Here are some of the notable quotes from around Major League Baseball this week:
04/09/2009 11:02 AM ET
David Freese is living the dream
Cardinals third baseman grew up a St. Louis fan
"I moved to St. Louis when I was 4, and I've been a Cardinals fan ever since. This is all just a dream come true for me."
- David Freese, acknowledging how excited he is to be playing for the home team.
"I still can't speak any English. I'm very grateful that they would use a pitcher who couldn't speak English on Opening Day."
- Hiroki Kuroda on being chosen to start the Dodgers' opener.
(Los Angeles Times)
"I thought that would be a good spot for him. He has a couple of lockers now. He has room over there to do his thing. I told [clubhouse manager Mike Murphy] to put me anywhere."
- Matt Cain on giving his spacious locker in the Giants clubhouse to veteran Randy Johnson.
(San Francisco Chronicle)
"I put too much pressure on myself last year at the beginning of the season. This year, I'm just going to go out there, try to get a quality start up every time, and hopefully that'll be good enough to win."
- Roy Oswalt talking about a new approach this season.
"I'm not a real big power guy to center field, so I was running out of the box. [Tigers center fielder Curtis] Granderson kept running, so I was like, `Oh, he's going to catch that.' But it went over the wall."
- Adam Lind commenting about the three-run home run he hit in the fourth inning against Detroit on Monday night. Lind collected four hits and set a Blue Jays Opening Day record with six RBIs.
"Obviously, he is one of the best pitchers in baseball. But we're very competitive, and we love challenges. He's one of those guys who, although we're not necessarily comfortable facing him, we look forward to the challenge. A lot of us are pretty good fastball hitters, and he's one of those pitchers who will challenge us."
- Ryan Braun talking about San Francisco ace Tim Lincecum, who the Brewers faced Tuesday afternoon in their season opener.
(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
"I came straight off the training table to playing last year. This year, I got to get in there and get some strength in my legs. So we'll see how things play out. This is one out of 162, so we've got a long way."
- Chad Tracy after going 3-for-4 with two RBIs in the Diamondbacks' season opener against Colorado.
(East Valley Tribune)
"You know, I didn't even think about it. I really didn't. I just kind of did my little pre-warmup an inning earlier than I normally would. I went out to the bullpen an inning earlier."
- J.J. Putz commenting on getting warmed up and entering the Mets opener against the Reds in the eighth inning instead of the ninth inning, which he did when he was the closer for Seattle the past several seasons.
(New York Daily News)
"Everybody talks about his age and how much he's going to struggle. I've always said the guy is a baseball player. He's not going to be a guy you just send back to the bench. He's going to have his days just like everybody else. We have confidence in him, and he showed today the confidence he has in himself."
- Ron Washington, Texas Rangers manager, talking about 20-year-old shortstop Elvis Andrus, who was 1-for-4 and played a flawless game in the field in Monday's season-opening win against Cleveland.
(Dallas Morning News)
"I don't know the bunt sign. There is no bunt sign for me."
- Carlos Zambrano, an outstanding hitter, kidding with reporters that he wouldn't recognize the bunt sign even if he was given it.
"My whole thing is just to go out and have good at-bats. Baseball's a game where you can't get caught up in the results. I don't really worry about past years or things like that. That stuff's all behind me. You've got to be as good as you can be that day and keep getting better."
- Travis Hafner, Cleveland slugger, on the importance of always looking forward.
"Now I swing at my pitch, not his pitch. They know I'm aggressive. They throw a couple of balls, they might panic for the other guys. They know I'm going to steal second, and I want to steal third, and you see what happens. I'm still working. They [make a] mistake and [we] stay in the game. I still swing, but I got a plan every time I go to the plate."
- Carlos Gomez, on his increased level of patience at the plate with the Twins this season.
(St. Paul Pioneer Press)
"The kid's good. He's just flat-out good."
- Chipper Jones on pitcher Jair Jurrjens after he improved his lifetime mark at Citizens Bank Park to 2-0 with a 0.87 ERA against the Phillies.
"I finally found that groove throwing the ball downhill, and that's what I need to do. It's almost day and night. My slider a lot of times was in the dirt. It was down, but it's not a strike unless they swing at it. If you can throw it for a strike you have them thinking about another thing."
- Josh Johnson on the newfound command of his slider.
(Miami South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
"Once he gets out of that [thinking], 'I gotta take a pitch, I gotta take a pitch,' he'll be fine. I got that much confidence in the guy. He's going to hit and play good defense."
- Marquis Grissom, former All-Star and current Nationals coach, on center fielder and new leadoff man Lastings Milledge.
"The pressure makes you better. ... We have three younger guys in the rotation -- heck, I don't have much experience -- but to be able to help them is special. They just have to trust their stuff and throw strikes. Pitchers get in trouble when they fall behind."
- Joe Saunders, the Angels' Opening Day starter, on having to assume a bigger role on this year's staff after his 17-win season in 2008.
(Los Angeles Times)
"Between [Jeff] Zimmerman, Tyler Johnson and Chad Cordero, this could be the best extended throwing group ever assembled by a Major League team."
-Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik commenting on the bullpen depth he has acquired to compete for the club's closer position once the pitchers get themselves in shape.
"I got my picture taken with him, so everybody believes me."
- Kelly Shoppach, Cleveland catcher, who was excited to meet former President George W. Bush on Opening Day. Bush was in Texas to throw out the ceremonial first pitch in the game between the Indians and the Rangers. Shoppach is a Fort Worth, Texas, native and went to Baylor in Waco.
(Akron Beacon Journal)
-- Red Line Editorial