Teammates marvel at Griffey's impact
Junior's historic home run elicits joyous reactions
Here are some of the notable quotes from around Major League Baseball this week:
"That's the big bear, diving after a ball. He's gotten dirty for us and done everything we've asked him to do. He's played very good defense over there. We're very happy."
-- Yankees manager Joe Girardi on the play of Jason Giambi at first base this season. Giambi has made 41 starts at first base through Sunday after starting there only 16 times in 2007. Giambi has committed only two errors this season (New York Daily News)
"I hope the story continues -- we're still fairly early into the season, and I imagine every time he picks up the ball, the organization's got their chest out a little -- as they should. This isn't a fluke. I mean, he might go out next time and get beat, but he knows how to pitch. And he's been prepared very well how to pitch, how to act, how to compete -- it's exciting. There's nothing wrong with young kids helping us win, especially when they know how to act."
-- Boston manager Terry Francona on rookie pitcher Justin Masterson, who improved to 3-0 Sunday after he allowed only one run in six innings of work against Seattle. (Boston Herald)
"I think I'd prefer to just be here because I feel like I'm ready to be here. I feel like I'm ready to contribute and help out. I think I've kind of proven myself in the Minor Leagues. I've done well -- I've spent five or six years there -- and I just think I'm ready to help the big-league team out."
-- Rockies infielder Ian Stewart on why he doesn't feel a need to return to the Minors. (Rocky Mountain News)
"It means I finally made a contribution to us shaking hands at the end of the day."
-- Tony Clark after hitting a pinch-hit, three-run home run Sunday against the Mets to give the Padres an 8-6 win. It was the first home run of the season for Clark. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
"This is a stretch that can make you or break you. You want to get to the All-Star break with a chance to come out in the second half and win the division. We can't do that unless we play well in the next 24 games."
-- Gerald Laird on a current stretch in the Rangers' schedule in which they play 18 of 24 games on the road. (Dallas Morning News)
"There's one Albert."
-- Rick Ankiel, when asked how the Cardinals can replace first baseman Albert Pujols, who suffered a calf injury on Tuesday night. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
"They do play a factor. They definitely energize us. If we get in a big situation, the crowd is on its feet, which plays into our hands. But also we have a good team, and we're playing well here, so it boils down to that."
-- Derrek Lee, acknowledging the role the fans play in energizing the Cubs. (Chicago Tribune)
"I knew it was pretty early because it was still light. I was thinking maybe I could catch the Lakers' game [in the NBA Finals]. I just found the zone on both sides of the plate."
-- C.C. Sabathia, after needing just two hours and six minutes to toss his second shutout and third complete game of the season on Tuesday night in the Indians' 1-0 victory over the Twins. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
"At some point, you have to put your ego aside and realize what's best for the team, especially the way they've been playing lately. But at the same time, every one of us has a little bit of selfishness in us that wants to be that everyday guy, who wants to be in that lineup every day. So until that day happens, I'll keep plugging away and working my tail off."
-- Greg Dobbs, discussing his role on the Phillies as a pinch-hitter and part-time player. (Philadelphia Daily News)
"I was 6, 7, 8 years old watching him. He's an icon, and it was a moment in history. To be in the dugout for that, it was amazing."
-- Reds rookie Jay Bruce, after watching Ken Griffey Jr. hit the 600th home run of his illustrious career. (Cincinnati Enquirer)
"It happened so fast. 'Oh, wow, he just did it!' And then as he was circling the bases, it started to set in and the fans were cheering for him. It really shows you the things he's doing are that special to affect people in other cities."
-- Bronson Arroyo, after watching Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 600th home run. (Cincinnati Enquirer)
"This game, it will put you on top of the mountain, and it will put you down in a gutter. So far this year, I've been in both spots. On this team, everyone has each other's back. If we can keep that attitude, we'll be fine."
-- Nick Swisher on the ups and downs of playing in the Major Leagues and how he and his White Sox teammates support one another. (Chicago Sun-Times)
"I don't think there's any reason I can't play through [age] 40 as long as I don't let my body go, which is not going to happen. I'm too active year-round to let my body go. My desire to stick around and play four, five, six more years is strong. I want to accomplish some things here, put up some numbers here as long as the Braves want me."
-- Chipper Jones on his plans to play for several more seasons. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
"It actually didn't bother me as much as I thought it would. I obviously thought about it when I was getting it done. Is this something that I'm going to want to do the rest of my life? I weighed the options, and it was fine. I didn't think it was that bad. In Spring Training I wore them, and it was hotter than you know, but it doesn't really bother me too much."
-- Marlins rookie pitcher Ryan Tucker on the MLB rule requiring him to wear an undershirt while pitching to cover up his tattoos . (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
"Well, he's going to play more now, obviously, without [Ryan] Zimmerman in our lineup. But also, we need to get him involved. He lost a lot of time, and our offense is struggling. He was a big part of it last year, and we want to get him back out there."
-- Nationals manager Manny Acta on the impact Ronnie Belliard can have on the lineup. (Washington Post)
"Unbelievable slide by Russell. I just saw it on ESPN. That was pretty impressive. It got me another RBI, too, so I'm happy about that."
-- Matt Kemp on the slide by Dodgers teammate Russell Martin in which he over-slid the plate and tagged it with his back hand. (Los Angeles Times)
"I asked what Timmy's [Lincecum] been doing, and [Jonathan] Sanchez, to see what's going on. The big thing is they've been going after guys. Timmy's been doing something magnificent. I was picking his brain a little bit to see what was going on."
-- Matt Cain on his improved control in his last outing versus the Nationals. (San Francisco Chronicle)
"If I played long enough, I could be [in the] 400 club. Other than that, my next stop is 300, and hopefully I can get that."
-- Torii Hunter after hitting the 200th home run of his career on Monday. (Los Angeles Times)
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.