Here are some of the notable quotes from around Major League Baseball this week:
"I find that quality very strong in Ichiro. He can actually report on his own internal feelings in an accurate language. It's very unbelievable. Even if he can't describe it in words, he has a very good idea about how he's feeling in a particular situation. For example, in batting, if he doesn't do well, he remembers how he felt at that particular instance so that he can reflect on it later and compare it with the feelings he had when he was doing well, so he can make this very fine adjustment to improve his performance.
"In order to do that, you need to have these metacognitive abilities, and that is actually carried by the prefrontal cortex in your brain."
-- Dr. Kenichiro Mogi, a celebrity brain specialist in Japan, on what makes Ichiro Suzuki different from other athletes. (Seattle Times)
"The regular season is about winning and results. Spring Training is all about the preparation. My goal each day is to be exhausted by the time the game starts at 1:00. The game is just a small part of it here."
-- Alex Rodriguez downplaying his strong spring showing so far. He's hit .500 and has a 1.571 on-base plus slugging percentage (Newsday)
"It's different. I've never gone through this before, so I don't know what to expect. I didn't feel as good as I did the first time out, but I had to battle through it. You don't want to do anything stupid and try to be a hero in the middle of Spring Training. But now's the time, if you're going to break with the team, where you have to go out and get some people out."
-- B.J. Ryan on the soreness he felt after his second outing of the spring. Ryan is coming back from surgery that cut his season short last year. (Toronto Star)
"I think we all think of him as a starter. I'm pushing for him to stay a starter. I would pretty much say that's going to be the case.
"We all like him as a starter. But we all want him on the team, too. We still have discussions that we have to go through, but he's a starter for me. My mind can be changed if it makes sense, but I don't really foresee it happening."
-- Milwaukee manager Ned Yost on pitcher Carlos Villanueva, who is competing for a spot in the starting rotation after earning a job with the Brewers last year as a reliever. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
"If I'm able to do what I just did -- go pitch, come out healthy, not even ice my arm -- it's very encouraging. That's what I want to do all season. If I'm able to do that, you're going to see good results and you're going to see a happy camper out there all year."
-- Pedro Martinez on his start against Detroit this past weekend -- a four-inning, 58-pitch outing in which his fastball was clocked as high as 91 mph and his breaking ball had bite. (Newsday)
"I looked up and it was kind of on top of me, so I couldn't try to get out of the way. I covered my face a little bit, and that's when I got it on my right arm. ... It was a lot more blood than I cared to see, but it's all right."
-- Carlos Delgado commenting on the incident that required four stitches to close a bloody gash on his right forearm after he was speared by Brady Clark's broken bat Sunday. (Newsday)
"I thought Geary was sharp. It was the first time today he was really down in the zone consistently. He looked ready to take charge. Today was really good. He had two really good innings and was sharp.
"I like what I saw from Houston. He threw the ball aggressively and had a good split. Carlos Hines sucked it up at the end and threw some good sliders that got out of a jam [in the ninth]. He's been pretty impressive."
-- Houston manager Cecil Cooper commenting about relievers Geoff Geary, Ryan Houston and Carlos Hines. Geary threw two scoreless innings while Houston and Hines each threw a scoreless inning. (Houston Chronicle)
"I've been throwing a lot of two-seamers into righties, and [catcher Dusty Brown] said it was really, really good today. I've been working on it since I got up to Boston. Every time I would throw it to [Jason Varitek], he was calling a lot of two-seamers. I threw more two-seamers in that first inning than I had all year in the Minors. It was a little bit of a change for me, but I have a really good feel for the two-seam fastball into right-handers right now. Overall, I felt really good."
-- Boston pitcher Clay Buchholz after throwing 53 pitches in the Sox' Triple-A game against Pittsburgh Pirates Minor Leaguers this weekend. He threw first-pitch strikes to nine of the 15 batters he faced. (Boston Herald)
"I'd like to give more high fives this year, but it's hard when you haven't won with guys. They look at you different. You have that respect, and the relationships are stronger when you win with them. That's just how it is. I'd love to have that relationship with these guys in here. That's amazing. When you help each other win, that's what builds respect."
-- St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Adam Kennedy on relating to his teammates. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
"The catchers know what I'm comfortable throwing. That's a big thing. It makes me less frustrated because the catcher knows what I want to throw. My teammates understand how I pitch as well. I feel very comfortable that way."
-- Cleveland pitcher Masa Kobayashi, through interpreter/trainer Toshi Nagahara, who is working on adapting to life in the United States in his first year with the Indians. A native of Japan, Kobayashi is anxious to get to know his catchers -- and for his catchers to know him -- as quickly as possible. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
"I don't like to guess, and I don't want to know what's coming. Like some guys, I just want to be able to react to a pitch, to look in a zone, like everyone does."
-- Grady Sizemore, describing how he likes to approach an at-bat. (Akron Beacon Journal)
"It's definitely a lot more comforting and exciting, too. You know where you're going to be and you know what you're going to be doing, and you can focus on that rather than try to make a team. It's a lot easier playing."
-- Ryan Theriot, who a year ago was not sure he'd even make the Cubs, on his increased comfort level this season. (MLB.com)
"It feels good. I think any short reliever wants to be a closer, wants to be the go-to guy. I think we're going to have a really special bullpen, so I think anybody in this bullpen is going to be good and could close. But to be named the one, that's pretty special."
-- George Sherrill, one of the five players acquired from Seattle in the offseason for pitcher Erik Bedard, on the announcement that he'll be the Orioles' closer this season. (MLB.com)
"I know my role now. I've just got to prepare myself like I'm going to play every day. I talked to a lot of veteran guys. Like they said, it's not easy, but you know your role, so you've just go to work hard at it and try to do the best you can when you get out there. Coming up in the Minor Leagues, I played every day, and then I get a spot start here and there. But now, I'm getting comfortable with it."
-- Detroit utility man Marcus Thames, who is adapting to his role on the Tigers as an option off the bench as a pinch-hitter, in the outfield or at first base. (MLB.com)
"I'm depressed. I'm used to rooting for a champion at this time of year. I just hope Billy [Donovan] has some good recruits coming in."
-- Royals first baseman and Florida Gators fan Ryan Shealy, lamenting the fact that the Gators, the two-time defending NCAA basketball champions, are playing in the NIT this spring instead of the NCAA tournament. (Kansas City Star)
"Left field? I have. You can go ahead and say that."
-- Twins pitcher Brian Bass, responding to the idea that he'd come out of nowhere to have an outstanding spring for the Twins. (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
"His on-base percentage is high. He sees some pitches, knows the strike zone. He's fast enough to steal some bases, and he can lead off a game with a double or a home run. He's got some pop."
--Braves hitting coach Terry Pendleton on what makes Kelly Johnson a good leadoff hitter. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
"Rehabs aren't easy, but my friends are on me, telling me I don't really want to get a real job. One day they are going to take the uniform away from me, and you can't have regrets."
--Marlins pitcher Joe Nelson on what drives him to keep coming back from injuries. Nelson has missed all or most of the 2001, 2002, 2003 and the 2007 seasons. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
"I really don't care about Spring Training. I've seen a lot of guys get hot in Spring Training and start the year slow. Sometimes, I told the guys: 'I don't want to hit no more. I don't want to get no more hits. I want to save them for the season.'"
--Nationals second baseman Ronnie Belliard after a 1-for-3 day dropped his average to .459 this spring. (Washington Post)
"I couldn't care less about my options. At this level, you're in the business to win. You take your best 25. If you're the best 25, you make the team. Options or not, I'm not worried about it."
-- Giants reliever Jack Taschner disputing the notion that the Giants might send him back to the Minor Leagues because he has an option left while others battling for bullpen spots do not. (San Francisco Chronicle)
"With all that, you just expect success from the guy. He's been around, he's got the experience, he learns, he works his butt off, he goes out there and he gets fired up, man. It's a beautiful thing, knowing he's prepared himself and knowing he's going to do it."
--Angels pitcher Dustin Moseley on what makes injured starter John Lackey unique. (Los Angeles Times)
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.