Here are some of the notable quotes from around Major League Baseball this week:
07/18/2008 1:27 PM ET
Hamilton a 'freak of nature' at the plate
Players impressed by Hamilton's performance
"He met Willie Mays, Ernie Banks, Mike Schmidt ... he's in hog heaven."
-- Chipper Jones on bringing his dad to the All-Star festivities in New York.
"Um, I think so. What do you think?"
-- Cristian Guzman when asked if this was the best season of his career.
"I always try to go past what I did before. If I've gone six innings, I want to go and finish the seventh. I don't go out there thinking I should throw nine innings. But if I knew what the secret of durability was, I would be a lot better."
-- Hideki Kuroda, Dodgers pitcher, on his approach to the game.
(Orange County Register)
"We're talking about a kid who eats food in a crouching-tiger position. I'm pretty sure he can walk."
-- Brian Wilson, the Giants' closer, dismissing speculation that Tim Lincecum was carried from his hotel room on a stretcher after suffering flu-like conditions that kept him from appearing at the All-Star Game.
(San Francisco Chronicle)
"Any closer in this league is pitching in a high-intensity situation. Frankie is pretty cool going through it, but there's certainly a release that takes place when you close out games. It's nothing against the other players. He's not showing up anyone. It's a pure release of emotion."
--Angels manager Mike Scioscia on the actions of closer Francisco Rodriguez.
(Los Angeles Times)
"I also had a high leg kick and no slide step, so runners would just take off. Ralph taught me to tuck and go. By doing that, I didn't have to have a slide step, and I don't have two different deliveries to have to keep sharp."
-- Justin Duschscherer, A's starter, on the vital coaching he received from Ralph Treuel when he was in the Minors with the Red Sox.
(San Francisco Chronicle)
"Everyone came by the dugout and stopped by to say hello to me. That was a very special moment for me because they knew who I was. To me, that was very moving."
-- Ichiro on the Hall of Famers present at the All-Star Game stopping by to talk to him.
"That's one of the most impressive displays I've ever seen. I'm glad I witnessed that. It was a tough act to follow."
-- Lance Berkman on the 28 home runs hit by Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton during the first round of the Home Run Derby competition Monday night.
"He's an inspiration for a lot of people. A lot of people have been through hard times. There's not many people in the big leagues that are as talented as he is. It's an amazing story. He battles every day. He's got more power than anybody in this game. When Texas came to Minnesota this year, we had guys stay down on the bench to watch him hit [during batting practice]."
-- Home Run Derby winner Justin Morneau commenting on Josh Hamilton after Monday's competition at Yankee Stadium. Hamilton hit 28 home runs in the first round and was the star of the show despite the fact Morneau ended up with the trophy.
"His pedigree speaks for itself, as does his résumé. He brings his lunch pail to work every day, takes the ball, no nonsense. I like everything about him. I've liked him for a long time, since he came off the Olympic team. I've watched him pitch. It's a good place for him to start. He gives us power and the breaking ball. I thought this would be an opportunity he would embrace. He's got a lot of energy and a lot of passion, so it was a perfect match for me."
-- National League All-Star team manager Clint Hurdle on Milwaukee pitcher Ben Sheets, who started for the National League Tuesday night.
"I'm sure I'll be a little nervous. But right now, I'm far more excited than I am nervous. There's a lot of talented, young players here for the first time, and it's cool to be part of that.
"It really is special. You rarely have an opportunity to reflect on what you've accomplished in this game because it all happens so fast. When you get a chance to come here and be around so many great players and be part of this, it makes me appreciate everything I've worked for."
-- Ryan Braun commenting on competing in his first All-Star Game as well as the Home Run Derby.
(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
"Yankee Stadium has been a part of my family's life for a while. My dad told me stories of listening [to games] on transistor radios."
-- Dan Haren on how special it is to appear in the All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. Haren's dad grew up near Yankee Stadium in the New York neighborhood of Washington Heights, and his grandfather ran a train that went alongside the stadium.
"I don't think I'm going to realize the significance of the whole thing until maybe a year or two from now, or maybe even longer, when I have kids or grandkids to tell. I get to play in the last All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. Right now, everything is going real fast, but it's definitely going to be special for the rest of my life."
-- Evan Longoria talking about his first All-Star experience. Longoria competed in the Home Run Derby and for the American League All-Star team in Tuesday night's game. He drove in the tying run in the eighth inning.
(St. Petersburg Times)
"I was trying to set it up just to have fun and, knowing Manny, to take a little pressure off. Manny is one of the greatest hitters in baseball, and he's a good fastball hitter."
-- Carlos Zambrano, after throwing a curveball high over the had of Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez -- all in good fun -- in Tuesday night's 15-inning, 4-3 American League victory.
"Oh, man, it's great to come back to Yankee Stadium for the last All-Star Game here. It's big -- I grew up in this ballpark."
-- Alfonso Soriano, on being in Yankee Stadium for the All-Star Game on Tuesday night. Soriano was not able to play due to a broken hand, but received a loud ovation from Yankees fans during player introductions.
"The only mistake I made was [to] Chipper Jones. He hit a single, almost took my head off, but the guy is hitting nearly .700. If I hold him to a single, I'm doing all right."
-- Cliff Lee, assessing his All-Star Game performance. Atlanta's Jones, who flirted with a .400 batting average for much of the first half of the season, is currently batting .378.
(Cleveland Plain Dealer)
"It was just a matter of going out, putting up zeros and giving us a chance to win and keeping [Kazmir] out of the game. But 15 innings? What are you going to do?"
-- George Sherrill -- who worked 2 1/3 innings in Tuesday night's All-Star Game -- on stretching himself out to try to both help the team win and keep Scott Kazmir, who threw more than 100 pitches on Sunday, out of the game.
"He said, 'If it's high, let it fly. If it's low, let it go.' It seemed pretty simple. I think Josh [Hamilton] took the advice better."
-- Chase Utley, relaying what Hall-of Fame outfielder Reggie Jackson told him prior to participating in Monday's Home Run Derby. Hamilton hit 35 home runs in the event. Utley hit five.
"Yeah, it turns out the Cubs are nice guys. That's unfortunate."
-- Ryan Braun, on getting to know some of his rivals at the All-Star Game.
"About the seventh, I went out to the bullpen to help out there. As the game went on, I was thinking it had to be the longest [All-Star Game] ever. It was history in the making. On a scale of one to 10, I'd rate it a 50. It was awesome. A better stage you couldn't have."
-- Geovany Soto, who started for the National Leauge and caught five innings in the All-Star Game, giving his take of the 15-inning, 4-3 American League victory.
"He didn't do that in a season. He did that in a round. He was even mis-hitting balls, and they were going out of the park. He's a freak of nature."
-- Grady Sizemore, on Texas outfielder Josh Hamilton hitting 28 home runs in the first round of Monday's Home Run Derby.
"It was a great experience and the way it played out. Except for not winning the game, I wouldn't have changed anything. I think I played OK. The main thing is that it was a great time."
-- Nate McLouth, on his All-Star Game experience.
-- Red Line Editorial