On high-school meetings and first HRs
Dukes spent time in Yankees' Spring Training clubhouse
Here are some of the notable quotes from around Major League Baseball this week:
"I would ride up -- this was high school, when I had my car -- and I would ride up and watch them. Just watch. I was invited to the clubhouse. I was in there with Paul O'Neill, Tino Martinez. [Alfonso] Soriano, Derek Jeter, [Jorge] Posada -- they still remember me as a little kid. And I was pretty big at the time. They'd ask me how old I was, and they'd be like, 'Damn, we're in trouble when you grow up.'"
- Elijah Dukes, Nationals outfielder, on watching the Yankees in Spring Training in his home of Tampa. (Washington Post)
"We talk about those guys at the end of the year -- their numbers are going to be right there. He's done stuff nobody has done in Major League history. [They] say he's offensive-minded. Uggla can turn the double play as well as anybody with guys bearing down on him.
"He's been terrific for four years, and I'd like to have him another four."
- Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez on second baseman Dan Uggla after he became the first player at that position to hit 30 homers in three consecutive seasons. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
"He was cool about it. They gave us a hard time, but it was all in fun."
- Reggie Willits, Angels outfielder and a New York Giants football fan, on watching the Giants-Cowboys game in teammate John Lackey's luxury suite at the new Cowboys Stadium. (Los Angeles Times)
"It would have been nice to have the ball, and I would have been happy to give him a bat and signed it -- that's more than a baseball, anyway. But that's OK, I have a souvenir, I'm happy."
- Matt Carson, A's rookie outfielder, after a spectator asked for $10,000 in return for the ball that he hit for his first Major League home run. Carson kept the bat he used instead. (MLB.com)
"The manager wouldn't take me out. In the seventh or eighth innings, the coaches wouldn't come near me.
"If they ever asked me how I felt, it wasn't, 'Are you OK?' but, 'You're OK, right?'"
- Hiroki Kuroda Dodgers pitcher, on pitching in Japan, where he had the nickname "Mr. Kantou" or "Mr. Complete Game." (Los Angeles Times)
"We have a video that says 'The Most Embarrassing Moments' and shows actually what happened. Yeah, he's taking some abuse on that. It wasn't twisted on someone else. He was jumping up and down, with no one around."
- Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu on the sprained ankle catcher Rob Johnson, suffered while celebrating Ichiro Suzkuki's game-ending homer Friday night.. (Seattle Times)
"I mean, I remember my first year here, he treated me like any of the older guys, and I was shocked by how well I was treated as a first-year guy over here.
"He's the one who gave me all the confidence in myself to be able to go out and do what I've done in Atlanta. ... I dominated the Minor Leagues, but I was a very average big-league player before I came here, because it was a confidence issue.
"When you have a manager like Bobby Cox tell you you're good, you believe him. And he goes out of his way to tell his players they're good. I think that's why you play so hard for him."
- Matt Diaz on his relationship with manager Bobby Cox. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
"Earlier in the year, I don't think I was ready for it. I'd get a little anxiety with all of the attention. But I got used to it, and it's been more fun than anything. It doesn't bother me anymore."
- Zack Greinke, on getting used to being the center of attention in a season during which he has won 15 games and has a minuscule 2.08 ERA. (Kansas City Star)
"As a starting pitcher, it's imperative -- you have to make adjustments as the game goes on. If not, they'll hit you, and you won't be in the game too long. You have to make your adjustments according to the game."
- Edwin Jackson, Detroit Tigers pitcher. (MLB.com)
"Didn't square it up well, but it's a hit in the books."
- Tyler Colvin, former Chicago Cubs first-round pick, who got a hit in his first official Major League at-bat on Monday night. He had hit a sacrifice fly in his first plate appearance. (Chicago Tribune)
"It's like I've said the whole time: It's something that one day I'm sure I'll look back on and try to cherish. You do kind of look at the history of the game and all the great switch-hitters that have played this game. It's something that I certainly never would've thought I'd be in that category. I mean, I didn't break Barry Bonds' homer record or anything, but you've got to take what you do and look at it in perspective."
- Brian Roberts, after tying Lance Berkman for the record for doubles in a season by a switch-hitter with 55. (MLB.com)
"I need to make sure it's getting better and stronger for the stretch run, so I can hopefully do anything that is asked of me. If I'm asked to do anything, of course I'm going to say, 'Yeah, I can do it.' Not being physically at your best is tough."
- Greg Dobbs, Philadelphia pinch-hitter, speaking about his strained calf muscle. (MLB.com)
"He's great in the clubhouse, a great table-setter, and also with the numbers he's put up. We'll try to bring him back and we hope he'll be a fit here."
- Toronto assistant general manager Alex Anthopoulos commenting on shortstop Marco Scutaro, who will be a free agent at the end of the season. (Toronto Star)
"Every time I thought I was close to making it back, there was a setback. When you try to do it, and it's not there, what can you do? It's been hard, so hard."
- Jose Reyes on his desire to return to the field this season. (New York Daily News)
"The last time I did two days in a row, it was not good. The last time after the first day, I felt optimistic. The next day was not good, so we'll just see."
- Josh Hamilton, on his recent workouts and attempted return from a pinched nerve and strained muscle in his lower back. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
"We definitely appreciate it. It's an unbelievable thing he's trying to do for us, what he's putting himself through to try and go out there and help this team win."
- Boston first baseman Kevin Youkilis on starting pitcher and teammate Tim Wakefield who has pitched through back pain. (Boston Globe)
"I say it 100 times -- once you're on the field, there's no distractions. You're playing a baseball game and not worried about anything else."
- Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee on eliminating off-the-field distractions once he's between the lines. (MLB.com)
"I think any opportunity I get I am going to have to take advantage of. I hope that he [manager Dave Trembley] feels confident enough that he can put me in the lineup whenever he feels he needs to."
- Michael Aubrey, Orioles rookie, who is batting .313 with four RBIs in 48 at-bats this year. (Baltimore Sun)
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.