Here are some of the notable quotes from around Major League Baseball this week:
"It didn't hit the ground; it was in the air the whole way. I scooted up a little bit ... it was a great pitch. I was more nervous not to drop the ball, believe me. I wasn't worried about him bouncing the ball."
- Albert Pujols, after catching the first pitch from President Obama in Tuesday night's All-Star Game. (Belleville News Democrat)
"People were joking around saying this might be your one time of getting on the mound in Busch Stadium. I guess the birds on the [under]shirt we have now might be the closest I get to the uniform."
- Mark Buehrle, a native of St. Louis who has never made a secret of his boyhood dream to play for the Cardinals, after pitching in St. Louis on Tuesday night in the All-Star Game. (Chicago Tribune)
"That's the last thing you think is going to happen, getting intentionally walked in your only at-bat. That's OK, though. I had fun."
- Victor Martinez, commenting on his intentional walk in the eighth inning of the All-Star Game. (MLB.com)
"When you get an opportunity like that, it's kind of surreal."
- Joe Nathan, after chalking up a strikeout with the game on the line in Tuesday night's All-Star Game. (MLB.com)
"It's one season, but I'm happy with the way things turned out. To be put in a position where I can come out, help the team and be an All-Star at the same time means a lot, especially when you consider the amount of talent at this position."
- Michael Young, who made five previous All-Star teams as a shortstop, on being named to the All-Star team as a third baseman. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
"It let me compete at a high level. I started playing a little more competitive sooner. I had more time to prepare."
- Jonathan Broxton on how the World Baseball Classic helped him prepare for his All-Star season in 2009. (Los Angeles Times)
"It was pretty good, actually. The stride was pretty close."
- Tim Lincecum on All-Star teammate Hanley Ramirez's impression of his windup and delivery. (San Francisco Chronicle)
"Hunter is one of the most energetic people I've ever known. We played against one another when he was at UT-Arlington and I was at Dallas Baptist. I remember the first hit he got in pro ball. It was a line drive that never got more than about 10 feet off the ground and cleared the 420-foot mark in center. Everybody on the bench kind of understood at that point what Hunter was about."
- Ben Zobrist of the Rays talking about former Minor League teammate Hunter Pence, who participated in his first All-Star game after being voted onto the team by his peers. (Houston Chronicle)
"This is as good as it gets. I want to help the Astros get to the playoffs, but from a personal standpoint, this is one of the highest honors you can have. I really can't believe it."
- Hunter Pence of the Astros on being a first-time All-Star. (Houston Chronicle)
"I think it will be settling in about when the lights come on tomorrow. I'm just taking this all in. This is pretty amazing right now. I'm pretty pumped up to be here, and I'm just going to soak it in."
- Aaron Hill, Toronto second baseman, commenting on his experience at the All-Star game festivities ahead of Tuesday's game. (bluejays.com)
"It looks like he is never fooled. He looks like he's always in control. He has a game plan and sticks to it every time. He finds a way to get the barrel to the ball more consistently than anybody else in baseball. It's a lot of fun to watch him play. I would say it's fun competing against him, except most of the time he comes out on top. He's an amazing player; he really is."
- Ryan Braun, Milwaukee left fielder, on All-Star teammate and St. Louis first baseman Albert Pujols. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
"I've always said that a team needs a stopper, a guy who can stop losing streaks or slow down the other team. That's what he is. It doesn't matter how hot the other team is; he can beat them. Without him, we wouldn't be one of the top teams in the National League right now."
- Brad Hawpe, talking about teammate and fellow All-Star Jason Marquis. (coloradorockies.com)
"I understood my role and was fine with it. [Manager Charlie Manuel] was doing what he thought he needed to do to win the game."
- Freddy Sanchez, Pirates All-Star who was held out of the All-Star Game as a versatile defensive replacement in case the game went into extra innings. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
"I respect Mo more than anybody in the game. The guy goes out there, gets three outs and shakes [Jorge] Posada's hand. You appreciate someone who respects the game like he does, respects the people he plays with and against, and, obviously, his results speak for themselves."
- Michael Young on Mariano Rivera. (New York Daily News)
"I get a nice extra stretch when I'm playing catch with him, little agility workouts from time to time. He has such movement with the delivery he has. ... I'm just happy I have all of my teeth."
- Angels pitcher Jason Bulger on teammate Brian Fuentes. (Los Angeles Times)
"He's been battling some nicks here and there. I know that Jason cares a lot despite all the money he's made in the game, and he puts more pressure on himself than you might think. He's had some slow starts in the past, and when the weather warms up, we hope that he does. The thing is, when he's in there, he's still a presence, and he still takes a professional at-bat. Even if he doesn't get hits, he can still have a positive impact, and that's good for everybody."
-A's general manager Billy Beane on the organization's perspective on Jason Giambi. (San Francisco Chronicle)
"I've always loved the fans up here, loved the passion. That's something you don't get down south. Up here, it's pro sports. Down by us, it's always the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Auburn, SEC, Alabama. Up here, this is it. It's the Mets, it's the Yankees, it's the Giants, it's the Knicks, and that's what I'm looking forward to is coming to a place where the fans are so passionate and care and pack the place out every night."
- Jeff Francoeur talking about New York City and its fans after being traded from the Atlanta Braves to the New York Mets for Ryan Church. (Newsday)
"The guy is amazing. Nothing against any other infielder we have, but I guess you could say the guy's hot on the field. He gets to the ball so easy and has such a good arm that he just makes every play look easy."
- Joel Pineiro, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher, on infielder Brendan Ryan. (MLB.com)
"The brain, you can't mess with that. Especially trying to do what we're trying to do -- hit a 90-plus miles-an-hour fastball. I just didn't have it. It got to the point where finally I just told them, 'I'm sick of feeling this way -- Having headaches, wanting to throw up, my vision being all messed up.'"
- Newly-acquired Braves outfielder Ryan Church on his battles last year with concussions. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
"I just said recently, I was talking to the guys in Pittsburgh, saying that I was finally starting to get a feel again for my sinker. I'm up to my old ways finally, and only then do I get traded. This is the strongest I've been and the healthiest I've felt and probably the most confident I've been since 2004."
- Sean Burnett, Nationals reliever, on his long recovery from reconstructive arm surgery. (Washington Post)
"I guess you kind of expect that. This is a great place to play. They pay attention to the games and they are into it and they remember some of the things that go on. So it's all in fun, I guess.
- Ted Lilly, Cubs pitcher, about being booed during the introductions at the All-Star Game in St. Louis. (MLB.com)
"At this point, we have a chance, but you can say that about Anaheim and Texas. Now it's about how much heart and feeling and desire you have within yourself. No matter how much skill you have, unless you have that, you'll not be able to win. That's because if you have that, no matter how things get, you're able to overcome it thanks to those traits. This applies not only in baseball, but many other things. In the second half, it's about how much each of us players have that, and how we can bring it all into one."
-Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki on the team's second-half prospects. (Seattle Times)
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.