Potent quotables: Manny's return

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“I need a couple more games under my belt. It’s going to take time.”

– Manny Ramirez, a little rusty after serving a 50-game suspension. He was 0-for-3 with a walk in his return to the lineup on Friday against the Padres.

“He broke Stan Musial’s career record? I’ll go bow to his feet here in a second. That’s a serious point to make.”

– Tony LaRussa upon learning that Albert Pujols broke the club record for grand slams. El Hombre crushed his 10th grand slam as a Cardinal — and fourth of 2009 — to spoil a brilliant outing by Homer Bailey.

”My high school coach in Korea died, and I was sad the whole day. This game was for him.”

– Shin-Soo Choo dedicates a career-night to his former coach.
Choo homered twice and drove in seven runs in Friday night’s rout over
the Athletics. He is batting .301 with 12 homers and 53 RBI this
season.

“It’s fair to say that, if you’re
looking at reinforcements right now, we are hoping and counting on some
of our DL guys being reinforcements. It’s also fair to say that we’re
going to go out there and try to look around and see if we can do
something that can fit. Of course, you’re kind of caught in-between.”

– Omar Minaya hopes that some internal options can step up and provide relief. The short-handed Mets were embarrased by the Rodrigo Lopez and the Phillies 7-2 on Friday night.

“This has been unbelievable. I’ve
kind of defied the law of averages – batted balls in play sometimes
find holes, but they haven’t in these two games.”

– Ryan Sadowski reacts to his shutout performance
against the Astros on Friday night. The 26-year-old rookie now has 13
shutout innings to start his career — the first Giants rookie to do
that since Mark Remlinger tossed 15 scoreless innings in 1991.

Javier Baez: “This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it.”

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Infielder Javier Baez is back in camp with the Cubs after helping Puerto Rico to a second-place finish in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He was the focal point of what was, to many, the most memorable play of the entire tournament: Baez pointed at catcher Yadier Molina, who was attempting to throw out a would-be base-stealer, before applying the tag for the final out of the eighth inning.

While Baez didn’t receive much criticism for his theatrics, aside from an insignificant handful of spoilsports, he is one of the players who most exemplifies the emotional, celebratory culture that foreign players bring to Major League Baseball. U.S. (and Tigers) second baseman Ian Kinsler is on the other side of that spectrum, as he said prior to the WBC final that he hopes kids mimic the solemn way U.S. players play the game rather than the emotional, passionate way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play the game.

Baez isn’t about to apologize for the way he and his teammates play the game. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney, Baez said, “We do a great job playing and having fun out there. That’s what it’s all about. This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it. but, you know, everybody’s got their style and their talent. I have a lot of fun.”

He continued, “It’s their choice to look at how we play, how excited we get. To us, it’s really huge what we did, even though we didn’t win. All of Puerto Rico got really together. We were going through a hard time over there and everything got fixed up for at least three weeks. Hopefully, they keep it like that.”

Mike Trout proposes change to spring training umpiring

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Angels outfielder Mike Trout came up with an idea that would allow less experienced umpires an opportunity to call some major league spring training action. As ESPN’s Buster Olney reports, Trout thinks the veteran umpires should only call five or six innings as they get back into regular season shape. The rest of the innings could be called by minor league umpires.

According to Olney, baseball officials loved Trout’s idea when they heard about it last week. One official said, “It makes a lot of sense for a lot of different reasons.” Another said, “That’s Trout — he’s always paying attention to stuff beyond what he’s doing.”

Of course, I have to agree that the suggestion is a great one. As Olney notes, the turnover rate for umpires every year is relatively low, so younger, less-experienced umpires have few opportunities to get a feel for what it’s like calling major league action. Even beyond the actual interpretation of the rules, interacting with big league personalities would also be helpful for minor league umpires.