Here are some of the notable quotes from around Major League Baseball this week:
"It was a long road back. And when I did get back, I wanted to be at a certain level -- and I wasn't at that level. It took awhile. It was tough mentally and tough physically to go out and pitch every five days. It was a long road. I'm just glad that I'm here at this moment right now, and in five days I'll go and pitch again."
-- Jon Lester commenting about the no-hitter he threw against Kansas City on Monday night. Lester was diagnosed with lymphoma a year and a half ago and has slowly returned to the top of his game. (Boston Herald)
"Right now, it feels like I pitched and we won the game. It's kind of like the World Series. I guess it's one of those things you get to enjoy later. It's something I'll remember forever.
"I had a lot of excitement going into the ninth inning. The fans were great -- on their feet and screaming. It's one of the loudest times I've heard at Fenway."
-- Jon Lester commenting on what he was feeling after throwing a no-hitter against Kansas City Monday night. (Boston Globe)
"I think this makes his story that much better. His story's a great one to start, but this is kind of an exclamation point. He went through something very trying, and I think the best part about it is what it says about his ability as a baseball player, not so much as a baseball player who's overcome cancer."
-- Mike Lowell, a fellow cancer survivor, on Jon Lester's no-hitter on Monday night against Kansas City. (Boston Herald)
"It's taking a toll on me and my family -- my dad's situation. I haven't been there for them. I just realized that, between last year and this year, I haven't been there for my family, my parents.
"That'll probably drag me away from the game a little sooner than people expect. After this season, I'm going to go back home and think about it, and I'm going to decide."
-- Pedro Martinez commenting about his plans after the season. His father, Pablo, is suffering from a form of brain cancer. (Arizona Republic)
"I thought it was foul. I was saying, 'Please! Please! Stay fair.' It's definitely a great feeling to come through in the clutch. We haven't done that all year long, and hopefully that gets us going."
-- Yorvit Torrealba commenting on his two-run double Monday night, a hit that allowed the Rockies to beat the San Francisco Giants, 4-3, for the team's third straight win. (Denver Post)
"I'm just going to work on it until I find that feeling, and then I'm going to go from there. Right now, I'm just trying to do the things I was doing last year and in 2006 -- just trying to go back in my memories and go from there. I don't think there's anything I can really do, because my stance has always been the same. It's something that just has to come to me."
-- Alex Rios describing what he is trying to do to break out of his current slump at the plate. (Toronto Star)
"It's always frustrating when you struggle, when you don't feel like you're doing what you're capable of doing. But I'm definitely keeping my spirits up. I feel like any day could be the day I turn it around for the rest of the season.
"This first half is definitely different from the first half last year. It's almost like I've become a little slap hitter, getting singles here and there. When I get comfortable, I think I'll be able to drive the ball."
-- J.J. Hardy commenting on his struggles at the plate this season, in which he is hitting .240 with two home runs and 12 RBIs. Last season, Hardy hit .280 with 18 home runs and 54 RBIs before the All-Star break. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
"It seems like it's gonna make me a lot better pitcher, just not having close to the stuff that I want and still getting hitters out. I think it's going to be really good for accuracy, because right now I've mainly got to hit spots. I fall in and out once in awhile, but, for the most part, it feels like I'm throwing the ball where I want to."
-- Scott Kazmir on having to rely more on his pitching skills while regaining strength after missing all of Spring Training and most of the first month of the season with an arm injury. Unable to throw his fastball as hard as he normally does, Kazmir has had to rely more on location, and he believes that is making him a better pitcher. (St. Petersburg Times)
"It's more important for me to get back on track than any streak. The last week has been a mental grind for me. It wasn't fun. It was definitely the right decision. Something needed to be done."
-- Jeff Francoeur on getting a day off in the nightcap of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Mets, which snapped his streak of 370 consecutive starts. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
"The idea was to learn English. Then I could come back home and get a better job. The problem was, when I came to Miami, all everyone spoke was Spanish.
"I felt so bad after that first year because, when I went back home, my father asked me if I had learned English. I told him, 'A little.' I hadn't learned anything."
-- Alfredo Amezega on his first visit to America. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
"We want him to [score], but you've got to give credit to [Nick] Markakis. He's got a great arm. He's one of those guys that, coming into this series in our meeting, we knew a guy like him could do those types of things."
-- Nationals manager Manny Acta on Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis after the right fielder threw out a runner at the plate during a recent interleague game. (Washington Post)
"I walk away with no regrets. I knew this day was coming, and, over the last two years, I started to make my peace with it."
-- Mike Piazza announcing his retirement from baseball. (Los Angeles Times)
"Sometimes you get down in a game early. You don't count yourself out, but you may get down a little bit. The way things are going, the way you've thrown the ball, you might get into your own head a little bit. Putting it aside like you know you should is difficult sometimes. But that's why we're pros, because we can do those things."
-- Jeff Francis, who started the season 0-4, commenting on the early-season struggles that some pitchers, like the Giants' Barry Zito, are facing. (San Francisco Chronicle)
"That has to have something to do with it. I'm pretty sure he's never been a DH before, and for me, I hate it. I know I have other tools, and when you DH, you're limited to one. That's hard."
-- Torii Hunter on the struggles of fellow outfielder Gary Matthews Jr., who lost his starting center field job when the club signed Hunter as a free agent. (Los Angeles Times)
"I'm a Mike Piazza fan. He's a great man, and for his career to end the way it did today is a bummer because there's no doubt he could have strapped on a uniform and played again."
--A's first baseman Mike Sweeney, a former catcher, on the retirement of Mike Piazza. (San Francisco Chronicle)
"It smelled like old men. I felt the generation gap between us."
-- Ichiro Suzuki on receiving a bottle of cologne from ex-Mariners star Julio Cruz. (Seattle Times)
"The experience and getting the Major League games under my belt helps a lot. Confidence-wise, it's been great. Working with the coaching staff and the other guys here helps you along the way, knowing what to expect, what to do and how to make adjustments."
-- Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Brian Bixler, who has been seeing action at shortstop as the Bucs await the return of Jack Wilson. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
"I'm just working hard, and I keep getting better every day. I'm putting in some hard work, and it's just paid off in the right way."
-- Jose Guillen, who was named the American League's player of the week last week. (MLB.com)
"They don't know me. Maybe I'm not on their radar."
-- Aaron Miles, pondering his success against American League pitching in the past two seasons, success that has translated to a batting average right around .450. (MLB.com)
"That's what happens when you lose a step. You have to run a little farther."
-- Jim Edmonds, after making a dazzling catch with his back to home plate while running up Tal's Hill in Houston. (Chicago Tribune)
"You don't expect wins, you want to help your team to win. If I don't necessarily get the win, that's not the most important thing. The most important thing was giving the team a chance to win. It's definitely a relief to get that first one. Hopefully it's the first of many."
-- Minnesota Twins reliever Glen Perkins, after picking up his first Major League win on Tuesday night. (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
"He's a good veteran pitcher. He made some adjustments, started keeping the ball down in the zone and made some pitches. That's what he does. He makes good pitches and keeps the ball out of the middle of the plate."
-- Chris Duncan, on Padres pitcher Greg Maddux after San Diego's 3-2 victory over St. Louis on Tuesday night. (MLB.com)
"You put a lot of thought into it. You beat yourself up, because I know that more is expected from me and I expect more [too]. You've got to still be confident, and, if I ever lose that, then I'll retire. You've got to have the swagger and you've got to learn to forget your last outing and look forward to the next one. That's the key."
-- Jamie Walker, on keeping his confidence level high despite on-the-field struggles. (MLB.com)
"I've just been around. I've been able to go past what I ever thought I would. It's so far away when you're down there and have never been to the big leagues. I thought maybe I'd get a callup. You hope to just play one day. Then the day turns into a week, then a year, then five and 10. I never thought I'd be around so long. When you get here, you want to keep going and going. It's like a drug. You know you can't keep going; you know it's going to end one way or another."
-- Rudy Seanez , on having appeared in over 45 different Major League ballparks in his career. (MLB.com)
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.