Here are some of the notable quotes from around Major League Baseball this week:
04/03/2008 6:19 PM ET
Guardado excited for 2008
"From the moment I walked into this clubhouse, I felt a sense of energy, a really good feeling. To me, everybody showing up is just part of that. I think we have something good here."
-- Eddie Guardado after everyone on the 25-man roster as well as the injured Luis Mendoza attended the Rangers' team dinner before the season opener. Guardado said the only other times he's seen perfect attendance at such a dinner was with the Twins in 2002 and 2003.
(Dallas Morning News)
"He's got such a good arm that my concern is coming in and throwing strikes. If he throws strikes, he might stay in against right-handers. I think initially what we'll try to do is get him in situations where he faces more left-handed hitters and let him get comfortable."
--Houston Astros manager Cecil Cooper on rookie left-handed reliever Wesley Wright, who made his Major League debut Monday night in San Diego.
"This is always an exciting time of the year. There are a lot of prognosticators and predictions and things like that, but baseball is such a funny sport. You just can't know until you start playing them for real, so I'm glad to get it started and really determine how we're going to be between the lines rather than in the media. Everybody looks at a team on paper and makes certain predictions or says there's holes here and there. While some of that might have merit, you just don't know until you play. The game always sorts itself out. And as a player, it's good to get back in action."
-- Lance Berkman on the start of the regular season.
"We just want to play good today. My focus and my attention is on today and today solely. You just play the games, give it your best effort and leave everything you have on the field. It's that simple. It's a long year and eight- and nine- and 10-game leads in June don't mean anything. As much as everybody wants to make a big deal of it, it doesn't mean a thing. You've got to be prepared for the marathon."
--Milwaukee Brewers manager Ned Yost on his approach to the season this year, noting that the team started 24-10 last year and still didn't make the playoffs.
(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
"It's exciting to make the team out of camp and be here. It's going to be an exciting day but the goal is to be here and stay here and help out the rest of the season."
-- Justin Upton on making the Opening Day roster for the Diamondbacks. Upton is one of five Arizona players who appeared in their first Opening Day, joining Mark Reynolds, Jeff Salazar, Alex Romero and Yusmeiro Petit.
"It feels good to finally get the word. When you've waited this late, everyone gets a little nervous."
--Reliever Joe Smith after learning he made the Mets' 25-man roster for Opening Day. Smith had a 6.43 ERA in 13 spring appearances, but said the poor numbers stemmed from tinkering with his delivery.
"I think part of what makes Brian Brian is he wants to play every single day. And he's proven over the years to be a very durable player and he matches the durability with good performance. (But) I think that as we move into the season I think it is wise at times to give guys a day off, especially some veteran players. ... It's not that we want guys out of the lineup, because he's one of our best players. But there are times when a guy gets a day off here or there and he does comes back fresher after a day off. That's what he's got to understand maybe 15 or 20 times this year."
--San Diego manager Bud Black on Padres outfielder Brian Giles, who is recovering from knee surgery performed last October. Black said he plans to rest Giles against some tough left-handers and when the team plays day games after night games.
(San Diego Union-Tribune)
"But I took a nap, got some medication and did a little begging of [manager Ron Washington]. I've played enough games in my life to be able to make whatever adjustments I needed to. I felt OK once I got on the field."
-- Ian Kinsler on playing Monday despite battling a 103-degree temperature during the day. He went 1-for-5 with three strikeouts as the leadoff man in the Rangers' 5-2 loss to Seattle.
(Dallas Morning News)
"At least I'll be able to feel my hands every at-bat. That's a nice change."
-- Craig Monroe, formerly of the Detroit Tigers and now with the Twins, contemplating playing early season home games in a dome.
(St. Paul Pioneer Press)
"There will be some things that I'll have to do before the game, some things I'll do less of, and there might be some things I won't be able to do every time."
-- Anthony Reyes, who had a lengthy preparation routine as a starter, discussing adjustments he'll make for working out of the Cardinals' bullpen.
(St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
"I don't know if he's going to be Ichiro. There aren't many guys like that. But he played good in Japan, put good numbers up and was an MVP if I'm not mistaken, so he can play."
-- Chicago Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez, talking about the potential of teammate Kosuke Fukudome.
-- Carlos Zambrano, who had to leave his start on Opening Day after experiencing cramps, on how to best avoid that problem in the future.
"If I got them out 1-2-3, I'd be giving people false hopes. 'This is what I do all the time.'"
-- Indians closer Joe Borowski, who's been know to work out of a jam.
(Akron beacon Journal)
"Knowing the team that we have and the lineup that we have, I shouldn't not be able to win 20 games if that happens."
-- Cole Hamels, who expects to win 20 games with the Phillies' strong lineup behind him.
(Philadelphia Daily News)
"I'm so messed up right now, I don't know what just happened. But can guarantee you this much: John Russell will never forget this game."
-- First baseman Adam LaRoche, after the Pirates defeated Atlanta in a wild affair on Opening Day, 12-11 in 12 innings. The game was the first for manager John Russell.
"I try to get guys swinging harder. ... That one's a slow one, really slow. The curveball is down so they can't put the bat on it."
-- Minnesota Twins pitcher Livan Hernandez, on working in pitches that register, on occasion, under 60 mph on the radar gun.
(St. Paul Pioneer Press)
"I'm sure I'll be a little bit nervous and a little bit anxious. I've got to get my emotions in check before I go to the mound. I'm looking forward to it."
--Braves pitcher Mike Hampton on making his first appearance in the Majors in over 2 ½ years, scheduled for Thursday night against the Pirates.
"For me, it's special. They're all exciting ...You play long enough, eventually you just wait your time out and stay ready. This was going to be the first time [as a backup] for me and eventually it will when Jeremy comes back."
-- Luis Gonzalez on making his 18th consecutive Opening Day start. Gonzalez did not figure to extend the streak when he signed with Florida but got the starting nod when Jeremy Hermida landed on the disabled list.
(South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
"This is a guy that's always had good jumps and angles on baseballs. You've seen him on pop-ups and fly balls. He's always been one of our better guys on that, so I think you could put Felipe at second, short, third, right, center, left and I think he could play any of those positions."<.BR>
--Nationals general manager Jim Bowden on having infielder Felipe Lopez shag balls in the outfield during batting practice.
"We've got four good outfielders, man. You can't go wrong with whoever's in the lineup. You have to deal with it."
--Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp on sitting out the second game of the season after starting on Opening Day.
(Los Angeles Times)
"I was hoping I wouldn't use him Opening Day. He's our long guy."
-- Giants manager Bruce Bochyafter using Keichi Yabu, who had not appeared in a Major League game since 2005.
(San Francisco Chronicle)
"Today I'm fighting, I'm getting [ticked] off for no reason. Not to my teammates or anybody on my side, but I don't want to speak to anybody, I'm growling at everybody, trying to make myself not approachable."
-- Torii Hunteron how he approached his return to Minnesota, where he played for parts of 11 seasons before signing with the Angels as a free agent this past off-season.
(Los Angeles Times)
"This is a game of averages. If you're a .280 hitter, you're a .280 hitter. If you're a .300 hitter, you're a .300 hitter. But for us, with the exception of a few people in here, we're still trying to find out where we're supposed to be situated in those averages. It's unpredictable for a lot of us, and we've got a lot of guys who can surprise you."
--A's pitcher Huston Streeton the unpredictable nature of the club after losing stars like Dan Haren and Nick Swisher in the off-season.
(San Francisco Chronicle)
"On an off-speed pitch, ideally, what you'd like to do is not have to try to add on. When you add on ... you end up grounding out or popping up. You just try to stay flat through the zone and not try to drive everyone in. You just try to play it one run at a time."
-- Raul Ibanez, explaining the approach he took when he drove in a run with a single on an off-speed pitch from Kevin Millwood with two runners on and no outs in the sixth inning.
-- Red Line Editorial