Potent quotables: Lidge wants the ball

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“Keep giving me the ball. It doesn’t matter, the situation.
I need to get myself ready to pitch this postseason. It doesn’t matter to me if
it’s a one-run game or we’re down by seven. Work like that tonight is very
productive for me.”




– Brad Lidge wants to be the Phillies’ closer in the postseason, even as they consider alternatives.
Lidge allowed one run on two hits in an inning of mop-up duty against
the Brewers on Friday night. He has a 7.51 ERA and a major-league
leading 11 blown saves this season.




“There’s not
many positives we can take away from this year as a whole…It’s not a
learning process dealing with failure. I’m ready after that last out to
turn the page and get ready for next year, because this hasn’t been fun
for anybody. In fact, it’s been very disappointing.”




– David Wright expresses his disappointment in the Mets season.
They sit at 66-88 entering play on Saturday. Wright is batting just
.221 since returning from the disabled list on Sept. 1 and has already
established a career-high with 135 strikeouts.




“Just dartboard,
man. They just crush me. The intensity on the field shut down, but the
intensity picked up in the bullpen, man, with the verbal abuse I’m
taking.”




– J.P. Howell is taking a beating from his teammates
after being shut down for the rest of the season by manager Joe Maddon
on Friday. Howell has appeared in 123 games over the last two seasons.
All the work seemed to take a toll on his arm, as Howell posted a 6.75
ERA over his final 17 appearances.




“Oh, this is fun. More than you can imagine. It’s the best
time you ever have in your career, the September run to the playoffs
and the World Series … it’s incredibly fun. It gets the hair raising
on your arms.”




– The bloom hasn’t come off the rose for Bobby Cox as the Braves are still alive and kicking in the Wild Card race, just 3 1/2 games behind the Rockies with nine to play.

Jason Kipnis could join Team Israel for 2017 World Baseball Classic

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians throws during batting practice prior to Game Seven of the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.

For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.

Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.

Rangers to sign James Loney to minor league deal

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: James Loney #28 of the New York Mets tosses to first base against the San Francisco Giants during the second inning at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.

Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.

The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.