Potent quotables: Rice says he was 'misquoted'

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“Anybody who
reads that story knows I wasn’t talking about Jeter or Rodriguez. Look
at them. Do you see any baggy pants? Do you see any dreadlocks?”




– Hall-of-Famer Jim Rice says that just because you mention someone’s name doesn’t necessarily mean you are talking about them.



“That could be
part of it. I should have won the MVP that year, by the way. There was
a trial. I took responsibility for my participation in it. That
happened 24 years ago. And along with that, you’ve got the steroid
issue now. Baseball and the United States are supposed to be two
forgiving entities — why haven’t they forgiven me? Deal with me for
what I’ve done and for my numbers and just forgive. In ’75, my first
year as a regular (starter), people started identifying me as one of
the best players in the game, and then later on as the best player. If
the media can do that, they should be able to look at me and look at my
numbers and say, ‘This guy is a Hall-of-Famer.'”




– Speaking of the Hall of Fame, Dave Parker thinks his drug use is keeping him out.



“There were a
couple of heaters (when) I felt that I should have thrown a hook. I
step off and re-gather and that’s when the non-executed pitch came.
(Posada) calls fine back there. It’s just a matter of me throwing what
I want to throw. There’s no pattern there. I’ve had a great run now
with Jorge. So there’s no fingers to point but at me.”




– A.J. Burnett, who was visibly irritated in Saturday’s 14-1 loss to the Red Sox, denies any rift with his catcher Jorge Posada.



“Koozie’s the only guy who ever saw it. Maybe that’s Koozie’s urban myth.”



– Ron Swoboda comments on Jerry Koosman’s admission
that he was the one who rubbed the baseball on his shoe in Game 5 of
the 1969 World Series, granting Cleon Jones first base on a hit by
pitch. The Mets eventually defeated the Orioles 5-3, shocking the
baseball universe with their improbable World Series victory.

James Paxton will “nerd out big-time” to stay healthy next year

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To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.

So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”

When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.

Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.