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.

Shapiro, Murray defend Dellin Betances after arbitration feud

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Dellin Betances #68 of the New York Yankees and the American League pitches against the National League during the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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The dust hasn’t quite settled after right-hander Dellin Betances‘ arbitration hearing with the Yankees on Saturday. The case was decided in the team’s favor, awarding Betances with a $3 million salary for the 2017 season instead of the $5 million he initially requested. Yankees’ president Randy Levine held a press conference to voice his outrage over the figure presented by Betances and his agency, saying it had “no bearings in reality” since Betances does not have the elite closer status required for a salary bump of that magnitude.

Needless to say, the comments caused some consternation within Betances’ camp. The reliever publicly addressed the outburst, telling the press that he was prepared to put his differences with the team aside until he heard what Levine had to say. Via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:

Players union executive Rick Shapiro and Betances’ agent, Jim Murray, also spoke out in the right-hander’s favor. Shapiro presented Betances’ case during the hearing on Saturday and called Levine’s comments “an absolute disgrace to the arbitration process and to all of Major League Baseball.” In a report from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Shapiro added: “The only thing that has been unprecedented in the last 36 hours is that a club official, after winning a case, called a news conference to effectively gloat about his victory – that’s unprecedented.”

Murray spoke exclusively to Rosenthal, accusing the president of effectively bullying the 28-year-old during the arbitration process and claiming that Levine had both mispronounced Betances’ name throughout the hearing and blamed the reliever for “declining ticket sales and their lack of playoff history.” Like Betances, Murray said that the agency was ready to accept the arbiter’s decision and move on before Levine’s decision to air his grievances to the media. “The only person overreaching in this entire situation is Randy,” Murray told Rosenthal. “He might as well be an astronaut because nobody on earth would agree with what he is saying. Even the others in the room would disagree with him.”

Royals will experiment with Alex Gordon in all three outfield spots this year

CLEVELAND, OH -  MAY 7: Alex Gordon #4 of the Kansas City Royals reacts to a fan while on first base during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on May 7, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Royals’ manager Ned Yost is shaking things up in 2017, starting with left fielder Alex Gordon. Yost told MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan that “every scenario is open,” and expects to utilize Gordon in right and center field this spring while he figures out where to position Jorge Soler and Brandon Moss.

Gordon, 33, hasn’t manned right field since a three-game experiment with the Royals back in 2010 and has yet to play center field during any regular season to date. The focus, however, isn’t on Gordon’s capabilities. Among the three outfielders, he carries the best defensive profile and appears to be the most versatile of the bunch.

According to Flanagan, Soler and Moss are average on defense and will continue working closely with Royals’ coach Rusty Kuntz as the season approaches. One arrangement could see Gordon in center field, flanked by Soler in right field and Moss in left, though Yost foresees Soler taking some reps at DH if his defensive chops aren’t up to snuff.

While Moss is prepared to see starts at either outfield corner, Yost appears to be set on keeping Soler in right field, at least for the time being. The club is hoping for a bounce-back season from the 24-year-old outfielder, who was acquired from the Cubs in December after batting a lackluster .238/.333/.436 and sustaining a slew of minor injuries throughout the 2016 season.