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December 7, 2005
Q. A year ago at this time you had been named Manager of the Year a couple of weeks before, how does this year feel different?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I haven't thought about it a lot. Every year is a different challenge, different variables involved. This won't be any different. A lot of unknowns, what the roster is going to look like between now and when we break camp. A lot of things in the air that could change the dynamics of the way you look at it.
But things change. Everything is not as it appears both ways.
Q. What's not as it appears?
BUCK SHOWALTER: A lot of times, I should say. We knew last year at the end of the year that we had some work to do, a lot of things felt good for us and last year we know a lot of things fell the opposite way for us. We lost half of our bullpen to start the season and that made it tough on us.
Q. Is the (John) Wasdin deal done yet?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I don't know, you guys would probably know more than I. I think so. I think it's just basically giving him a roster spot instead of having him go down the non-roster thing the way I understand it.
Q. Can you talk about the importance he brings?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I think John turned a corner as far as -- John is a guy that 20 minutes before game time he can go out and give you six or seven innings. He throws every day. He's a valuable part of a team potentially. He's still going to have to make a club in the spring but when you look at everything out there, you look at six-year free agents and prices guys are going at, John was an easy decision for us. He and his family very quickly made themselves wanted here.
Q. Do you see a realistic scenario right now where Kameron Loe is not in your starting rotation?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I think Kameron can do either. He obviously has some success as a starter and a reliever. So it's nice to go into spring with his ability to do both. Right now we're looking at him as a starter but it's nice to think that we have acquired enough pitching that that gave us that luxury. I think he can do both. He's capable of pitching the 7th, 8th inning but he's also capable of pitching the 7th, 8th inning as a starter at some point.
Q. This is the first time there's been change to the coaching staff since you came to Texas, how do you view that?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I think for the right reason. It wasn't because -- obviously Jaramillo wants to manage, should manage, can manage. I was a little disappointed he didn't get more interest in the off-season.
You know, I had a choice between telling Steve Smith that he's not going to be the third base coach, I don't think that's fair to Steve and his family and Jaramillo grew up there. It's a good match for him. I think Bobby Jones, as long as he's been in the organization and the things he's brought, we needed an outfield coach, Bobby was the perfect fit. I didn't want to send that message, like I said, when I came here that if there are opening, we should and will fill them from within. We should be able to. Shame on us if we don't have Dom Chiti and Bobby Jones. Good thing about it, we still have Orel making a contribution to the club.
Q. You said all along that Jon Daniels is smart; what have you seen from him in the two months since he took the job?
BUCK SHOWALTER: The first night, it was 3:15, I looked at my watch in the room there, I said I appreciate the energy the 28-year-old guys brings, but Bucky got to get one, I need one hour. He's grinding it pretty good, almost to a fault. But John has got a lot of energy and passion about this. It's very obvious that he can command a room and takes in opinions. At the end of the day, he'll make a tough decision.
Q. How do you see people responding to him?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Good. Jon is a guy that people want to please because they know how hard he works. People that don't work hard, people don't care a whole lot about things, things they are not willing to do themselves; John is. I know where to find him, I can tell you that. It's a difficult job. He's got a lot of good people around him. Scott was a great addition to us. I know it made Dom a lot more comfortable leaving a lot of people he hired and brought in here knowing that Scott was going to be taking that baton.
Q. Is there a little kid inside you a little bit that wishes you were maybe more involved in some of the biggest names coming to or from your team?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Been there, done that. No, I pass. I think we do have some big names. I think Mike Young is a pretty big name. I enjoy being involved with him and Mark and Hank and some of our guys coming. It's very obvious that we've got a lot of young guys that I understand that people covet. They have got a few, we are just trying to match up their needs and our needs. Unfortunately it seems like we all have the same needs with a couple of exceptions.
Q. Are you confident that Laynce Nix will be ready to start?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I think so. The last two weeks of reports have been real positive. I think getting the other shoulder done, too. I think it's as much a mental thing -- obviously a physical thing. I have a good feeling about Laynce. I think Laynce is going to come back pretty strong, I have a good feeling about him. I have a good feeling about all our guys.
Q. Obviously pitching is a need but can you talk about the outfield a little bit?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Obviously Menchy and David and Gary are going to be there. Laynce should be, if things proceed as they are. That will be up to him and depending on where he is and how he feels in the spring. Who am I missing? There's a spot there, the way we look at it, and I think you'll see us either add somebody to that mix or either go from the people we have. There's a couple of things we're looking at right now at the fifth spot.
Q. Will Botts get a look in the outfield?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Yeah, Jason will get a good look out there. We'll have a better grasp in the spring where he's at defensively out there. That's a name I should have mentioned.
Ari, I have this picture of him in the off-season, he has a knuckleball grip going into target to pick up an icy. Mark has been talking to him a lot. Spring is a notoriously tough time for knuckleballers. We'll see.
Q. Has he been working with Charlie Hough?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I know the plans we were going to have at least two sessions with Charlie. I'm not real sure exactly the logistics of it. I just trust the people that set that up. We also have a new strength and conditioning coach.
Q. How much good did Gary show you, as much as he played on an everyday basis?
BUCK SHOWALTER: That was something that was really good to see. In fact, I was talking to Rudy last night. He, in fact, worked out with Gary yesterday in the cage, was raving about how good he looks.
Gary had a little look in his eye, like I want to show some people I can do this. There wasn't any type of sign of him not being able to post up. It's almost intentional, you can tell that he was on a mission to say, hey, if you want to turn this thing over to me, I can do it.
We were talking with a club yesterday; there's some interest in Gary, too.
Q. I know you're trying to prepare, but right now are you anticipating your lineup having a different look for '06?
BUCK SHOWALTER: There's some things out there that could change the way it falls. I don't look at it like that right now. With Mark and Hank, Rod, see how the outfield shakes out. We've got a lot of irons in the fire that would dictate some changes with things if certain things go down. We're waiting to hear back from some people that we're in the hunt on.
Q. Is there any anxiety about that? I know it's in the GM's hands more than anything but is there some anxiety on your part, just sort of the unknown or do you tend not to worry about it?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Well, it's not really the unknown. It is the known as far as you understand that there's some things out there.
I try to deal with them now and who I have and I like it a lot. I'm the anxiety of not knowing who your team; the anxiety is I don't have my wife a Christmas present right now, a lot of anxiety about that. I'm open to suggestions. (Laughter.)
I did the microwave one Christmas (shaking head). Don't do the appliances. I'm going to tell y'all right now, any newly married.
Q. Will the infield be different?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Our farm system has helped us prepare for that. We have some guys that I think are real close. Obviously a lot of people in baseball think our guys are real close, too. They have been hitting on them pretty good. We feel pretty covered for the most part, at most positions. Down the road, all of a sudden the waters are parting, now it's a little different, now you've got a little anxiety. But it's for the right fit, we'll go.
Q. A lot of players may be gone for the World Baseball Classic --
BUCK SHOWALTER: Have y'all figured out how that will work out yet? We figure with everybody being here at the Winter Meetings they might sit down and let us in on it. We've got, I believe, seven, we have a few guys deciding whether they are going to play or not. I think the logistics -- did you have a question there before I went off on my rant? I've been waiting to go there.
Q. Wondering your thoughts, the infield --
BUCK SHOWALTER: Does Mark have to make a club? Is he trying out? How does that work? He might get cut; do you know?
Q. I think he'll be there.
BUCK SHOWALTER: Mark, their concern was a guy like, say he had a starter and all of a sudden you put him in the bullpen and you get him March 20th and he's got three innings under his belt. That's a concern. Knowing how much they are going to be with our club in the spring, we go over different things and try to have some things we want to make some adjustments, that's going to be tough.
But I'm sure this will be great for our game and we'll support that.
Q. Are you concerned of getting left out in the cold in terms of getting pitching?
BUCK SHOWALTER: We feel like between the draft and some things we think we can do between March and April, no, I don't feel that way at all. Especially when I see some of the commitments that would strap an organization.
Q. So you would have confidence that you have to start -- do you feel like you would have to accelerate some of the young pitchers?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I think we already have. We're keeping up with them. They are doing well.
Q. What are the chances of you leaving here with a pitcher in the deal, what are the odds, at these meetings?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Exactly? I like our chances. When I left this morning, I liked our chances.
Q. Would you say you're more optimistic than maybe when you guys arrived here two days ago?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I was really optimistic the whole time. It has not wavered one bit.
You know, you kind of stay with what you've got. I mean, I like our people, I do. I think that you've got to stay the course, you've heard this before, it's a two or three-year proposition with these guys. If you're pitching in the Major Leagues, it's the hardest thing to do in sports, and in the American League and in our ballpark.
Q. Adrian Gonzalez?
BUCK SHOWALTER: He's doing well, tearing it up down there. Doesn't look -- there's a market for a space and still looking like the DH. He's going to play in the big leagues, hopefully something can be created for him with us, but if not, there has been some interest in him. But he does have options. Remember those days when guys used to go back and repeat a level? That can happen, too.
Q. Any chance of sending him to the outfield?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I don't think so.
Q. Is there going to be a need to manufacture more runs, and when you have to add speed to be able to do that?
BUCK SHOWALTER: You know, when you put whatever moniker you guys put on it, this game, that game, whatever, it's pitching to make the one run matter. A lot of us have to approach a game from a multiple-run standpoint. You would like to be able to do that. You would like to be able to do that. I think as your pitching improves, you would like to take more of a pattern to that.
Q. Kind of go hand-in-hand, upgrade the pitching?
BUCK SHOWALTER: You get stuck playing for one run, two No. 5 starters facing each other in the middle of the summer, it ain't going to stand up. You try to play according to what works best for you.
But yeah, it's something that our guys have talked about, Rudy has talked some about having a different approach when you get locked into a different type of game. The game dictates it.
Q. Can you have one approach for the 1 and 2 starter, the top level guys and the closers, one approach, and then another approach for the 3 through 5 and middle relievers?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Without a doubt. You sit there against Mariano Rivera, you try to expose the one weakness he has, he doesn't hold runners very well, if you can get on first base, it's hard to steal first base, you can't wait around for three or four hits off a guy. When you're able to run Clemens and Pettitte and Garland and Buehrle, yeah, you play a different game. Our guys are capable of doing that, too.
Q. Do you feel capable with this lineup that if you had guys to make one run matter?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Yes, and I also think that with some of the people that we're talking about and potentially adding, and I think that's something that with the World Series and the playoffs and stuff, it happens every year when that type of thing is exposed. I turn in those best-of-the-best, you always hear me say, I always turn in Mike Young as the best hit-and-run guy that we don't ever hit-and-run with. I'm not going to do a lot of bunting, I can tell that you.
Q. Playoffs and the World Series, every team that's involved has pitching staffs that make one run matter.
BUCK SHOWALTER: They make leads matter. You tack on runs, 4-3 going into the ninth and now it's 5-3.
Q. One of the challenges of pitching in this park, are you --
BUCK SHOWALTER: I think it's a good move for our fans as much as anything, too. It was some tough summer afternoons. We're looking at some ways to try to improve comfort level of our dugout. You look in our dugout between innings in the day games, the coaches, and rightfully so, I talked to them, you need to get out of it. It's pretty challenging. We want to continue to use it as an advantage. It's tough to do.
Q. Close it up, leave a few windows?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Swamp coolers. Those things just make it more humid. But we have to put them in both dugouts.
Q. Looking into the sun all day, you get sun blindness?
BUCK SHOWALTER: They are going to turf the bullpens, the grass is gone by the end of the summer.
Q. Tell Hicks to put a roof on.
BUCK SHOWALTER: Do the Cowboys have a roof? When are they going to be there? It's retractable?
BUCK SHOWALTER: (Counting).
Q. With as important as Alfonso has been with his bat, how difficult is it to talk about dealing offense like that in order to get pitching back?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I haven't.
Q. Generally speaking, how difficult is it to talk about?
BUCK SHOWALTER: You're always, to get a need you hope to deal from a surplus. I don't think anybody feels like they have enough offense, they never feel like they have enough pitching, always feel like they can be better defensively. Sori is heading Todd into a big year for his career and I'm real confident he's going to have a big year. I think any physical issues he had are well behind him. I'm expecting him to have a huge year.
Q. Do you expect him to have a huge year in Arlington?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Yeah, I do.
Q. Could you envision a scenario in which he stays with the Rangers long-term?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Oh, yeah, they have talked to him about it a couple of times. I don't know what JD and Tom's plans are, it would be a question for them.
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