Potent quotables: "I wasn't paid to walk"

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“Believe me, I wasn’t paid to walk. I was paid to try to do some damage.”

– Jim Rice addressed reporters
at a news conference in Cooperstown on Saturday. Rice, along with
all-time stolen base leader Rickey Henderson will be inducted into the
Hall of Fame on Sunday. Somewhere, Bengie Molina is smiling.

We’re not looking at this as a one-year deal, I assure you.”

– Cardinals chairman Bill Dewitt would like to lock up the newly-acquired Matt Holliday.
Only problem, Holliday is represented by Scott Boras. There’s at least
some hope though, because the Cardinals did get Boras-client Kyle Lohse
to forgo free agency when he signed a four-year extension with the club
last September.

“Do you put these guys in, and do you
put names with an asterisk beside the name, ‘Hey, they did it, but
here’s why.’ To be safe, that’s the only way I can see how you can do
it.”

– More Hall of Fame talk as Hank Aaron told the San Francisco Chronicle that steroid users should get in the Hall of Fame, as long as there is some recognition of their wrongdoing.

“I thought he was talking about a sign or something. And he was like, that wall.”

– Jason Bay describes teammate Adam LaRoche’s reaction to seeing the Green Monster.

“You watch little signs on the mound.
Really, the result tells you a lot with a guy that has that good a
stuff. It was necessary to have that discussion afterwards. I know he
doesn’t want to say that anything’s bothering him. But we’ll find out
tomorrow in more detail.”

– Manager Don Wakamatsu thinks Erik Bedard may be hurt again. The southpaw lasted just three innings in a loss to the Indians on Saturday night.

“I was nervous. But I took a deep breath and just did what I love to do. I am happy I was able to help the team.”

21-year-old Jhoulys Chacin made his major league debut against the Giants on Saturday, working a scoreless ninth, including a swinging strikeout of Juan Uribe to end it.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.