Wells trims down, but keeps his power
Blue Jays center fielder looking fitter, still smacking bombs
Here are some of the notable quotes from around Major League Baseball this week:
"I hit [yesterday] for the first time, and everything was loose and easy. I hit a couple of balls out of the park without trying. That was the big issue every player has -- losing weight means losing power. But over a long season, this should take pressure off my joints and basically keep me strong in my core area. Hopefully it translates into a better season."
- Vernon Wells commenting on his offseason routine in which he worked with a personal trainer to lose about 10 pounds and improve his core strength and aerobic capacity. (Toronto Star)
"I was a little nervous, because I wake up in the morning and see my arm like this, and I said, 'I have to go check with the doctor or trainer [so they can] let me know what happened.' And the doctor said 'everything's good.'
"It's itchy, but everything is fine. I threw my bullpen, and it's not sore or nothing. Hopefully tomorrow it will be OK. Tomorrow, if it's the same, we'll do something different, but right now it's looking good. It's not sore, nothin'."
- Jose Valverde commenting on an arm infection that caused his right arm to itch, bruise and swell. He was prescribed antibiotics. (Houston Chronicle)
"He's very approachable. You talk to him, and he's a very good guy, a team guy. I watched him throw a bullpen [Sunday] and tried to see what he's all about. You can sense his presence, on the field and in the clubhouse. I'm really happy he's here. Finally I can talk to somebody in the bullpen who doesn't throw 100 mph.
"It's just the way he pitches, the way he uses his fastball and changeup, the location. You can see in the bullpen that he's not going through the motions. Every pitch has a different purpose. It's no accident that he's the all-time leader in saves and has been pitching so long."
- Carlos Villanueva talking about the Brewers' new closer, Trevor Hoffman. Villanueva first met Hoffman during the team's "Winter Warm-Up" in January. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
"They can try to pin whatever role they want on me in Spring Training, but as far as I'm concerned, if I'm healthy, I plan on being on the field. And I plan on being healthy. I have enough confidence in my ability to know that if I'm 100 percent, I'm going to play. I mean that. It's something that I'm going to have to earn, something I'm going to have to go out there and take."
- Eric Byrnes talking about competing for a starting job with the Diamondbacks. (Arizona Republic)
"The way I look at it, it's a whole lot better not closing for a team that's going to win 100 games than closing for a team with 100 losses. I'm happy here, because we're going to win. I'm just taking the approach that I'm closing the game in the eighth inning, which means we'll have a pretty good chance of winning it in the ninth."
- J.J. Putz talking about his new role as a setup man with the Mets. (New York Daily News)
"I talked to J.D. this morning and he said that was not the case and that he feels great. I read the comments, and what I read worried me. And then when I talked to J.D., I wasn't worried. He said he feels fine and he's ready to go. That's really all I can tell you.
"I'm not saying he was misquoted, but what came out wasn't exactly how he felt. That happens."
-Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona commenting on right fielder J.D. Drew, who told reporters on Sunday that his back is still stiff at times but reassured Francona that he feels fine and is ready to go. (Boston Herald)
"I don't feel it. I'm out there cutting loose."
- Chris Duncan, Cardinals outfielder, who batted for just the second time this week after undergoing radical disc-replacement surgery on his neck last summer, letting reporters know that he has no lingering issues holding him back. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
"When I first got drafted, I was hitting leadoff a lot. I'm comfortable there. As long as I'm in the lineup, they can put me anywhere. I'll take the same approach."
- Mike Fontenot discussing the idea of becoming the Cubs' new leadoff hitter. (MLB.com)
"It grew on me. My first time there, I was like, 'Oh, I could never live here.' My first taxi ride from O'Hare to downtown was a nightmare, white-knuckle the whole way. But you spend 10 years there, and it grows on you. It's a wonderful city in the summer. If you can weather the storm in the wintertime, there's no better place in the country that I've been to in the summertime. It's a good spot for us."
- Kerry Wood, describing his initial feelings about pitching in Chicago versus how he came to love the city after more than a decade on the North Side. (Chicago Sun-Times)
"There's still a job that has to be done. I don't think there are any guarantees in this game. I've seen that throughout my career. I think everybody has seen that. This camp being any different from any other, I can't say that."
- Micah Hoffpauir, who seems to have a spot on the 2009 Cubs secured, noting that he will definitely not be taking anything for granted. (MLB.com)
"I've felt better than I thought I would out there. I think losing the weight has helped me."
- Ryan Garko, Cleveland Indians first baseman, on spending some time in the outfield this spring with the idea that he might see some time there during the regular season. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
"Absolutely, I don't see any reason not to ... any reason why I shouldn't. I don't mind doing a little DHing. If you're a DH once or twice a week, your legs stay fresher. It gives you a little bit of a break if you get a tweak somewhere. That's good. I will do whatever they ask me to do to the best of my ability, but my opinion: I don't want to DH for 130 games."
- Luke Scott, on the prospects of spending some time as the Orioles designated hitter in 2009. (Baltimore Sun)
"That's what they told me. They said, 'We wanted to draft you.' So I said, 'Well, why didn't you?'"
- Joe Smith, acquired by the Indians this offseason in a deal with the Mets, on a conversation he had with team officials after learning that they'd considered drafting him when he was at Wright State. (MLB.com)
"I think he can be an outstanding defensive catcher, and, if he does that, he's an All-Star player."
-Nationals coach Pat Corrales on catcher Jesus Flores. (Washington Post)
"It was a little annoying and frustrating for the fact that things could've been resolved a little earlier. But I guess sometimes it takes putting on suits and calling each other's bluffs."
- Andre Ethier, Dodgers outfielder, on having to wait until he was in the hearing room for his arbitration before the two sides agreed to settle on a new contract. (Los Angeles Times)
"It's not going to happen overnight. This is part of the process. When you get on a mound and you haven't pitched in a year, this is going to happen. You take a year off, you're bound to have tightness."
- Noah Lowry, Giants pitcher, refusing to be down after not throwing off a mound as planned on Tuesday. He plans to do that instead on Thursday. (San Francisco Chronicle)
"He's a clutch hitter, the left-handed bat we needed after losing [Mark] Teixeira. I actually think this team is good, is better. ... Bobby is one of the most consistent hitters in the game."
- Torii Hunter on the Angels' acquisition of free agent outfielder Bobby Abreu. (Los Angeles Times)
"That last two weeks, my swing was the way it should be, easy and nonchalant. I want the best people out there all the time, too. Whoever is performing should play."
- Daric Barton, A's first baseman, on the need to perform right away in 2009. (San Francisco Chronicle)
"I'm not trying to show anybody who I am. I'm not going to say I wasn't excited about the type of success I had, but it's about the guys you fight with. If other people think highly of me, that's great."
- Kelly Shoppach, Cleveland catcher, on his breakout 2008 campaign. (Akron Beacon Journal)
"The throw is no problem. It's the flip and putting it where [the shortstop] wants it that's a challenge."
- Skip Schumaker, St. Louis Cardinals outfielder/infielder, on his attempt to move from the outfield to second base for the 2009 season. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
"It's a long process, and after you've been through enough seasons, you realize this is just one step in a long journey.
"I mainly just want to try to focus on getting ready to go. I mean, we've got six weeks or thereabouts. I just want to be ready to play when April 6 [Opening Day against the Chicago Cubs] rolls around."
- Lance Berkman talking about getting ready for the start of the season on the eve of the team's first full workout in Florida. (St. Petersburg Times)
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.