Kevin Millar, keeping count of the reaction he received after doing a little dance during pregame introductions during Monday's home opener. (Baltimore Sun)
"He was kinda in and out of a groove. There's very few guys in the game who can live off a fastball. He's one of them. When he's got everything working, he dominates."
-- Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons describing A.J. Burnett's outing Monday night against Kansas City in the Blue Jays' home opener. (Toronto Star)
"I just think we have the confidence that we are going to pull it out if it's a close game. And that starts before the game, because we've got so many guys here pulling for one another."
-- San Diego Padres second baseman Marcus Giles, commenting on the team's belief that it will win any close game. The Padres beat San Francisco, 1-0, Monday night, their third straight one-run victory. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
"I look at it that I'm playing baseball, and that's what I want to do. This is not about me. It's about winning as a team. If this is the role I'm best suited for, and it helps the team win, then it's the role I want to have. I want to be part of our success."
-- Colorado's Jeff Baker on his role of being the team's utilityman this season and not an everyday player. (Rocky Mountain News)
"But that's no fun, you know. I was dying a slow death. When I was in Spring Training, starting every fifth day, I was dying a slow death. Once I got a taste of what it was like last year, closing a lead, there was no turning back."
-- Boston Red Sox pitcher Jonathan Papelbon, on why he prefers to be a closer instead of a starter. (Boston Globe)
"It was different. It was electric. Opening Day for my sixth team. Kind of crazy out there, you know? At one point, it was so exciting and the fans were getting so loud. You know when you don't win, you're going to get booed, but when you win or you have a rally going, you'll hear the cheers."
-- New York Mets left fielder Moises Alou on experiencing the Mets' home opener in front of 56,227 fans at Shea Stadium Monday. (Newsday)
"Sometimes it feels like yesterday. Sometimes it feels like a long time ago."
-- New York Yankees pitcher Carl Pavano commenting on recording his first win in 23 months as he helped New York defeated Minnesota 8-2 Monday night. (Newsday)
"I was like, 'Is this 'Enter Sandman' they're playing here?" Oh my God, I can't believe they did that. I did not tell anybody to put that, OK. ... Everybody on their team was probably like, what the hell is this guy doing?."
-- Marlins pitcher Henry Owens, referring to the Marlins playing the Metallica tune to which Mariano Rivera and Billy Wagner make their entrance prior to the rookie's entrance in his first save opportunity. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
"It's because I'm getting pitches, and I'm swinging at the pitches that I want to hit. I'm not going after all that [offspeed] stuff that they flip up there. It's finally being able to get that pitch and doing something with it, instead of fouling it off."
-- Nationals outfielderRyan Church on how he has shook off a slow start in Spring Training to be the team's hottest hitter. Six of his first eight hits went for extra bases . (Washington Post)
"It's just luck. You go out there and the ball falls differently against that team. They're hitting balls right at people."
-- Dodgers pitcher Brad Pennyon his 11-2 lifetime record versus the Rockies. Penny pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings against Colorado Wednesday night. (Los Angeles Times)
"Play hard to win, baby. That's all you can do. I didn't want to hurt ol' Gillie, but I didn't want him to get the throw off. We've got to get every run we can get."
-- Giants outfielder Ryan Klesko on his hard slide into Padres second baseman Marcus Giles to break up a double play, which allowed a run to score in Tuesday's 6-5 win. (San Francisco Chronicle)
"They were close (pitches). Sometimes you get those calls, sometimes you don't. Jason (Kendall) thought they were close. That's part of the game; you've got to come back and make better pitches. I wouldn't say they were bad calls. They were just his calls at the time. I'm more surprised A.J. (didn't swing). Obviously, those were two pretty good takes on his part."
-- A's reliever Huston Street refusing to blame the umpires and instead credit White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski for a big walk that led to a three-run ninth inning in Chicago's 6-3 win. (San Francisco Chronicle)
"It's a real nice ring. It's too bad last year we couldn't win it all. I'm very thankful for it and very thankful to my teammates for getting that for me."
-- Baltimore reliever Jamie Walker, who received his American League Championship ring this week when the Orioles faced the Tigers. Walker was a key cog in the 2006 Tigers championship run. (Washington Post)
"You feel like you can catch everything at that point. In the seventh, it got to where, 'OK, anything hit, I'm going to run out to right field to get it.' And if you can't get it, at least make it look like an error. Anything you can do to keep it alive."
-- Mariners first baseman Richie Sexson on the team's thoughts as pitcher Felix Hernandez carried a no-hitter into the late innings. Hernandez allowed just a clean single to J.D. Drew in the eighth inning in the Mariners' 3-0 win over the Red Sox Wednesday night. (Seattle Times)
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.