On the impact of new third base coach Larry Bowa
He and [manager] Joe Torre complement each other. Torre's on the mellow side, Bowa's fiery. I love Bowa's butt-kicking in the dugout. Last year, when you made a mistake, you got a pat on the butt and an "It's all right." But it's not all right.
On L.A.'s disappointing 2007 season
With the talent we had, we should have won the division. That was the problem: We expected to win. This year we know we have the talent, but we know this division is tough. We're not taking anything for granted.
On a prank he recently played on Dodgers advisor Tommy Lasorda
I got Torre to ask him to come to the clubhouse and talk to the team. When he started talking, I said, "Tommy, c'mon, it's the same s— every time. Please shut up." He was dumbfounded, didn't know what to think or say. But the players started cracking up. We took off our pullovers and were wearing shirts with a little gnome that had [Lasorda's] face on it. Everyone was laughing. We wanted him to know he was part of the team.
On owning racehorses
As a kid in Oklahoma, I rode horses. I got hooked on racing by my dad's taking me to the track. What I like about owning thoroughbreds is the rush when your horse is at the gate. I'm more nervous watching my horses than when I'm pitching.
On his ranch in Oklahoma
I've got 2,200 acres. You can hunt turkey, deer, quail, some mountain lions. No guns allowed—only bows and arrows. I don't do a lot of killing though. I like sitting around the campfire.
On re-signing with the Dodgers versus free agency after the season
I don't need $100 million. What would you do with it in Oklahoma? My dad grew up a Dodgers fan, and he's a reason I want to stay. Imagine if we won a title with his boy pitching in Dodger blue. That would be special.
At 36--15, the righty has the NL's third-best record over the past three seasons
PHOTOGRAPH BY SCOTT COUNCIL