On early success and new battery mates
Ankiel doesn't get wrapped up in spring performance
Here are some of the notable quotes from around Major League Baseball this week:
"It's early, and you have to remember it's early for everybody and those guys are certainly going to start spotting their pitches better and whatnot. But for my first day, that was fun, no question."
- Rick Ankiel, now with the Royals, after hitting two home runs on Tuesday in an intrasquad game. (MLB.com)
"At first, I thought he was just a fastball-slider guy. After looking at his videos to try to get to know him a little better before catching him, he's got a nasty changeup. He's got three plus pitches -- fastball, slider, change -- and he's got a good curveball, too.
"I think he's a guy who is going to help us a lot. He's going to make me look good. He's the type of pitcher who can make everybody look good."
- Catcher Miguel Montero, commenting on new Diamondbacks pitcher Edwin Jackson. (Arizona Republic)
"He's a complete guy -- he can handle the bat and has a strong arm behind the plate. He's an intelligent kid who knows what he's doing back there. He gets better and better. It's a matter of time before he's a frontline catcher in the Major Leagues."
- Giants manager Bruce Bochy on rookie backstop Buster Posey. (San Francisco Chronicle)
"Everybody knows he belongs. It's just a matter of getting used to the big league pitching, how quick the adjustments are made. But he's the best 20-year-old I've ever seen."
- Catcher Brian McCann on Braves top prospect Jason Heyward, who is making a bid to make the club out of Spring Training. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
"I don't care what situation I pitch in, as long as [manager Joe Maddon] calls my name and I get to go out there and help the team win -- whether it's saving the bullpen one day [in long relief] or going in and getting one guy out the next day."
- Pitcher Lance Cormier on his role in the Rays' bullpen. (Tampa Tribune)
"It's a decision that I make. There are going to be situations that come up this season, tighter situations with runners on or whatever. I have to make the decision to attack guys. That's where the battle is."
- Nationals pitcher Garrett Mock on what he needs to do to help his chances of making the team's starting rotation. (Washington Times)
"Shhhh. Let's not talk about it. If we don't talk about it, we don't have to worry about it."
- Dodgers manager Joe Torre on whether he will keep pitcher Clayton Kershaw on a pitch count of around 100 per game this season. (Los Angeles Times)
"I let him do it. I had a date that night."
- Ben Sheets, now with the A's, on allowing a home run to new teammate and fellow pitcher Jason Jennings when they were in college. (Oakland Tribune)
"The Mariners would have been a natural fit. They had said they were interested, and they had a few other moves to make first. Ultimately, nothing ever materialized.
"Seattle was kind of there the whole time but never really anything super formal. It was always, 'Hey, keep us in mind,' but nothing formal. There was some mutual interest, but once the Mets came heavy, we got it done in two days."
- Pacific Northwest native Jason Bay on how his free agency played out this offseason. (Seattle Times)
"With the stuff I've dealt with to get to this point in my career, I don't think I'll ever be able to look at my situation as completely normal. That's just how it's gone."
- Chris Carpenter on taking nothing for granted. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
"It's a lot different. It's going to be a little bit less embarrassing this time around. Last year, I was trying to catch a ball and throw it to first. Now we're kind of fine-tuning everything."
- Skip Schumaker, who one year ago was just beginning the transition from the outfield to second base for the Cardinals, on the difference in his approach in the field this season. (St. Louis Globe-Democrat)
"I almost knock on wood, but I feel good. Things are coming along well, and so far I haven't had a setback, which is better than expected. The bullpens are getting better each time I go out there."
- Pitcher Bill Bray, who has battled multiple injuries since joining the Reds in 2006. (MLB.com)
"You kind of stop worrying about those things after awhile. I just go out there and try to do the best I can. And whatever happens, I feel that if my arm's healthy, I can hopefully pitch in the big leagues somewhere. Obviously, I'd like it to be with the Orioles."
- Pitcher Matt Albers, who is out of options, on the possibility of moving on. (MLB.com)
"This is my first time playing a lot of games [on turf], and I know it's really hard, but I've got to put it out of my mind and go out there and do everything. I don't care [if I play on] turf or regular grass."
- Shortstop Alex Gonzalez, commenting about having to play on artificial turf with the Blue Jays this year, two years after having microfracture surgery on his left knee. (Toronto Star)
"I'm excited about it. You definitely have to have a different approach on Opening Day because of all the hoopla and stuff that's going around the game."
- Aaron Harang, after learning that he'd be starting for the Reds on Opening Day for the fifth straight season. (MLB.com)
"I worked on my offense in winter ball in the Dominican. I did much better. I'm still learning. I have confidence in myself. I know I can hit. In the Minor Leagues, I hit. Sometimes when you don't have experience, you get excited and swing at everything. You can't control yourself. Now, I have more patience."
- Center fielder Carlos Gomez, now with the Brewers, who batted .281 for Escogido with a .380 on-base percentage in the Dominican winter league. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
"What I've done in positioning and approach [vs.] right-handers, mirror that against left-handers. Keep the body in the same position against both right-handed balls and left-handed balls. Just because you want the ball to get deeper and go the other way doesn't mean that your body goes the other way."
- Curtis Granderson talking about his approach. (New York Post)
"It's just something that I had to, as a player, figure out. Mentally, it was the toughest thing because you've had the success. You know you can play the game, but for some reason you're outside of yourself -- you're trying to do too much.
"I put too much pressure on myself. Once I came back, I wasn't really worried about the pressures. ... I just played the game. You can't really worry about whether this or that can happen. You just have to play the game to win and have fun."
- Howie Kendrick, who came back from the Minor Leagues and batted .351 from July 4 through the end of the 2009 season. (Los Angeles Times)
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.