Here are some of the notable quotes from around Major League Baseball this week:
"If the manager trusts you enough to put you in, you want to be ready. I watched the last couple of days. Any chance I can give the bullpen guys a chance to rest -- they've been taxed."
-- New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens commenting his first regular-season relief appearance since July 18, 1984, a span of 22 years, 341 days. (New York Daily News)
"It's Michael Young for me. This is the first time I have had a chance to watch him on a daily basis, and everything I saw from the other side is true. He comes every day to play."
-- Texas manager Ron Washington commenting on why he thinks the Rangers' shortstop should represent the team at the All-Star Game. (Dallas Morning News)
"The whole list is just a bunch of classy guys that played the game the right way. Obviously we're still not there yet. But to me I just feel they've played the game the right way and I'm doing my part to play the game the same way that they played it and then hand it off to the next generation and hopefully they'll do the same. I think that's probably the most important thing to me that makes me feel the best."
-- Houston second baseman Craig Biggio on approaching the 3,000-hit club. Of the 26 men to collect 3,000 hits, only eight accomplished the feat with one team: Hall of Famers Stan Musial (St. Louis Cardinals), Carl Yastrzemski (Boston Red Sox), Cal Ripken Jr. (Baltimore Orioles), George Brett (Kansas City Royals), Robin Yount (Brewers), Tony Gwynn (San Diego Padres), Al Kaline (Detroit Tigers) and Roberto Clemente (Pittsburgh Pirates). Biggio would be the ninth player to reach the plateau with one club. (Houston Chronicle)
"These people are baseball fans and they like seeing the underdog. They like seeing a fresh face, a different face, especially when you're doing something as special as he's doing."
-- Milwaukee Brewers manager Ned Yost commenting on first baseman Prince Fielder, who is leading or tied for the National League lead in home runs, RBIs and slugging percentage and leads the fan balloting for the All-Star Game among first basemen. No Brewer has been selected to start in an All-Star Game since second baseman Paul Molitor in 1988. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
"That's something you live for. That's what this game is all about -- those battles. As we all know, he's a great hitter. We were just trying to get a groundball, and we got what we wanted. ... That's what drives us, having your back against the wall, and you persevere."
-- San Francisco Giants starter Noah Lowry on facing Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees Sunday. Lowry induced an RBI ground ball that helped him get out of a jam. (New York Daily News)
"I was absolutely floored when I heard the news. I've had a hard time dealing with it all day. He was one of my closest friends on the team at the time when he was here. We used to talk about the game and how to approach it. We used to help each other. When things were going bad he'd always be there for me, and I'd always try to be there for him if things went bad for him. Those years were difficult times for us here."
-- Boston pitcher Tim Wakefield commenting on the death of former teammate Rod Beck, who played with Wakefield and the Red Sox from 1999-2001. (Boston Globe)
"Probably the biggest swing of my life. I put the bat on the ball and it just went."
-- St. Louis Cardinals rookie infielder Brendan Ryan, after hitting the game-winning home run in the Cardinals' 5-3, 11-inning win over the New York Mets on Tuesday. (St. Louis Post Dispatch)
"I just know baseball lost a guy who was the epitome of a gamer. A guy who put his teammates, organization, and the fans before himself. He'd go out there with a completely torn shoulder, sacrificing himself because he cared for his team so much."
-- Cleveland outfielder Trot Nixon, on former Major League reliever Rod Beck, who passed away last weekend at the age of 38. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
"I try to go out there every time and get as deep into the game as I can and keep the team in the game. There is a lot out of your control as a pitcher, so I try to keep it that simple. The way you get deep into games isn't just innings, it's pitching well and keeping the pitch count down."
-- Newly acquired St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Mike Maroth, who worked 7 1/3 innings in his St. Louis debut on Monday, on the importance of pitching effectively into the late innings. (St. Louis Post Dispatch)
"I've just tried to stay ready, and learn as much as I can when I'm on the bench. I come in, every day, and check the lineup. If I'm in there I'm in there. I come here, ready to play every day."
-- Philadelphia rookie outfielder Michael Bourn, on finding a way to be successful while not playing on a regular basis. (Philadelphia Daily News)
"Ah, I was ready to go. One hundred percent, I thought I would make it. I heard him saying 'No,' but in my mind I was ready to go."
-- Philadelphia base-thief Carlos Ruiz, after stealing home against Cincinnati on Tuesday night. Third base coach Steve Smith had told Ruiz to consider taking home if teammate Michael Bourn swiped second base -- but only if the ball was thrown and was clearly past the pitcher's mound. Then, despite Smith's last-second objections, Ruiz did just that -- successfully. (Philadelphia Daily News)
"That guy's pretty good, huh? That 3-10 record was a little deceiving."
-- Florida pitcher Scott Olsen, on Pittsburgh pitcher Paul Maholm, after Maholm picked up his fourth win of the year on Tuesday night. Maholm worked 7 2/3 innings, gave up two runs on three hits while retiring 15 in a row at one point. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
"It was my sinker grip, anyway. I don't know what happened to it after that."
-- Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Matt Capps, after throwing a 95-mph sinker on Tuesday night to strike out the Marlins' Hanley Ramirez looking. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
"I still have the same desire I had when I was 19. Just because I'm older doesn't mean it's getting bigger. I've always had a goal to play in the World Series. So far it hasn't happened. Anything can happen. Just keep pushing and hopefully that dream will come true."
-- Cincinnati Reds outfielder Ken Griffey, on his dream as a Major Leaguer. (Cincinnati Enquirer)
"It's funny. You're celebrating a hit but it's a bloop hit. Whatever. Let's jump up and down and go home."
-- Minnesota's Jeff Cirillo, after getting the game winning hit in the 12th inning against Toronto on Tuesday in the Twins' 2-1 victory. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
"Three years later, he remembered it and he sent it to me. That was the coolest thing I think I've ever had happen to me."
-- Detroit Tigers reliever Todd Jones, a former teammate of the Reds' Ken Griffey, after being sent the bat that Griffey used to hit career home run number 577. While teammates, Jones requested of Griffey that he wanted a souvenir bat -- a brand-new one that was used for just one swing -- a home run on the first pitch off of Cleveland's Cliff Lee. (MLB.com)
"I'm just glad to be back. I didn't know I was coming back. I'm happy to be back. It feels like I never skipped a beat."
-- St. Louis Cardinals reliever Troy Percival, on his return to the Major Leagues. (MLB.com)
"I don't know what I'm looking at. It's nice to have a set lineup. But you need to shake things up now and then."
--Braves manager Bobby Cox on decision to start rookie Yunel Escobar at second base for the third time in four games. All four starts have been with lefties on the mound. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
"It's the new old lineup. I kicked it around and looked at it. I'm allowed to change my mind."
--Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez announcing plans to re-install Hanley Ramirez into the leadoff spot after previously telling his shortstop that he would remain in the three-hole in the lineup. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
"This guy has been the hottest hitter in the league, so I think he deserves to go."
--Nationals manager Manny Acta on the All-Star prospects of first baseman Dmitri Young. (Washington Post)
"I enjoy going out there and playing in front of 45,000, 50,000 people every night that have a huge passion for your team. There's added pressure that you like to have because they're hungry for a championship just as you are as a player."
--Dodgers outfielder Luis Gonzalez on the difference in playing in Dodger Stadium and the sparse crowds he performed in front of while a member of the Diamondbacks the past few seasons. (Los Angeles Times)
"I actually started doing it because I watched him do it in San Francisco and Chicago. I thought it was the coolest thing, the windup, the stretch, kind of bent over, the arm swing. I stole it from Beck.
"We all pretend to be someone when we're little. I actually wanted to be like Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens, but I don't throw as hard as Clemens. When it came down to it, I took Rod's thing."
--Padres relieverHeath Bell on how he modeled his windup and delivery from the late Rod Beck. (San Francisco Chronicle)
"It's borderline absurd. Daric could go up there with a toothpick and a blindfold right now and still hit. He's just dangerous right now."
--A's pitcher Dallas Braden recently recalled from Triple-A, on the hitting exploits of former Minor League teammate Daric Barton. One of the prospects acquired in the Mark Mulder deal, Barton went 2-for-3 with a home run Wednesday night to extend his hitting streak to 22 games. Barton is batting .600 in his last 10 games and has a .505 average in 24 games in the month of June. (San Francisco Chronicle)
"If it's not, someone's missing the boat. I don't think you do what he's done by coincidence, by mistake. It's not a fluke. When a guy does what he's doing for as long as he has, people better start paying attention."
--Mariners pitching coach Rafael Chaves on the rest of the nation picking up on the standout season enjoyed so far by closer J.J. Putz, who has 22 saves and a 0.99 ERA. (Seattle Times)
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.