Potent quotables: Playoff chase edition

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“You can skew that any way you want. We’ve got a good pitching staff and
they (hitters) seem to lock in on us. When we do leave a pitch up, they
lick their chops. They go at it like a rabid dog.”




– Brandon Inge explains how the Twins cut the Tigers lead in the American League Central to just three games on Friday night.



“No one likes to give in. We have a
situation where some people start counting people out. Every time it
seems like we get back in it, we fall back away and we get back in it.
When you’re this close in the pennant race, whichever team gets hot
wins it.”




– Jeremy Affeldt says the Giants aren’t quite done. After Friday’s 8-4 win over the Dodgers, the Giants sit 2 1/2 games behind the Rockies in the Wild Card race.

“We’re not winning ballgames, and it’s not a lot of fun right now. It just gets to the
point where there’s no use in moping around the clubhouse or getting
overly angry. It’s getting to us a little bit, but that’s where we need to rebound and find that character we’ve had all year.”

– David Murphy thinks losing isn’t much fun.
The Rangers have dropped five in a row and find themselves 7 1/2 games
behind the first-place Angels and seven games behind the Red Sox for
the Wild Card. The Rangers haven’t scored a run in 23 innings.




“In this ballpark, you always feel like you’ve got a chance. This was a good win. And, we did it
against one of the best closers in baseball. That doesn’t happen very
often.”




– Fredi Gonzalez reacts to a stunning four-run ninth-inning rally
against Francisco Cordero and the Reds on Friday night. The win moved
the Marlins to within four games of the Rockies in the Wild Card race.

Sonny Gray was denied insurance coverage for the World Baseball Classic

MESA, AZ - FEBRUARY 22:  Pitcher Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics poses for a portrait during photo day at HoHoKam Stadium on February 22, 2017 in Mesa, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reports that Athletics’ right-hander Sonny Gray will not pitch in the World Baseball Classic after failing to meet the necessary criteria for insurance coverage. He missed 70 days on the disabled list with forearm tightness and a back strain in 2016.

According to Oakland GM David Forst, Major League Baseball tried to persuade the insurance carrier to waive the requirements for Gray to pitch for Team USA, but the request was ultimately refused. Without coverage, Gray will be unable to participate in the competition, though Forst adds that the 27-year-old is still in perfect health as Opening Day approaches and should benefit from a slower spring training schedule without the added commitment on his plate.

Injuries complicated a down year for Gray, who pitched to a career-worst 5.69 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 7.2 SO/9 rate through 117 innings in 2016. His 1.4 HR/9 and 17.8% HR/FB rates suggested that he felt the effects of the home run spike more than most, capping a disappointing follow-up to his All-Star campaign during 2015.

While Gray works up to a healthy and productive start to the 2017 season, the Athletics will still see two players on WBC rosters next month: right-handed reliever Santiago Casilla, who is scheduled to pitch for the Dominican Republic, and fellow righty John Axford, for Team Canada.

Report: Josh Hamilton likely to undergo another knee surgery

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 24:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers in the dugout before a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 24, 2015 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
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Rangers’ outfielder Josh Hamilton is scheduled for another knee exam on Monday, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Hamilton left camp last week after feeling some pain in his left knee and received a PRP injection to alleviate the symptoms. Wilson notes that both Dr. Walt Lowe and Rangers’ assistant general manager Mike Daly noticed little improvement in the days following the injection.

More drastic measures could be necessary if the 35-year-old intends to return to the field this year. MLB.com’s TR Sullivan adds that the Rangers are considering arthroscopic surgery for Hamilton, which would set him back at least 4-6 weeks and eliminate any real chance of his making the Opening Day roster in April. Until they see the results of the surgery, however, the Rangers won’t rule out Hamilton’s potential return to the big leagues in 2017.

Hamilton is looking at his third major procedure since the end of the 2015 season. He missed all of the Rangers’ 2016 campaign after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery last spring and has not seen a full workload in the majors since his 2013 run with the Angels. Should he make a full recovery this season, he figures to see some time at first base/DH or the corner outfield.