2005 Year In Quotes

“Two different kind of hitters, I guess. It’s tough to say that I’m
a better hitter than him though. He’s definitely proven himself. I
still have a lot to prove here.”

—Marlins third baseman Brad McCann on the difference between he and his younger brother, Brian.

“It was pretty cool. I mean it’s always great, especially at that
age, to see your name in a national publication like Baseball America.
But to tell you the truth, I just wanted to get out there and play
more. I wasn’t the one who walked around bragging that I was the number
one 14-year-old player. But I always wanted to beat you . . . I was
never too worried about it, but it was always neat to see your name in
the paper.”

—Braves righthander Kyle Davies on being named the top 14- and
15-year-old in the country in BA’s Baseball For The Ages poll in 1996
and 1997.

“Basically I had a stamp on my forehead saying, ‘Whatever it takes.’
I’ll do whatever it takes to get to this point and I did and I took it
in stride. I’m lucky to be at this point in my life.”

—Marlins righthander Jeff Allison, after his first start competitively since battling drug addiction.

“You have to find ways to stay busy on the bus whether it is sleep,
play video games, play cards. I am not much of a card player, so I am
kind of stuck with sleeping and playing video games. So far it has been
a bit of a grind. Spring training was tiring. Not necessarily hard, but
day in and day out just doing the same thing wears on you. You have to
figure out a way to stay busy and make every day different the best you

Marlins lefthander Jason Vargas, before being promoted to the big leagues.

He’s a hard thrower, although his fastball doesn’t have as
much explosion as Paplebon’s. He’s developed a cutter. His two-seamer
has good run to it. Both that and his change are better than they were
last year. Jon’s still only 21, and the more feel and command he
develops, the better he’ll get. The ball is definitely coming out of
his hand better.”

—Red Sox catcher Alberto Concepcion on lefthander John Lester.

He’s a baller, man. Every time I see B.J. (Upton), I just think about him. That’s my world right there.”

—Indians infielder Brandon Phillips on his younger brother P.J., who was drafted in the second round by the Angels this year.

“I don’t know. He actually has some weight on me, but I’m probably a
little quicker. That’d be interesting to see for sure. We were actually
roommates in instructional league. We never wrestled seriously, but we
joked about it a lot.”�

Pirates first baseman Brad Eldred on who would win in a wrestling match between him and former Pirates’ slugger Walter Young, the Orioles’ 296-pound farmhand.

“The only way I can put it is that it was a dream come true. Growing
up in Georgia, there were only two things ever on the TV: the ‘Dukes of
Hazzard’ and the Braves on TBS. I’d eat dinner with one hand and both
eyes on the TV set every night at 7:30.”

—Cardinals righthander Adam Wainwright on growing up in Georgia and getting drafted by the Braves.

“I was definitely frustrated. A lot of times, I want to be perfect.
And if one thing is wrong, I try to fix it. I think I’ve been trying to
fix one thing, and it kind of ballooned from there. I’m not making that
little tweak that I have to make, I’m struggling with letting my
natural ability take over. I’ve been trying to force it, I
guess—whether that be location or my mechanics or a certain pitch on a

—Phillies righthander Gavin Floyd on his struggles in Triple-A.

“Everyone in my immediate family is a Cardinal fan, but there are
Zobrists who are Cubs fans. They really wanted me to get drafted by the
Cubs just so they could give me a hard time. I don’t really consider
myself a big fan, though. When I go to games, I’d rather study what the
players are doing on the field.”

—Astros shortstop Ben Zobrist on growing up in central Illinois.

“I wanted to sing—that’s all I did. And then I started playing
baseball and found my new thing. When I was in school, a teacher was
asking the class what we wanted to be. I said I wanted to be a baseball
player and everyone laughed. The teacher told me I was too small, too
skinny. I’m making sure he never forgets who I am now.”

—Phillies lefthander Eude Brito on proving his teacher wrong.

“When I go deer hunting, especially after bucks, I could care less
how big it is. All I want are those horns. We kill so many of them that
we have to give them to friends. I just tell them, chances are good I’m
going to kill one, so if you want the meat you can have at it.”

—Reds righthander Homer Bailey on his hunting prowess.

“He’s a big, broad-shouldered guy that’s starting to physically
mature. And he’s an animal workout-wise. He’s built for endurance, and
he has one speed. Everything he does is full-throttle.”

—High Class A Clearwater pitching coach Scott Lovekamp on Phillies righthander Scott Mathieson.

“All of you guys have been in Baseball America at one time or
another. Well, when I was in the minor leagues, their report on me
would have read, ‘Has a good 93-94 mile-per-hour fastball and the
makings of a slider—but he has no idea where any of it is going.’
That’s what Baseball America would have said about me in 1964.”

—Hall of Famer Jim Palmer, addressing players at the California/Carolina League all-star game.

“Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Brad Pitt showed a little comedy and it’s never
bad to have to look at Angelina Jolie for two hours. She’s the best
visual effect ever.”

—Angels shortstop Brandon Wood on a trip to the local multiplex.

“It’s a little crazy. I wasn’t sure what he was at first, but it’s
always nice to see him because it means we usually have a lead. Fans in
Venezuela get really excited in the stands, but there is no Mr. Celery.
The people there are really loud with noisemakers and signs. They yell
the whole game. It’s that way in all Latin countries. But no, no Mr.
Celery. If they did, it might be a man dressed as a plantain.”

—Red Sox righthander Anibal Sanchez on high Class A Wilmington mascot Mr. Celery.

“My family is originally from Spain, but we moved to Venezuela when
I was really young. I don’t do too much there when I’m home because
it’s such a dangerous city. When I go out, I have to make sure where
I’m going because there are so many bad parts. If someone there knows
you’re a player, they’re going to do something to you. I don’t like to
even leave my house. I don’t want to make my family worry about me.”

—Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero on life in his hometown of Caracas, Venezuela.

“It was frustrating. I thought I made it clear that I wanted to
sign, but everyone thought I was going to Texas. I stopped listening
after the third round, but my dad called me to tell me that Houston
took me in the ninth. After that I just assumed I was going to play at
Texas, but the Astros called us and told us not to worry about it and
just be patient and something would get done. They signed their higher
picks, and then came back to us and kept their word.”

—Astros lefthander Troy Patton, on falling to the ninth round in 2004.

“He has to come inside more. He can throw that 99 (mph) out over the
plate, and it’s going to get hit. That 99 in on your hands would be
another story.”

—Devil Rays outfielder Delmon Young on fireballing Rockies righthander Juan Morillo.

“I think it was a blessing in disguise. Before, I was just throwing
the crap out of the ball and not really pitching. When I broke that
foot, I couldn’t just go out there and wing it. I had to make sure my
mechanics were right. I started pitching. I didn’t throw a changeup
before, but I started throwing a changeup, learned a cut fastball.
Because I had to go through that, I added two more pitches. Going
through something like that, it makes you battle a little bit more.”

—Diamondbacks righthander Garrett Mock on developing more pitches due to a broken ankle.

“I teach whatever. In Wisconsin, if you have a four-year degree, you
can be a substitute teacher. I have my degree in finance, so I jumped
at the chance to do that. I teach anything from first grade to high
school. It’s a challenge. It can get a little weird, since it’s such a
small town and everyone knows everyone. It’s funny to hear kids calling
me ‘Mr. Endl.’ “

—Braves lefthander Brady Endl on his offseason job.

“It was a challenge. My grandmother raised me because my parents
were both in the service. Her neighborhood was a pretty troubled
environment, but baseball’s what kept me away from all that—she kept
me away from that too. Growing up in that kind of straightened me out
for the long run because I saw so much stuff with drugs and cops
everywhere that I knew how bad it could get if you let it. But baseball
and the fact that my grandmother would beat my behind kept me away from
that stuff. Those are two of the main reasons I am where I am today.”

—Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick on growing up outside Jacksonville, Fla.

“What is a power pitcher? I don’t have a power fastball, but are
guys with more strikeouts than innings pitched not power pitchers
because they don’t have what is considered good stuff? To me, a power
pitcher is a guy with desire who makes pitches and refuses to lose. If
I tried to throw 95 mph, my arm would probably fly into the stands like
a broken bat. But I can get hitters out. Maybe a good word to describe
me would be “tricky.”

—Yankees righthander Matt DeSalvo on being labeled a power pitcher.

“If I stop walking people, I’ll be fine. I feel like I’ve thrown
well and I’m competing on this level, but I look at my ERA and it’s
over five and I’m like, ‘eeeewwww’. Overall, I’m happy. I’m 21, and I’m
in Double-A and I feel like I have a legitimate opportunity to pitch in
the bigs late this year or next. I can’t complain.”�

—Reds righthander Travis Chick on taking a look at his ERA at midseason.

“It’s a weird word to use, but it’s really a relief to be back.
“That’s all I can say—I feel relieved. It’s been a long few years and
if there’s one thing I learned, it’s not to take anything for granted.
Everything I do now, I do with a purpose.”

—Greg Miller, on his return to the mound for the first time since 2003.

“He’s been banged up some this year. “He plays so hard—he runs down
every ball, crashes into every wall. Everything he does is full-speed.
He’s a banger. But I’m not making excuses for him not having any home
runs. I throw BP to him every day and believe me—those home runs will
come. As a hitter, I liken him to a stronger version of John Olerud
with a lot more raw power in his bat.”

—Double-A Birmingham manager Razor Shines on outfielder Ryan Sweeney’s power.

“Last year was tough, but this year was very, very hard with losing
my mom. But you just have to keep going—she would have wanted me to
keep going. That’s why I went to the Futures Game instead of taking it
off because she was happy whenever I called her after a start. She
would have wanted me to go. She gets to watch every game now, so I’m
good to go.”

—Pirates lefthander Paul Maholm after his mother Linda died of cancer prior to the Futures Game.

I’ll say this—it’s something that happened and it’s something I’ve
had to go through on a personal level to get through it. I was young, I
made mistakes and I’ve had to learn from that, build on that. I can’t
sit here and constantly look back on it, but at the same time, it was a
learning experience. I faced it—it was something I had to do. I think
I’ve done pretty well turning the corner and getting past it.”

—Astros righthander Matt Albers on being suspended and attending an alcohol rehab facility last year.

“Rehab was the toughest thing I’ve gone through, just being injured
and out of the game for so long. That’s never happened to me before. It
drove me nuts. I wanted to blow my brains out.”

—Indians third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, on rehabbing his injured back.

“It was more exciting than anything else to be the No. 1 pick. I
thought I was a top 10 guy, but it was a crazy draft year and it
happened. Now I want to make the best of it. The draft is in the past,
and I’ve been working toward the future since then. I don’t want to be
known as a “bust pick” and I’m going to work as hard as possible to
have the best career I can have.”

—Padres shortstop Matt Bush on being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 draft.

“I call him Mr. Liriano now because that’s the second time he’s done
this against us. We’re talking a 13 mile-an-hour difference between his
fastball and his changeup with the same, easy arm action. The bottom
line is that this guy doesn’t belong in this league. I can see him
going up to help the Twins whenever they want him.”

—Buffalo manager Marty Brown on Twins lefthander Francisco Liriano.

“I hear all kinds of things from fans all the time. The best one was, ‘Hey, nice last name—that thing goes armpit to armpit.’ “

Braves catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia on wearing his two-foot long nameplate on the back of his jersey.

“I don’t think anybody in this locker room is feeling sorry for him.
A lot of guys worked hard to get here. He rubbed a lot of people in
here the wrong way. It was the wrong thing to say. He showed a little
immaturity and that’s why he’s not here. It takes a lot of nerve to say
the organization is cheap when you got $5.8 million (to sign).”

—Devil Rays outfielder Aubrey Huff, on the stir caused by Delmon Young after Young called the club “cheap.”