On rogue squirrels and open spaces
Drew doesn't fret over bushy-tailed right-field companion
Here are some of the notable quotes from around Major League Baseball this week:
"I didn't think it was that big of a deal. He wasn't bugging me. I knew he'd get out of the way if a ball was coming. He was pretty quick, too."
- J.D. Drew, discussing a squirrel running around the outfield at Comerica Park on Tuesday night. (MLB.com)
"I can't put my finger on any one thing. Working ahead [in the count] is a big thing. You don't want to beat yourself. It's still early. When you're a relief pitcher, a couple of bad outings can blow things up."
- Trevor Hoffman, who is 13-for-13 in save opportunities and has thrown 15 scoreless innings, on allowing only six hits and one walk while striking out 14 this season. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
"A lot of that has to do with the fact that he has a plan. He never changes. The way he was in the Minor Leagues is the way he's been in the Major Leagues.
"The success that he's had has built a confidence that [says,] 'When I go up to bat, I'm as good as anybody to execute this at-bat.' He hasn't missed a beat."
-Arizona manager A.J. Hinch talking about the success of outfielder Gerardo Parra with runners in scoring position. The rookie is hitting 12-for-17 (.706) with 14 RBIs in those situations. (Arizona Republic)
"I wasn't trusting myself at all. I just said I've got to do it for my son, [3-year-old Grenyer], my family and my girlfriend and even for me. They all believe in me. And I started hitting well, and I'm back here again."
- Gregor Blanco, Braves outfielder, on how he handled his demotion to the Minors at the end of Spring Training and worked to get back to Atlanta. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
"I got to bat against him twice in 1999, and I hit left-handed. I hit the ball once, a lucky groundout to second. He's so tall that it looks like he's pitching to you from a Little League mound that's 45 feet away. He struck out 17 that day, didn't walk anybody. It was unbelievable to watch him work."
- Ron Villone, Nats reliever, recounting his batting exploits against Randy Johnson. (Washington Post)
"It's like an hourglass with sand. You see the last few granules going through. Those are the years. I feel very fortunate I've been able to play 20-plus years in this game."
- Randy Johnson reflecting on his career. (San Francisco Chronicle)
"Honestly, he gives us the best chance to win. Whether he's 20 years old or 30 years old, it doesn't matter. He's the best guy to put in that slot."
-A's manager Bob Geren on the team calling up 22-year-old rookie Vin Mazzaro. The youngster then pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings to lead Oakland to a 5-0 win over Chicago. (San Francisco Chronicle)
"I've always been the guy that gets thrown into the weird assignments. If I failed every time I'm in those spots, I wouldn't get thrown into those spots again. ... I'm used to it. That swingman versatility is what keeps me around."
- Brad Thompson, Cardinals pitcher, on his ability to start or relieve, as needed. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
"I don't care what anyone says, you are aware of it."
- Randy Wells, Cubs pitcher, who lost his no-hitter in the seventh inning on Tuesday against Atlanta, admitting that he very much knew what was happening. (MLB.com)
"I'm really excited. I really haven't been able to kind of sit back and think about it."
- Andrew McCutchen, a 2005 first-round Draft pick of the Pirates, who made his Major League debut on Thursday. (MLB.com)
"Every at-bat is important. You want to have the same intensity for each at-bat. You don't want to give any at-bats away. When you're pinch-hitting, you only get that one at-bat -- it doesn't make it any less important than if you're starting a game. You want to maintain that same intensity and same level whether you're pinch-hitting or starting."
- Chris Dobbs, Phillies infielder on coming off the bench ready to hit. (MLB.com)
"I love it. More room for me to run, and I love to run, man."
- Nyjer Morgan, on playing defense in the spacious home of the Pirates, PNC Park. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
"When I've been playing center field, a lot of the mental strain seems to dissipate. In left field, I'm still unfamiliar, especially at the big league level and adjusting to new stadiums. I'm adjusting as I play. I tend to overanalyze things. When you're struggling, I put more pressure on myself to do well on defense. I didn't feel comfortable doing that in left field. I still have a long way to go to become a good left fielder. In center field, nothing is calculated. Everything is instinct."
- Chris Dickerson, Cincinnati outfielder, discussing the differences in playing left field and center field. (MLB.com)
"I'm trying to keep the same approach. It's an at-bat. It's not a season; it's one at-bat, one game. I try to keep it simple that way. I know it sounds easy, but it's really not. I've also started giving more credit to [the pitchers] at times. Before, I'd think I was supposed to get a hit, no matter what. Now I'm coming to grips with that they're good, and their job is to get me out."
- Prince Fielder explaining his approach at the plate this season. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
"It's gone just as well as I hoped. I think we're still overall just getting that feel -- you know, working out and then pitching that day, getting the body accustomed to that. I think we're ready to go. It's not going to be perfect by any means."
- Justin Masterson talking about his transition to the Red Sox bullpen. (Boston Globe)
"With everything that's going on in the world, the economy and all that, I get to put on this uniform and play. I'm fortunate. People ragging on me just doesn't matter anymore. Before, I got offended, but now you can call me anything you want."
- Juan Pierre on the peace of mind he is enjoying this season compared to last year. (Los Angeles Times)
"Everybody wants to look at Russell as a No. 3- or No. 4-hole hitter. I think it might have been a little bit different if the other guys were really on fire or something like that. Who knows down the road? But I wouldn't have made that move if I didn't think Russell was making that adjustment to lay off some pitches."
-Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu on his decision to move slugger Russell Branyan to the second slot in the lineup. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.