Here are some of the notable quotes from around Major League Baseball this week:
"He's got confidence in his ability to get the job done, and it shows on the field. He can do that. Kid like that lives for that. He's got that cocky confidence."
-- Braves hitting coach Terry Pendleton on Yunel Escobar's penchant for big hits. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
"Everybody needs a win, but I always persevere through everything. I was always confident. It wasn't anything different out there. I just wanted to go out there and pitch quality innings to give us a chance to win. The last five starts, I feel like I've been right there."
-- Marlins pitcher Dontrelle Willis on snapping a 13-start winless streak. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
"Get in, get out, before they figure you out."
-- Nationals pitcher Ray King a lefty specialist, on his philosophy on only pitching to a few batters per appearance. (Washington Post)
"It's been the dream of my life to play for the Dodgers. I couldn't get the smile off my face when I put my uniform on for the first time. It's kind of stupid, but we're people too."
-- Dodgers infielder Shea Hillenbrand on joining the team that his parents had season-tickets for when he was a child. (Los Angeles Times)
"It takes a little bit of tinkering to figure out. It took me a whole year of backing up third last year. It wasn't fun. For the first time in my career, I saw that my teammates didn't have confidence in me. That was really frustrating for me."
-- Braves pitcher Tim Hudson on his struggles after signing with a new team. (San Francisco Chronicle)
"I wanted it bad, too, after I got the first two guys. That at-bat with Thome was tough; he laid off some good pitches, and that 3-2 pitch was nowhere near where I wanted it. It was a spinning slider and I was just lucky he swung through it."
-- A's pitcher Huston Street on striking out White Sox designated hitter Jim Thome to earn his first save since May 6. (San Francisco Chronicle)
"It's something I'm going to deal with the rest of the season. Right now is not the time for me to miss any more games. We're right there in the pennant race. ... I'm going to play straight through. We've only got about 40 games left. It's going to be sore, but I've got to deal with it."
-- Chicago Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez, who recently returned to the Cubs lineup after nursing a sore wrist, on the problems that wrist is likely to give him the rest of the season. (Chicago Tribune)
"Check your egos at the door. We're a game and a half out of first-place. We're going to go out there and win some ballgames."
-- Chicago Cubs reliever Ryan Dempster, who is adjusting to the idea of being used in a role other than just the Cubs' closer, on his willingness to pitch whenever the team needs him. (Chicago Tribune)
"I grew up a Cubs fan, and to make my debut here at Wrigley is an unbelievable feeling."
-- Chicago Cubs pitcher Carmen Pignatiello, recalled by his hometown team earlier this week, on having the chance to pitch on the north side of Chicago. Pignatiello grew up in New Lenox, Ill., and attended Providence High School. (Chicago Tribune)
"Yeah, and I'm going to try to get that record. Tonight. Just get up on the plate. Throw a little calf in there. I'm getting on base. If I don't get hurt, it's all good, right?"
-- Kansas City Royals outfielder David DeJesus, who has been hit by a pitch 15 times this year, on the Royals record for most times being hit by a pitch in a season. The record of 18 is currently shared by Mike Macfarlane (1994) and Angel Berroa (2003). (Kansas City Star)
"I try to keep increasing my workload every day during the week so my body and arm can get used to more stress. I liken my workouts to the ones that Japanese pitchers use. I remember reading something about how Bobby Valentine said his pitchers in Japan want to throw 200 pitches in a bullpen. I can't do that much, but I think there's a benefit to grinding every day."
-- Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels, on how he goes about his business between starts. (MLB.com)
"If he continues to move forward with that, you may see him continue to take another step from the point in the first half where we thought he was very, very good. He may get to the point where he becomes very, very special."
-- Pittsburgh Pirates manager Jim Tracy, on pitcher Ian Snell. Tracy's comments came after Snell worked seven innings and gave up just three runs against the New York Mets. On the year, Snell has seven wins and an ERA of 3.88. (MLB.com)
"I feel it's a big step. It's the same as hitting in a cage off of live pitching. The only difference is I get to see how far I'm hitting the ball and see basically where I'm at."
-- Houston Astros center fielder Hunter Pence commenting on taking live batting practice on the field Monday, the first time he has done so since chipping a bone in his right wrist June 22 while sliding into second base. (Houston Chronicle)
"I threw my good slider, my best slider, and threw it down and was figuring I was going to get a swing and a miss. Somehow, he went down and hit a home run. I was very surprised by it. I wouldn't change the pitch at all. It was my best pitch and he hit it, so I guess you have to tip your hat."
-- Houston Astros closer Brad Lidge on a slider he threw in the ninth inning of Saturday's game that Milwaukee third baseman Ryan Braun hit for a game-winning three-run home run. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
"His ball was moving a whole lot tonight, more than normal. He was really hitting some good spots. He wasn't just throwing it for strikes. He was throwing it in spots you couldn't hit it."
-- Tampa Bay left fielder Carl Crawford describing Tim Wakefield's outing against the Devil Rays Monday night. Wakefield held the Rays hitless the first six innings of the game until yielding a single to Crawford in the seventh inning. (Tampa Tribune)
"What you want is an opportunity. We have the opportunity. Now we need to take advantage of it."
-- Colorado first baseman Todd Helton commenting on the importance taking advantage of the team's chance to win the National League West this year. (Rocky Mountain News)
"You can't consider him a rookie anymore because he doesn't do anything like a rookie. He's played Gold Glove-caliber defense and continues to make adjustments offensively."
-- Rockies third baseman Garrett Atkins commenting on teammate Troy Tulowitzki, who was named the co-National League Player of the Week. The rookie shortstop went 14-for-29 at the plate with 12 RBIs and 27 total bases. (Denver Post)
"You know what's the most impressive thing about this team? Check this out. I've never once heard anyone -- and this is shocking -- complain about their situation this year. I've never gone through an entire year without hearing anyone complain. Of course, the year's not over, but usually you hear people who have gripes."
-- Arizona outfielder Eric Byrnes commenting on the good chemistry he sees inside the Diamondbacks' clubhouse. Byrnes believes the good chemistry is why the Diamondbacks are contending for the National League West Division title this season. (Arizona Republic)
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.