Here are some of the notable quotes from around Major League Baseball this week:
"Bridge? He's a bridge, he's a freeway, he's a highway, he's a road, an avenue. The guy does everything. If you need him to get a lefty, he does that. If you need him to come in and throw two or three innings, he does that. I can't say enough. It doesn't matter if it's a close game or a blowout. Somehow or another, he comes in and gets the job done every time. Without him, I don't know where we'd be."
-- Troy Percival expanding on the term his manager, Joe Maddon, used to describe reliever J.P. Howell, who has been outstanding in the bullpen for the Rays this season. (Dallas Morning News)
"I hope I get a shot to get in that thing. It hadn't really crossed my mind. My goal is to help my team win."
-- Ben Sheets on the possibility of pitching in the All-Star game for the National League. Sheets improved to 9-1 with a 2.59 ERA after earning the victory over Atlanta on Monday night. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
"It's for fun. Johnny [Damon] and I were joking one day because we were both kind of scuffling. We did it as a joke, and over the long haul of the season, you have to find things to break up the monotony of it."
-- Jason Giambi explaining why he recently grew a mustache. Giambi was hitting .191 when he started to grow the mustache and has raised his batting average 80 points since. (New York Daily News)
"They anchored down the labrum with six anchors. I guess they're screws. They shaved a little off the bone. They went in and fixed what they could of the biceps, fixed a little bit of the rotator cuff and then kind of tightened up the area."
-- John Smoltz describing the surgical procedure he underwent, which he hopes will allow him to pitch in 2009. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
"It was a tough play, man. I barely got it on the tip [of the glove]. I read it good off the bat. I know he's a pull hitter, so I leaned to that side a little."
-- Jorge Cantu, Marlins first baseman, on a diving stop he made on a ball hit by Ryan Sweeney in the ninth inning with the bases loaded that preserved a 6-4 win. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
"Everywhere. I mean, everywhere. Here is a guy who was hitting .220 but had a .415 on-base percentage. I mean, there is not one thing you can pick when he's healthy. Because even when he's not hitting, he's getting on base four out of 10 times. Defensively, he was brilliant this year, and his clubhouse presence -- he's a very quiet guy, but he leads by example. So we're going to miss him overall."
-- Nationals manager Manny Acta on the loss of first baseman Nick Johnson for the rest of the 2008 season. (Washington Post)
"I may be more proud of this game than any because it was a struggle from absolute pitch No. 1."
-- Derek Lowe on having his start moved up one day due to injuries to other Dodgers pitchers and responding with 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball with six strikeouts. (Los Angeles Times)
"He's got power. He's an intriguing player. He runs fairly well. I think he has the tools to be an everyday player. Now, that's up to him. I think he's improved his work ethic since he's been here. I think he sees this as a great opportunity."
-- Giants manager Bruce Bochy on utility infielder Jose Castillo. (San Francisco Chronicle)
"If we're going to scratch for runs like we have the last 50 games and get the kind of starting pitching we have been, he may end up with 100 saves. But if the offense picks it up and produces like it can, he may not get as many save opportunities."
-- Angels manager Mike Scioscia on the chances for closer Francisco Rodriguez, who has 31 saves, to break Bobby Thigpen's all-time mark of 57 saves in a season. (Los Angeles Times)
"I don't know if anyone projected those three to be in the big leagues now, but they're here, and they've been solid contributors. It makes the whole dynamic of the series special, and we're facing Haren, too -- and we got six guys for him. You don't get six guys for very many players. You have to be pretty great."
-- A's reliever Huston Street on the interleague series with the Diamondbacks, who feature former A's pitcher Dan Haren, who was traded for six prospects, three of whom are now in the Major Leagues with Oakland. (San Francisco Chronicle)
"We were all excited and pumped up when he hit the home run. We were all jumping around and going crazy. I was stoked for him."
-- Mariners reliever Ryan Rowand-Smith on the reaction in the bullpen when starter Felix Hernandez connected for a grand-slam home run versus the Mets. (Seattle Times)
"You can't replace people like Brian. Guys like him, they're few and far between. There are not too many like them in the game. What he does defensively and offensively is just very special. We're glad to have him."
-- Luke Scott on Orioles teammate Brian Roberts, who picked up his 1,000th career hit on Tuesday night against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. (Washington Post)
"It's definitely an honor not only for the state of Hawaii, but I think for the island of Maui. To be able to go out there now and have two big leaguers consistently at the big league level every day is an honor in itself."
-- Shane Victorino, who along with A's catcher Kurt Suzuki, hails from the island of Maui in the state of Hawaii. This week, with the Phillies taking on the A's, the two childhood friends were able to play on the same Major League field. (Philadelphia Daily News)
"It was a chopper off the plate, but it's a bullet in the box score."
-- Joe Nathan, recalling the night -- September 12, 1999 -- he got a hit off Greg Maddux. Nathan, now the Twins' closer, was a starting pitcher for the San Francisco Giants at the time, and Maddux was with the Atlanta Braves. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
"There's a lot of luck involved in it. I'm not a strikeout guy, so I don't know if 1,000 strikeouts is a big deal."
-- Mark Buehrle, after recording his 1,000th career strikeout on Tuesday night in the White Sox's 6-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. (Chicago Sun-Times)
"I'm up for it. I've got Albert here to teach me a few things."
-- Adam Kennedy, prior to getting his first career start at first base on Tuesday night in Detroit. Kennedy, who played a flawless game in the field, was starting in place of the injured Albert Pujols. (MLB.com)
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.