Before the 2011 All-Star Game Home Run Derby gets underway, All-Stars are available for questions from hundreds of media members covering the event. Here's a sample of the answers offered during the American League session:
"It is going to be a crazy experience, a crazy couple of days. One thing I am looking forward to is meeting a lot of new guys and talking with them. I am really excited to get out there. I guess the one thing I wished would have happened would have been to have Mariano Rivera here."
-- Angels rookie closer Jordan Walden on what he expects as part of the All-Star experience.
"My face does hurt some. I might have to make some adjustments, put it on ice or something, because I am smiling so much."
-- Oakland starter Gio Gonzalez on whether he will stop smiling.
"For me it is to improve more and it is to win more games in our division. We know it is going to be tough. There are a lot of tough teams in our division. Four teams are within six games of first place. We need to play better. We need to play strong coming out of the All-Star break. We need to finish strong."
-- Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera on his club's chances of winning the AL Central.
"It is pretty unreal to me. It is pretty cool and pretty special. You work so hard to be able to get this point. You dream of this as a kid. You watch the game as a kid and you watch the Home Run Derby. Now that I am here, I am going to enjoy the moment."
-- Rays right-hander James Shields on what it means to be an All-Star.
"In order to get 200 hits you obviously have to be a good hitter, but you also have to be healthy and you have to stay consistent. I think he has made it look easy for 10 years. I am not betting against him. He can get hot and rack up as many hits as anyone. I expect him to get a lot of hits this half of the season. I just hope they aren't against us."
-- The Rangers' Michael Young on Ichiro reaching the 200-hit plateau this season.
"It kind of caught me off guard. [Mike] Scioscia came in when I was riding the bike in the weight room and sort of tapped me on the shoulder. He congratulated me and I asked, 'For what?' He said he had just gotten word that I would be starting the game, and Ron [Washington] had called him. I want to thank Ron for being a part of this. To have a chance to start is a very humbling experience. I'm looking forward to getting out there."
-- Jered Weaver, Angels ace and the AL starting pitcher on Tuesday night, on how he found out he was getting the ball to start the All-Star Game.
"I think it would be fun, but if I don't pitch, I would understand. We have a lot of guys who haven't been here and haven't pitched. If he [AL manager Ron Washington] wants those guys to pitch, they'll pitch. I will leave and won't think anything worse of Ron Washington. I will enjoy it, sit in the clubhouse and talk shop.
-- Red Sox right-hander Josh Beckett on the possibility of pitching in this year's game.
"He is just the greatest guy. You can't say anything bad about Curtis. He shows up to play every day, he has a great attitude and he enjoys himself. If there is a role model out there, then he is the guy. I want my kid to watch this guy play. The way he treats people and his teammates is great. You see him smiling. That is how he is all of the time."
-- Yankees catcher Russell Martin on teammate and fellow All-Star Curtis Granderson.
"It is an honor to represent the Red Sox. It does not matter how you get selected to be here, whether it be because someone pitches on Sunday or someone is on the DL. It is an honor, and I know I will always take advantage of getting selected. You don't know if it will happen again."
-- Boston lefty Jon Lester on getting a late call to come to Phoenix.
"I don't even think about 2010 anymore. We have a bunch of new guys, and the bottom line is that we are just getting it done more often and our record shows it. We might not be .500, but we aren't 20 games under either."
-- Seattle's Brandon League on the difference between the Mariners this year and last year.
"The adjustment has been little, the adjustment has been easy. The fans have been very good, very welcoming. The players have made me feel like I have been here for many years. That helps make the transition easy. On the whole, I am enjoying this."
-- Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre on joining the Rangers this past winter.
"They were, by far, three of the best years of my life. On and off the field, on campus, everything that has to do with the city of Columbia was great. At the same time I loved being around my teammates and my coaches. To play at that level was amazing."
-- Royals rookie reliever Aaron Crow on his college days at the University of Missouri.
"Our bullpen coach, Scott Radinsky, is the lead singer of a punk band in California. He is a real musical guy, but a different guy picks the music every day. We might even switch it in-game if we need a rally or something. Tony Sipp is our DJ and usually it is hip-hop and rap. Sundays is alternative, like Sublime. We had an Oldies Day last Friday and a Kids Day once."
-- Chris Perez of the Indians on the music that is played in the Cleveland bullpen.
Compiled by Jeff Moeller, a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, from Phoenix.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.